Jobby and Sarah enter the 2018 St Neots Half Marathon. Here’s how they got on…
A Bit of a Change
Sarah and I have been running together for about six years. It started with training for a 10Km race but quickly developed into running half marathons. A half marathon is a great distance to run – it’s just long enough to question your entire life and what the Hell you are doing running a half marathon!
We run in the Cambridge half marathon every year. This is in the first week of March which necessitates training during the miserable winter months. That’s never fun! This year, Sarah suggested we run in a half marathon towards the end of the year and found the St Neots event. This way we could train during the end of summer and beginning of autumn.
My goal during the last Cambridge half was to get my time below 2 hours. Sarah acheived this but I had to be content with 2 hours 10 minutes for my time! That wasn’t even a personal best but I did complete the race without walking (a first for me). I was determined to get below 2 hours during this half marathon!
A couple of factors assisted me with this goal. During summer I changed jobs. I had been feeling a bit out of sorts in my previous job and there was a lot of comfort eating. In my new job this hasn’t been happening and I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’m certain this had a massive effect on my speed. Also, with the change of job I’ve been feeling more motivated in general and I trained for this half marathon more than any previously.
Come race day we arrived in good time and got ourselves registered. I made sure I kept calm. We joined the gaggle of other runners in the starting huddle and the gun went off. Despite the time of year it was great weather for a run. The skies were clear, there was only a little breeze and it didn’t feel too cold. I had familiarised myself with the course before turning up so knew roughly what to expect.
The race went well. It turned out to be hillier than I thought with a lot of the other runners being audibly concerned about one particular ascent. Fortunately, there are plenty of hills around where I train and Sarah and I powered up that hill overtaking a few others. During the whole race I felt good, not quite ‘runners high’ but good. A couple of times Sarah called me back because I was probably running too fast to finish.
The struggle started at about 9.5 miles where the figure-of-eight course led through a village for a second time and then up a hill that we’d already ran up once. Fatigue was beginning to nag at me and in my head I’d got myself in a muddle with the distance left realising that there was further to run than I thought. Doubt was creeping in. I had heard the last few miles were downhill so I brought that into focus and forced myself to keep running.
A little after the 10 mile mark the course did begin a downward slope. The road zig-zagged and I could see runners well ahead of me but it gave me an idea of the distance remaining. I had begun to pull away from Sarah at this point. I started to run just on the shoulder of someone until I felt myself gaining on them. I would then pull out and run past and gently catch up with someone else and repeat the process. I had run through a stitch and the top of my right foot was beginning to hurt a lot, which is weird!
Then St Neots came back into site again. I was nearly there! “Just round this corner!” called a marshal and sure enough there was the finish line. I drew on every ounce of energy I had left and produced a sprint finish – so much better than my stumble across the line in my previous half marathon! I crossed the line checking my watch and trying to remember which was the ‘stop’ button. Once over the line I turned and could see Sarah coming up for her finish. I called and waved at her as she powered over the line.
We hugged and congratulated each other. Checking our watches we had both managed a personal best. I had somehow knocked 15 minutes off my previous PB and finshed in 1 hour 54 minutes!
We’ve signed up to the Cambridge Half again for 2019 so we’ll see if we can beat our PBs again. For now, though, we’re going to have a well earned rest!