Two weeks ago on Sunday I finished my fourth half marathon – Run Reigate. You may be able to tell from my sporadic blogging over the past few months that I’ve been pretty busy, and as a result, this is probably the least I’ve trained for an event in a long time. In the run up to the race I did a 9 miler, a super slow and tough 10 miler and then the week of the race I ran 8 miles before work. The 8 miles was a massive confidence boost as my pace was pretty good on a tough route, thanks to being paced by a colleague from work.
My race prep the weekend of the half marathon also wasn’t the best it could have been – a curry Friday night, followed by a Saturday with my family, and Saturday night up in London watching Rocky Horror followed by a McDonalds at about midnight! But at 7am when my alarm went off I got out of bed, dressed and made myself a porridge pot ready to meet my friends for a pre race photo at 8.30.
When I made it over to the park, the atmosphere was incredible. I think it’s also the least nervous I’ve felt before a race (no idea why!!), and I was really able to enjoy myself and get caught up in the buzz of everyone running. I didn’t really have any major goals ahead of running, apart from hoping to get a PB, but based on my lack of training I wasn’t sure if that would be possible.
As the race started I got swept up with the crowds and found myself running pretty quickly, with the first couple of miles coming in at under 10min/miles. The first half of the route was the same as last year, and I enjoyed running down the traffic free lanes, passed the big houses, and the encouragement from people who’d come out to watch. As we ran through Horley around mile 4/5 the crowds got even bigger and there were plenty of people shouting and cheering for the runners, which was a great boost.
Around mile 6 the route changed from last year and we had to run towards Gatwick before turning back on ourselves to run 3 miles up the A217. It was tough mentally running away from Reigate to have to turn back on yourself, but I spotted a few friends running in the other direction which was fun to shout out and wave at them. Miles 6-9 were boring running along the main road, and I think I preferred the route last year in this section, it was a bit more interesting scenery. By this point the sun was also pretty high in the sky and there was a lack of shade along the route so I was starting to get pretty hot!
At mile 9 we turned back into Reigate and ran through the residential streets, where again the crowds were out in force. There were plenty of people handing out jelly babies and sweets which really helped give a boost. The race makers at this point were also fantastic, and there was a fantastic bosher at one point who really gave me a great boost.
Just before mile 12 we turned into a local equestrian centre, and the surface on the ground here was really tough to run on. I found it soft and sponegy and really drained on my legs, especially after 11 miles of running on tarmac. As we turned out of the equestrian centre I knew we were in for a tough half a mile having practiced it one weekend, with ‘bosh hill’ ahead. Again the race makers here were fantastic offering loads of support, but having that hill just after mile 12 was really mean, and I think everyone I spoke with said the same! I chugged up the first half of the hill, but it got the better of me and I had to walk up the last bit, the only time in the race I walked!
At the top of ‘bosh hill’ I knew it was all downhill to the finish and I picked up the pace to head home. As I reentered the park the crowds were once again fantastic and the last 500 metres went by quickly as I ran through to the finish, I looked for all my family but I must have been so dead set on finishing I missed them all!
I crossed the finish line bang on 2hrs 20, my secret target for the race, and a 17 min PB!!! I’m so pleased with how Reigate half marathon went, I feel like I nailed it in terms on pacing and fuelling, and I bar the awful hill I felt strong the whole way round. It’s now got me thinking about whether I want to run another marathon, as I know I’m capable of more than I achieved at Brighton in April. But, with London ballot results being announced this week, I may or may not have that decision already made for me!
Next year I definitely want to be involved with Run Reigate half marathon, and I think perhaps I’d like to be a volunteer for once, as they really do make the race for you when you’re down and need a bit more of a boost.