Dorney Lakes Half Marathon – 30.8.20

Race Report by Claire Newman
On Saturday I did another ACTUAL EVENT!
F3 Events Ltd were putting on a multi-distance event at Dorney Lakes and Phil and I were signed up for the half marathon.
At the site entrance we had to give our names through the car window to someone checking off booked participants before driving on to the carpark. In the carpark there were several portaloos labeled as being for the different participants, after a quick visit to the half marathon loo’s we headed to the entrance to the lake passing through a station where we had to sanitize our hands. At this station they were checking bibs and only letting people through whose distance was about to start. Anyone who had arrived too early for their start time had to wait in the car park.
The start line was not that different to the one the previous week, it was set up so runners would be released individually onto the course. There were taped X’s on the floor to stand on and we lined up in pairs, two meters apart from your paired person and two meters between the next pair. On reaching the front the pairs were split and one person would go to the start line and be counted down and set off, 15 seconds between each person. It was incredibly smoothly done. We were joining the 20 miler people who had started an hour before so there were already quite a few people heading around the course.
I did my normal start line look around to identify ‘my people’ the mid/back of pack runners with wobbly bits. There weren’t really any. The start line was full of tiny lithe muscular serious people in vaporflys, I’ve never seen so many in one place, it was like a vaporfly convention! I started to feel a bit worried.
I set off at Stupid for Claire speed. A side effect of running with a bunch of tiny speedy people. Even at my top most speed I was feeling like a sedated hippo lumbering around the course compared to everyone else. I put my headphones on and tried to ignore the fact I felt so out of place! I was also ignoring my watch beeps as there was no way I could break into a walk in front of these people. I got lapped as I started my second lap, it was the first of many lappings 😂.
The course was a 5k loop to do 4 times, the first lap had a an extra bit to make up the HM distance. I do like running here, it is beautiful and flat, a nice change to Draycote! The course was long (measured at 13.5 miles, but the organisers have since emailed participants about this), more miles for your money!
At 8 miles I started to get a really bad pain in my hip/bum 🍑 and started to do my run/walking. At 10 miles my right achilles was twanging and I had zero energy left. Normally when my energy goes I can mentally get myself around, but my head was messed up from feeling so out of place that it was a struggle. I kept going only because I have never DNF’d and figured I couldn’t when there was one lap left. I hated that last lap. but I finished, the medal was gorgeous and then we got to have a lovely lunch in a pub garden yay for post race rewards! 🍔🍺
Lessons learned. Ignore everyone else, run my own race. Or you end up hurting yourself and having a total mental wobble! If I ignore the extra distance my time for the actual HM was my 3rd best, and my best HM time in 18months, so I’ll take that 🏅
As for the event organisation, really straightforward and clear instructions, friendly marshals, was impressed with how well it all worked.