On 14 October 2012 I ran the Oxford Half-Marathon.
What a brilliant race. It was a clear crisp morning with loads of potential for a good time. I headed off probably a little fast (I went through 10k one second quicker than my all-time 10k PB) in an attempt to get a sub-80min half marathon. I knew I was capable of it, I just wanted to do it this season.
Things went really well and my faster start meant I wasn't too far off target after slowing due to the hills and sharp corners towards the end of the race. I still needed to sprint at the end to dip in under 80mins gun time, but that's a small price to pay for a fab race and a new all-time PB.
This is only the second running of this race, so it can be forgiven for not quite getting everything right. Whilst everything went well for me, I did spot several places for improvement:
- The baggage drop-off and pickup needs to be able to accommodate more than one queue. It also needs to process people's bags a lot quicker. With 30mins to go to the start the queue was snaking all over the carpark and I calculated it would take at least 15-20mins for me to hand in my bag had I joined the queue, leaving me with very little time to warmup and get to the start. Instead I opted to run the 5 mins back to my car and drop my back off there.
- Don't funnel everyone the moment you cross the start line.
- Use flatter timing "mats". The timing ridges are very sudden and quite high. I didn't experience too much of a problem as I knew what to expect before the start so I was actively looking out for a 3-5cm step, but given the start became very cramped due to the funneling, I'm sure many a person behind me tripped over or stumbled over the timing "ridges". The same thing applies to the finish straight. Right when you legs are knackered, the last thing you want to do is hop, skip and jump over 3 hurdles on the finishing straight.
Results: Gun time: 1:19:58
Chip time: 1:19:53
Position: 29 / 3032