‘What are you doing over the weekend Rachel?’ …Well, on Sunday, I’m getting up at 4.30am, driving a 260-mile round-trip to run in rain, hail and 56mph wind.

As those words came out of my mouth I wondered if it was time to re-evaluate my hobbies. 

Last weekend saw my second race of the year – the BTR Liverpool Half Marathon (or the Liverpool Landmarks Half Marathon as it seemed to have a rebrand between entering and my race pack arriving!)

The forecast wasn’t looking great – but that was never going to stop me! With the weather in mind, I decided to use it as training miles and just focus on getting around the course without getting blown over to Birkenhead!

I know the course fairly well as it was my fourth time taking part. It is predominantly flat with a short, sharp incline just before the 2-mile point. There is also has a 10-mile race which sets off at the same time, missing out a 3-mile loop of Sefton Park.

Before the race
We parked nearby and stayed in the car as long as we could before braving the start line. It was wet and breezy with the worst of the wind expected during the race.

Because of the weather warnings the start and finish area had been simplified – there was a lack of branding and flags and no inflatable start/finish line.

Standing at the start was freezing, if you’re short like me, stand well away from tall men wearing a rain ponchos, because when the wind hits you’ll get wrapped up in it too!

If you pre-registered details of your half marathon PB and beat this time on the day, you also receive a PB medal in the post, once results had been checked. I didn’t bother this year as I achieved this last year!

During the race
I started my watch as I crossed the mats – and didn’t look at it again until I approached the finish. I really wasn’t bothered about the time and think you can put too much pressure on yourself worrying about numbers and pace.

Two miles in I stopped to get a stone out of my shoe but other than that the first 9 miles were a fairly consistent pace. 6 mile in the hail started (think of it as free face exfoliation) and it was quite wet underfoot in places. As we approached mile 9 I could see which was the Mersey was blowing and knew that the final 4 miles along the promenade were going to be running into the wind.

I usually find this bit of the race boring – but the strong winds were added entertainment with people trying to keep upright and hats blowing off. Miles 9 -13 my splits were, as expected, a little slower, but, it’s all character building!

I didn’t look at my watch until 12.9 miles when I realised I could finish in under 2 hours. I tried to speed up and was blown backwards. With there being no overhead finish line it was hard to gauge where the race ended  – turns out it was sooner than I’d anticipated, as I soon crossed the mats.

Finish time was in 1.59.47. Which I was really pleased with.

It took me 5 years to get under 2 hours for a half, so I was happy I had run that comfortably – in those conditions and still managed to get that time. My 5-mile split was EXACTLY the same as last years – I bet I couldn’t have done that if I tried.

After the race
The finish area was really crowded, so it took a while to get through. Empty T-shirt boxes were blowing everywhere – as volunteers tried their best to hold everything down. As always a huge thank you to all volunteers, especially in those conditions.

Liverpool – I’ll see you again in a couple of months when we rock the 26.2!

Race Breakdown:
Entry Cost: £34.00 unaffiliated / £32.00 affiliated + booking fee
Water stations: 3, 6, 9, 12 miles non-sports top bottles.
Parking: Plenty of nearby car parks
Photos: Yes
Baggage Facilities: Yes – didn’t use
Post-Race Goodies: T-Shirt and Medal (I did see people with cans / some kind of nut bars, but I must’ve missed these)

Highlights: Sub 2 in brutal conditions
Low points: I wouldn’t say there was one, despite the weather I enjoyed it.