Race Report by Michael Hammond
The training programme on my Massey’s’ app. for the Great Birmingham half started with 30 minutes steady on August 7th .
I soon began to realise the benefit of going out on training runs with a group rather than on my own, so I started to incorporate Mondays and Wednesdays training with Masseys into my programme. Having never run more than 10k before, the app got me to do 10 miles in two hours a week before the race, then tapering it down (you see: I am even getting the lingo now!) to twenty minutes steady the Friday before the race.
The Memorial park is four miles from where I live in Binley, so when one of my running colleagues who I started race fit with back in January asked if I fancied a run on Sunday it was a great way to do the first half by myself then join up for the other half, with a lift home into the bargain.
When I got off the train in Birmingham New Street and decided to make my way to the start (and not queue for the luxury of train station toilets) I was confident that my preparation had been to the book.
I was not in my Massey’s vest but opened a just giving page and ran for Mesothelioma UK. This is an incurable lung cancer brought on by asbestos that my brother John died of three years ago at the age of 63.
Having done the Birmingham 10K previously was an advantage as the surroundings were familiar. Watching the full Marathon runners finish I felt a mixture of; respect, fear, anxiety, and recognition of it being a totally different ball game.
I kept to the back of the green zone, chatting with a couple of Massey colleagues and posing for the compulsory selfie. My ‘‘mapmyfitness” told me I was starting off with 10-minute miles …I stopped to drink at the 3-mile water stop. A need for a toilet break made me try to queue at the cricket ground where the ladies had (understandably) taken over the men’s cubicles… I decided to run on and was thankful for some porta loos a bit further on.
With three miles to go I knew this was going to be the toughest bit…. thankfully I spotted two Massey colleagues up ahead. I knew if I made contact there may be a chance they would outpace me so I quietly kept a very short distance behind and kept a steady pace… I concentrated on not going too fast too soon. Even with 400 metres to go I knew it was too soon to speed up… There had been just one incline I walked. Just after it I went to the side to high five a small boy, nearly twisting my ankle as I stepped on a drain cover… I had to grab hold of a woman’s shoulders from the back to stop myself falling and it gave her quite a shock! I tried to explain but in the end just carried on running and didn’t see her again! I couldn’t have judged my finish better and found myself speeding passed quite a lot of runners to stop my Garmin on 02:34:16 …. Official time pending