Now that was a nice way to end the season! On Sunday I raced in my fourth Birmingham half marathon (AKA the Great Birmingham Run) and I’m pleased to report a good time was had by all.
After the ups and downs of the Chester Marathon and the emotional rollercoaster that was London it was a relief to have an event free of drama.
As ever, Birmingham was slickly organised and very well supported. The start was moved this year because of major roadworks in the city centre, but soon joined up with the familiar course that takes runners out towards Bournville and the world-famous Cadbury factory, back around on itself towards Edgbaston, into Cannon Hill Park and back into Birmingham for a lively finish on Broad Street.
Birmingham is also famous for its hill (or should that be infamous) – it starts gently at around the 10.5 mile mark and then becomes a steep monster all the way up to 12 miles. Not nice on the legs and proof that anyone who sets a PB at Birmingham has really pulled the stops out!
I didn’t – bag a half marathon PB that is – but I did manage a personal Birmingham best of 1:47. Given how much I’ve crammed in this year, I’ll take it. And more importantly, I really, really enjoyed it.
For the first time in a long time I was running as a part of team. Eight of us in total, all from work and raising money collectively for a bereavement charity called Edward’s Trust. We’ve raised more than £2,000, which is something to be proud of, and benefited from having the charity’s cheering station out on the course immediately after the big hill.
Cue lots of shouting, waving and a big hand-painted banner that said “There’s wine in 1.1 miles”. Cheers!
Our team didn’t run together, but most of us met up afterwards for a celebratory pint. Times ranged from 1:35 to 2:20 and I was very satisfied to be the second runner home. After all those solo runs earlier in the year, be it events or training, it felt so nice to have a shared experience on race day.
And so 2015 – as far as races go – is over for me. It’s a year I’ve achieved what I thought was unattainable and that’s run a full marathon. And not satisfied with running one, I signed up for a second and relived the torture all over again! Here’s the full list, just for the record:
Stafford 20 mile road race (March) 03:05
Stafford Half Marathon (March) 01:43 (PB)
Virgin Money London Marathon (April) 04:17
MBNA Chester Marathon (October) 04:11 (PB)
Great Birmingham Run (October) 01:47
Total distance ran since 1 January, including all training… 1,048 miles!
PBs have tumbled and my confidence in my ability as a runner has grown immensely. I’ve found a sporting activity I enjoy (most of the time!) and made new friends both face to face and online.
Who knows what the future will bring. I’ll still keep running recreationally, but I’ve not got any immediate plans for races yet. A few half marathons possibly because I enjoy them so much and the distance is well within my reach.
Full marathons? I honestly don’t know yet. Chester took it out of me and I didn’t make it into London for 2016. The training does put strain on you and your family, it’s such a huge commitment to make. Never say never, but for now it’s time to focus on other things.
Thanks Buzzers for all your support and encouragement and I’ll be following your blogs closely, including those lucky few taking part in the next VMLM.
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