My half marathon diaries

A brief look back at the half marathons I’ve taken part in over the last 3 years.

The first 

Resolution Richmond – 30/03/2014
Time: 2.11.45

Getting to my first half marathon was quite a challenge. Turns out Brooklands race track is impossible to get to on a Sunday morning for 9am. Not one to fall at the first hurdle, I didn’t want the fact I hadn’t really organised my ability to get to my first half marathon to make all my training go to waste. So I found another one on the same day and signed up last minute.

Unfortunately, all my training to that point had been under the assumption I was running ‘the UK’s flattest half’. Now I wasn’t. So it was tough, but at least I could now say I’d ran (mostly!!! Hills are bloody hard work) a half marathon.

Despite being proud of my achievements, it took me a year to reignite my running bug. And then, for some reason, I thought doing four in quick succession was a good idea.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 7 (Avoiding deer is always fun)
  • Swag: 3 (the medal wasn’t personalised to the event…)
  • Organisation: 7
  • Pain: 7 (I hate hills)


The loneliest 

Milton Keynes Festival of Running Half – 08/03/2015
Time: 1.55.50

So I started my four half marathon challenge with a slightly anti-climatic trip to Milton Keynes. I’d kept the fact I was doing this very much on the down low (if no one knows, no one knows if I failed!!). This meant that on the day I travelled solo to MK, ran the race, and went home. Not much more to say. Apart from MK is NOT that awful when you run away from it. Which would always be my recommendation.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 4 (okay I admit the non MK bits were okay)
  • Swag: 4
  • Organisation: 7
  • Pain: 4


The one with the pit lanes

Silverstone Half Marathon – 15/03/2016
Time: 1.57.45

This one was just pure fun. You’d imagine running round and round a tarmac racetrack might be a hideously boring way to spend a Sunday. NOT IF YOU PRETEND TO BE AN F1 DRIVER. Complete with sounds. Neeeeeeeeeeawwwwwww…..neeeawwwwwww. Straight through the pit lanes. Round the final stretch, and over the finish line at 11kmph. Whoop whoop.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 8
  • Swag: 6 (this was a good medal)
  • Organisation: 9 (this was probably the most slickly organised half I’ve been to!)
  • Pain: 4


The best supported

Richmond Half Marathon – 22/03/2016
Time: 1.55.32

Knut joined me for this cold trip along the Thames, and so did the family Dobben. So it was extra special cos people were there to cheer and shizzle. My mum got super emotional when she thought I wasn’t gonna get sub-2 hours (ye of little faith), and then we all went to the pub for about 20 minutes before I had to leave because of severe runners belly (for future reference DO NOT mix ibuprofen and running).

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 5 (I love a good run along the Thames…but it does get a little samey after a while)
  • Swag: 5
  • Organisation: 7
  • Pain: 8 (Primarily the ole runners belly)


The one with the best medal

Hampton Court Palace Half – 29/03/2016
Time: 2.02.15

The final half marathon in my set of four, this was a lovely Thames based run, starting at the stunning Hampton Court Palace. I was hoping to make it 4 out of 4 at sub-2 hours but I got the WORST STITCH IN THE WORLD at 20 km. Doubled over in pain I burst into tears and hobbled round for the last 15 minutes. Thoroughly frustrating, but then the medal was AWESOME.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 7
  • Swag: 8
  • Organisation: 4 (in fairness it was their first time, so how could they have known lots of people might need the loo before starting…….)
  • Pain: 7 (running in a cold rainy headwind with a stitch wasn’t one of the highlights of my year)


The surprise personal best

Run the streets – Kingston – 28/02/2016
Time: 1.53.29

This was a major surprise. I’d been training for the London Marathon for a couple of months but kept getting hampered by hideous bouts of the flu. So I went into this race feeling thoroughly underprepared and with a packet of tissues in my pocket. I don’t know if it was the fact it was a pretty boring route that encouraged me to just get it over with, but I ended up getting a PB (which I have since beaten!)

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 3 (road, river, housing estate, road, river, road…)
  • Swag: 5
  • Organisation: 8 (pretty slick)
  • Pain: 4 (apart from the odd sniffle)



The very very straight one

Roma Ostia – 13/03/2016
Time: 1.55.37

To spice things up a bit, I decided to travel abroad for a half marathon. I’d never been to Rome, and the idea of running round the collosseum and taking selfies with the pope seemed awesome. Well, turns out the Rome-Ostia half starts 3k south of the tourist district and is then just a VERY VERY straight (closed!) motorway to the coast. And there wasn’t even a beach at the end :(.

But I do love the tshirt.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 4 (not the best Italy has to offer I think!)
  • Swag: 8
  • Organisation: 9
  • Pain: 4
Cool raincoat

Cool raincoat

The most scenic (and my favourite).

North Wales Half Marathon – 30/07/2016
Time: 2.03.07

Given my experience in my first half marathon, the slightest mention of hills and I started sobbing in a corner. But then I watched Knut do a ridiculous race and it kinda inspired me to see whether I was over my hill aversion. So, last minute, I took a trip to Wales. And oh what a half marathon. By far the most beautiful (…Milton Keynes wasn’t particular putting up a strong competition lets be fair), and just such a great atmosphere.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 10 (Do this half marathon)
  • Swag: 7
  • Organisation: 9 (amazing atmosphere and nice organisers)
  • Pain: 6


The very very hilly one
Woldingham Half Marathon – 28/08/2016
Time: 2.28.03

Having got over my hill aversion, I decided to do yet another hilly race. This one with a delightfully painful 500m ascent, and my first primarily on trails. It was a lovely race in the middle of the Kent countryside – with only about 70 people and everyone cheering each other on. I’m still not super keen on hills, but I’m warming to them.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 8
  • Swag: 5
  • Organisation: 8
  • Pain: 8 (hills are growing on me, but bloody hell they are painful!
Where the hell is Woldingham?

Where the hell is Woldingham?

The even more surprising PB
Tallinn Half Marathon – 11/09/2016
Time: 1.48.45

This summer I travelled to Estonia to do a bit of running through some bogs and forest. To start off this jaunt I took part in the rather wonderful Tallinn half marathon (in a sweltering 24 degrees and sunshine). It was hot, fun, and somehow I smashed 5 minutes off my PB.

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 6
  • Swag: 6 (medal was awesome, but there was no tshirt 🙁 )
  • Organisation: 9
  • Pain: 6


The one with all the people
Royal Parks Half – 9/10/2016
Time: 1.54.48

This was a very last minute addition to my half marathon repertoire. I’d spotted a post in a group offering a place on the Wednesday before and I said yes! Now I don’t mind running in crowds….but this was something else. It was just overwhelming.

I spent most of my time dodging and darting around people and trying to avoid colliding straight into the back of someone. I’m pleased I’ve done it as it was always on my list as an iconic London half…but I wouldn’t do it again!

Marks out of ten:

  • Scenery: 6 (London is beautiful but I’ve seen it a lot!)
  • Swag: 8
  • Organisation: 5 (Surprisingly poor for such an established half)
  • Pain: 8 (I hadn’t stretched my calves properly. That was a mistake)


That’s all for now!


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