I hadn't run a half marathon since Balloch to Clydebank back in April, when I pottered round in 1:19:54 as a warm up for London, and Ellie hadn't run this sort of distance since London 2011, whilst she was expecting Benjamin.
Anyhow, the weather couldn't have been much more perfect for running. Cool, clear, sunny and only a slight wind. We were in a bit of flap trying to get registered in time, but just after 11am the race was underway.
I was fairly sure I could measure my pace to around mid 1:17, but half thought 1:16 might be possible. The opening 100 metres shook out the field, and I was soon jogging along in about 5th or 6th position. Despite feeling fairly pedestrian, I didn't want to go any faster at this stage, and went through the first couple of miles in just over 5:30 pace. The first 4 runners were rapidly disappearing from view, so I worked with next 3 guys to share the pace. A guy in the Pudsey vest (James Titmuss) looked the strongest, so I tucked in behind him for a while on the narrow muddy cyclepath heading south into a bit of breeze.
We went through 5 miles in about 28:50, at which point I decided to back off for a few miles before pressing the pace again. This was perhaps a slight mistake, since it allowed a gap of a few metres to open up which I never closed again. At 6 miles the route turned sharp left onto tarmac and followed narrow undulating roads for the next 3 miles, before dropping back onto the cyclepath just after Aldcliffe.
We hit the 10-mile mark at just over 59 minutes, so I knew we would definitely be under 1:18, but still wasn't quite sure if 1:16 was possible. At mile 11, I dropped Phil Robertson of Lancaster Uni, who had been right on my heels for the past 6 or 7 miles, and attempted to reel in the Pudsey vest of James Titmuss over the remaining 2 miles. I pushed reasonably hard just in case he started coming back, but the gap wasn't closing fast enough, and my heart wasn't really into making any sort of super-human effort to charge him down on the line, so I just kept a steady jog going around the Salt Ayre track to finish 6th in 1:17:28.
Ellie soon appeared and crossed the line in a chip time of 1:34:38 for 2nd FV35, which was a gutsy performance given her crocked back and lack of sleep for the past 9 months.
|Lancaster Half Marathon Race Route|