Great Birmingham Half Marathon 18.10.2015

As I arrived with Eunice at Tile Hill Station meeting up with Darren, Chris, Leon, Richard and his support crew Amanda and daughter we headed off to New Street. I was feeling the very nervous about doing this race as this was going to be my biggest half marathon so far with amount of runners who were taking part.

Once we arrived at New Street and the first toilet break we had the traditional Massey photo before heading off to our separate starting points. After walking to my starting point in the Pink wave after two further toilet stops my nerves were taking toll on myself. It was a bit of a wait for we could start. Eunice kept me motivated by stating it is just a run and enjoy it and donโ€™t put pressure on myself for a quick time. After saying farewell to Eunice it was the final wait for the start. You could hear the other waves going and the gospel choir singing as we got closer to the start,

Eventually the pink wave started and the run was going. I took my time navigating through the runners who started to run then stopped to walk as we started are way out of Birmingham City Centre. The first bit of the run was a nice slight downhill and I felt I was making good progress feeling good and strong as we approached the first mile. I glanced at my watch and noticed that I was going too quickly because I wouldnโ€™t be able to maintain that pace. I then carried on to the 2 mile marker. I then kept weaving between runners making good progress, As I approached mile 3 I could see Edgbaston Cricket Ground on my left hand side and I had the urge to shout Come on you Bears, (it is the nickname for Warwickshire Cricket team.) which I did as I passed Edgbaston. I could then see the earlier waves on the other wave of the carriageway so to keep me going I was going to see if I could spot any other Massey Runners.

I saw Leighton come past and I was thinking who else I could see. Then I ran a bit further taking in fluid at the first water station, That revitalised me and I saw Jodie coming the other way looking really strong and that gave me encouragement giving her a cheer, Unfortunately that was the last Massey runner I saw. The route then turned off Pershore road and there was an incline and loop around Selly Oak Park had to the 4 mile mark so that had me thinking 9.1 miles to go counting down.

It was back on to Pershore road and once again I looked out for any Massey runners coming the other way to no avail. I felt really good making strong progress to the 5 mile and 6mile markers passing Cadburys world. Unfortunately no chocolate was being given out as we passed. I took in sips of water and Lucozade at the next drink station. What was encouraging was people cheering and calling out your name as you passed them as well as music been played at different points. On my way to the 7 mile marker I could see runners on the opposite carriageway either walking or slow jogging so I gave them a little shout of encouragement and keep going. When passing the 7 mile marker I kept saying to myself 10k to do I can do this.

I kept thinking positive as I approached the 8mile and the turn into Edgbaston Cricket ground which I was looking forward too as a big cricket fan, I was not expecting the run would take us into the grounds which it did. So I burst into song Iโ€™d rather be a bear than a pear (Sorry to any Worcestershire Cricket fans). I got speaking to other runners as I went through the grounds and before I knew we had done the loop of the ground then it was to Cannon Hill park and passing the 9mile mark. Taking more water sips and orange Lucozade after taking my first gel I was pleased that the water station was close. It was now focus to get to mile 10. I thought it would be fun to run through the shower which was very cold and I quickly questioned that decision as it started to drizzle and I was feeling cold. Soon I passed mile 10 I was feeling strong only a parkrun to go, I counted down the miles to keep me motivated.

Then it was mile 11 and the hill, As I ran along the dual carriage way my legs were starting to tire and my feet were hurting me I shortened my steps and dug in really deep as I attempted the first part of the hill, I could see lots of runners walking I was determined that I am running all the way and there will be no walking. There was little respite before going up another steep incline. I knew I was losing time and this was zapping my energy, I was relieved when I got to mile 12 and it was only a mile to go. I managed to dig in deep again on the homeward stretch and kept pushing as we went through the under pass and into Broad Street where it said 400m and then 200m I had no energy for my usual sprint I like to It was making sure that I finished, As I was coming to the finish the roar of the crowds and people shouting lifted you for the final metres as I saw the clock with the time I was happy to know that I had completed the race. As passed the finish line collecting my medal and goody back and made my way to find my wife.

I really enjoyed this run which tests your stamina, I now know for next time I will be try and be better prepared for mile 11 to 12 if I can. The atmosphere and experience will stay with me, although it was very cool when the run had finished. The only downside it was difficult to see other Massey runners due to the volumes of people and because of the different start waves, Well done everyone who ran and supported.

Race Report by Kelvin Elliott