Last weekend I went to one of my favourite places – Liverpool. I joined 5,500 other runners to take part in the City’s 25th half marathon. It was a sell-out event and was my third time taking part in this race. I’d been keen to enter as it’s the course where I’ve always achieved a new PB. Desperate to finally nail that sub 2 hour half marathon I knew I wanted to attempt it at this race. It also fitted in really well with tapering for Manchester Marathon in two weeks time.
It is a predominantly flat course with a short, sharp incline just before the 2-mile point. The race also has a 10-mile option which sets off at the same time, missing out a 3-mile loop of Sefton Park.
This year it fell on the weekend the clocks went forward, so the 4.30am start felt even earlier. You could say it got off to a bad start – I packed my number for Manchester Marathon (luckily my friend has more common sense than me and noticed).
Before the race
I parked nearby so only a short walk from the start. It was breezy but ‘perfect running’ conditions. I realised I’d left my iPod (with a Liverpool themed playlist) 130 miles away.
The start area was labelled with expected finishing times and I managed to get quite a way behind the 2hr marker. Why is it, as soon as you get in that starting pen you decide you need a wee? You usually don’t, it’s just nerves, so I ignored it. Prompt 9 am start with the usual crowding for the first half mile or so.
During the race
Turns out it wasn’t just nerves and spent the next 13.1 miles trying to ignore the fact that I was bursting for a wee. As I was without music, I was using techniques I’d read in this book on mindful running to try to take my mind off it. They worked a treat – I was so in ‘the zone’ just before the 6-mile mark, I didn’t notice another runner/pedestrian/man in shorts and t-shirt crossing the course right in my path. Resulting in me crashing into him and ending up on the floor.
Picking myself up, whilst muttering several expletives, I continued on. Bad luck comes in threes right? Surely I’d had my three today.
Around mile 7 I caught up with the 2-hour pacers. They were doing a fab job, I felt OK so passed them with the intention of staying near them for a sub 2. The sun had come out by this point and I regretted my choice of long sleeved top. The last 4 miles takes you along the promenade, where there was a welcomed breeze.
I’d split the course into sections in my head. I knew I needed to hit 5 miles in 45 mins and 10 miles in 1.30 to make sub 2 doable. During this stretch of the course, I kept looking at my watch, knowing I would be able to do it.
There were a fair few walkers along this section of the course from the 10-mile race, which had set off at the same time. This meant a bit of weaving in and out of people on the cobbles which weren’t ideal.
I crossed the finish line in 1.55.14. Finally smashing that sub 2 and feeling pretty proud of myself.
If you pre-registered details of your half marathon PB (mine was 2.01.00) and beat this time on the day, you received a PB medal, once results had been checked.
After the race
The steel band at the finish line were amazing. There was a huge bottleneck of people as I crossed the line, I must have finished at a busy time, so it took a while to get through. Running in Liverpool always gives me a story to tell at work the next day. This year was no different, instead of going north back to Yorkshire I took a wrong turn, went through the Mersey Tunnel and took the scenic route home. 🙈
A couple of days after taking part in this event I received an email to say that the course had been measured 400 yards (0.22 miles) short. One of those things, mistakes happen. Not a lot can be done about it now, the Race Director has admitted he measured wrong when he re-routed the course due to roadworks.
Question is – Is my result now void? Did I earn a PB medal? If I did, does it even count as a PB now? I’m still waiting to hear…
Entry Cost: £33.00 + booking fee
Water stations: 3, 6, 9, 12 miles non-sports top bottles. To reduce wastage runners were encouraged to take a bottle at the first drinks station and carry it until it was empty. Judging by the amount of discarded bottles very few must have read that email.
Parking: Plenty of nearby car parks
Baggage Facilities: Yes – didn’t use
Post-Race Goodies: To cut down on plastic no goody bags were given out. Runners received a T-Shirt, Medal, and an energy drink.
Highlights: I thought I’d smashed my PB – now I’m not sure.
Low points: Falling over, forgetting iPod, taking the scenic route home, short course.