Bedford Half Marathon and what a race… thanks to Laura Murray I had the opportunity to take part this year.
Running in it’s second year, this year also welcome the Bedford Half Marathon weekend as well as the half marathon on the Sunday, there was the Twilight 10km on the Saturday and also the Mini Miles on Sunday afternoon after the half marathon.
This was one of the earliest I’ve had to get up for a race, a 4 am wake-up meant an early night on the Saturday evening and it was to be expected that it would be difficult to sleep. But nevertheless I managed to get up at 4 am as planned, this left myself enough time for a light breakfast and time to travel to St. Pancras to catch the 6.05am train in order to arrive on time for the race.
It was a beautiful morning, nice and cool just right for running although it was forecast to get warmer later. I was expecting to travel alone, but was so happy to have Laura and a few others travelling on the same train. As the race village was not too close to Bedford station, this meant with the four of us we were able to share a taxi so we could get to the venue quicker. It was a relevantly smooth journey plus it was an added bonus with others to keep me company.
The atmosphere at the race village was amazing, lots of runners and their families. I could imagine that some of the runners was taking part in the Bedford Half weekend so was likely to have taken part in 10km the previous day and the kids to do the mini miles later after the half. As we were quite early there was plenty of time to relax, use the facilities and check our bags in.
There were 5 waves in the race. This was dependant on the time you specified when you signed up to the race, I ran in wave 3.
The route took us through the stunning countryside of Bedfordshire and finishes at Priory Country Park.
I knew from the beginning this was going to be a tough race, started off with a good mindset and followed my routine of taking a SIS Go Caffeine Shot usually half an hour pre-race, which might explain why I actually took off quite quickly. I did manage to get into a steady rhythm, but as it started to get warm I could feel myself getting slower.
I couldn’t be more delighted when the water stations came up, every mouthful of water was needed to hydrate.
At mile 6 I added a SIS Energy gel somehow got a bit of energy back. When I reached mile 8 it was mind over mind and only 5 more miles to go. I dug deep, really pushing myself, legs were hurting and could really feel the heat.
I knew I needed an extra boost, so added an extra gel, this has to be the first time that I’ve ever used 2 gels in a half marathon race but instantly it lifted the energy. Looking at my watch I knew I wasn’t going to make it for a sub 2 hours finish nevertheless I carried on pushing through the last mile and reached the finish line at 2hrs 05.
I didn’t feel hydrated enough along the course despite there being 4 water stations (4, 7, 10 & 12 miles), this could well be that the weather conditions got extremely hot and also that the water was given out in paper cups. But nevertheless overall it was a great race, fully marshalled with friendly staff and a well organised bag drop with no queues, which moved quickly.
I have to admit apart from my very first half marathon back in 2009, this was one of the most recent toughest races but it was well worth for the challenge and the amazing medal.
If you interested in taking part next year, entries are open now see link for more info:- Bedford Half Marathon