Coventry Half Marathon – 24.3.19

Race Report by Claire Newman

Goal number one for me was to get around, miles on my legs without damaging them more is what I need at the moment. But, I did have a vanity goal of wanting to come in under 2:30, it’s a long way off my PB, but it would mean i’d be doing a better pace than on recent long runs.

It was an early start time of 8.30am, I love an early start, but it made parking tricky as many of the city car parks didn’t issue Sunday tickets until 8am. But we got parked up no problem (mainly because we arrived stupidly early) and headed into the race village to meet with the Massey Massive. After photos, bananas, wee stops, bag drop, sing songs, and more photos we headed to the starting pens. These were ‘self serve’ you just picked the pen for your goal finish time, I chose the 2.15-2.30 pen as I wanted to keep the 2:30 pacer behind me.

The starting gun was a surprise, there was no warm up (that we heard) but it was nice to have a prompt start as it is always the waiting to start that gets to me. We shuffled to the start line and we were off!

It was a gorgeous day, perhaps a little warm for me given I’ve been used to running is the freezing cold for so long, but it was nice not to have too much wind and no rain or hail! It is likely that the lovely weather contributed to the amazing support on the course also, more about that later.

The course itself is varied and ‘undulating’ you start in the city and gradually exit into the countryside and villages north of Coventry, so you get a mix of urban sprawl and country roads. In my opinion the toughest section is 6-8 miles, there is a steady climb, a short flat and then a steep climb that takes your breath away, but once you beat that from 9 miles on wards it is mostly down hill with just a few short uphills to stop you getting too carried away! The course is SO well marshalled, there were plenty of water stations, plenty of toilets, plenty of marshals ensuring everyone was safe and guarding the roadblocks.

The support on the course was unbelievable. Firstly the number of Massey supports made me a little emotional, they were everywhere! Even in the remote sections of the course. I want you all to know I appreciated seeing each and everyone of you, thank you so much for taking the time to some up and yell at us all. I was so proud to be wearing a Massey vest, what an amazing club we have 😍 Secondly the number of spectators was amazing! So many people lined the streets in both the city and villages to hand out sweet and cheer everyone on. my fave sign was one that said ‘Go Caine!’ but the G looked a bit weird so at first glance I thought it was a sign that said “COCAINE!” a bit different to the normal Jelly Baby offering…..

I found the first half of the race harder than I expected, which made me panic a bit, but I reached my stride around 8.5 miles and really enjoyed the rest of it, I felt pretty comfortable. I came in at 2:27, so within the goal I set myself and my pacing per mile was pretty consistent.

It was brilliant to meet up with all the Masseys after🍻, we had a lot of people doing their first half and they all did absolutely amazingly. There was also a seriously ridiculous number of PBs given that it was not a flat route. 👏

It is now the day after the race and I feel great, my leg actually feels almost normal, I am hoping I’m not jinxing it by saying that. But I am hopeful that maybe after the 20 miler this Sunday I might be able to do more than one run a week…… I’ll see what Magic John says on Wednesday, he is the boss.