Sunday, 20 September 2015

Two Tunnels Half Marathon

I had been looking forward to this race since I booked it back in July.  Husbando wanted to run too as it involved running through tunnels.  He decided that he was going to do the 10k and I would run the half marathon.  I could not work out the timings of the races from the website but signed up anyway and was informed, in my confirmation email that an email would be sent out a week before the race.  It wasn't. And the website wasn't the most intuitive thing to navigate, but I got there in the end.  
Goody bag.
The races, as it turned out, started quite late.  10.10am for the 10k and 11am for the half marathon.  As we hadn't known the start times we'd booked a hotel in Bath for the night before - but in retrospect we could easily have driven down in the morning.  

We arrived at the race venue in plenty of time, and bumped into several running friends who now know that Husbando is not a figment of my imagination!  Being ever so slightly OCD about getting to races early and knowing where I need to be, I had looked up our wave numbers and memorised them.  But being in the wave one for the half marathon meant I had to go to the bib collection point labelled 'wave 9' and Husbando had to go somewhere entirely different for wave 1 of the 10k.  Totally illogical!  

Waves started at 10 minute intervals, I saw Husbando off and hung around waiting to watch runners finish.  I did feel for the finishers at this stage as they were having to cross a field with people milling around aimlessly.  I was hoping to see Husbando finish - but had to go to the start for my own race.  As I waited there I heard him shouting my name - he'd got back in time to see me off and to warn me that it was 'not flat!'  

The 10k had been an out and back, and the half marathon followed the 'out'  bit before carrying on.  This bit was quite sociable, there were plenty of runners running in both directions and plenty of people to see, although I have to say that running through the tunnels was really not my cup of tea!  The second tunnel was a mile long, and I could not wait for it to be over!  And then we were on our own.  Running through some country lanes, along miles and miles of canal tow paths and back into Bath.  I ran for many of those mile on my own - and I really did not have a good time.  The scenery was pretty and the canal was busy - which was lovely to see - but this meant lots of dodging cyclists, hikers, dog walkers etc.   The marshals were lovely, very friendly and encouraging, and the aid stations were well stocked with lots of yummy food.

But this race could have been so much better.  Chip timing would have been nice (given the entry fee), the organisation could have been better and I can't help thinking that an earlier start time would have made for a less congested run - hundreds of runners, cyclists and pedestrians in a narrow tunnel was a bit hairy at times!   Some of the mile markers were very randomly placed.  I had expected some discrepancy due to the tunnels, but that didn't seem too bad - I passed the 3 mile marker just as my Garmin beeped to tell me that I'd run 3 miles, but the 5 mile marker appeared at 4.6miles, we were back on track by the 12 mile marker, and then way off again as the last 1.1miles was closer to 1.5miles.  Uphill for the last part of that too!  Husband was there at the finish.  I'd taken so long to run that he'd had time to walk back to the hotel, have a shower, and drive back to pick me up.  

I would like to say that I am glad I ran this race, but I'm really not!  There are so many races with better organisation, both small quirky races and big races that the world and his brother take part in - I'd have to think very hard about taking part in races by this organisation again.  

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