On Saturday 5th January I took part in the Run Through Victoria Park Half Marathon. A group of us signed up because we have marathons etc lined up and we wanted to dust off the cobwebs after Christmas. With Victoria Park featuring heavily on my regular running routes I was looking forward to trying to hold a solid pace, making the most of the flat course.
As we planned to go to our friends, Liv, Ben and Harrisons for lunch, Alex (Lorna’s brother) drove us to theirs. We then took the central line to Stratford and walked to the park helping to loosen the legs up a little. Ben joined us in taking part in the half marathon as he is building up for the London Marathon and we met Dean at the number collection point, chilling.
We arrived at the race village nice and early so we could fit in a decent warm up. Number collection, toilets and the bag drop were all nicely spread out so everything was really efficient. It’s always important to be relaxed before a race so it was good not to have to stress about these things. Ben and I ran a few laps of the cinder track to try and warm up, before dropping off our bags and getting on the start line. With Run Through organising a 5k, 10k and Half with various start times there was a great atmosphere as friends cheered each other out of the start funnel.
A couple of days before the event, James from Midnight Runners dropped me a message on Instagram asking if I was taking part to see what my strategy was going to be. We decided we would see how we felt on the morning but were both leaning towards running it around marathon pace. Due to Christmas and New Year I hadn’t ran much at the start of the week so I had done a few quicker 20ks on Thursday and Friday so was more than happy to try and work together around the 6.5 laps and hold a decent pace. Off the start line we settled into a pace around 3:50min/km, it felt harder than it should have due to recent mileage but I figured it would be a good test 6 or so weeks out from Seville marathon to hold it on tired legs.
The first few laps went really quickly as James and I chatted about training and race plans for 2019. Passing the race village Matt Wood and others shouted words of encouragement to our little group; Markus and Sam had joined us. Sam was targeting a PB so we had an extra motivation to keep the pace consistent and get him across the line under 1:24. Throughout the run I had moments where I doubted I could hold the pace but the group was keeping me honest. It was tough but it was the sort of challenge my mind and body needed.
Overall, we paced it really well. It reminded me that in the longer races you need to be persistent and work through the tough spells because your body can often handle more than you think. We crossed the line around 1:21:30 covering positions 14 through 17 and Sam clocked a minute and a half PB, result!
It was a great way to start the year and I feel I’m in good shape building towards Seville & London Marathons.
Everyone else enjoyed the race; Alex smashed his PB, clocking a 5k PB as well on his way to 1:26:24. Lorna ran with Ben and Dean for the majority of the race, they clocked 1:39:11, 1:43:01 and a DNF respectively. Dean won’t mind me saying that, he planned a long run on Sunday so decided the laps weren’t worth the hassle. There were some other standout performances from friends including PBs for Michael Wiggins and Tony To to name a few, great work guys!
It was the perfect start to the weekend and I can’t thank the Run Through team enough for braving the cold conditions to put on another superb event. I’ll be trying to fit in a few more Run Through races throughout 2019 for sure.
Hope everyone’s running/training is going well. See a lot of you on the roads soon.