Better late than never, huh?
As you’ve probably gathered from everyone else’s race reports, the Surrey Half was BRILLIANT. Bright sunshine, huge crowds, a well organised start (setting off in waves based on pace groups to avoid overcrowding – it worked!), almost no loo queues, and an amazing course. There were cheerleaders, live bands, kids throwing water at us to cool us down and parents handing out sweets and cups of water in between aid stations, crowds all along the route cheering us along .. and everything was extremely well marked. All the volunteers were smiley and encouraging and wonderful. I loooved it. I think I had a smile on my face for almost the entire thing!
I especially loved finishing on the track – somehow I managed a sprint finish, overtaking 7 people, which topped off the day perfectly. Looking at the results, I passed 400 people in the second half! Unreal! Bit of a contrast to hobbling over the line at Exeter last month after an entire lap of wanting to quit:
The only downside was that the course was hillier than I had expected (though I really should have expected it, given I’ve been cycling from Guildford to Woking and back for work for a year – though in my defence, I use another road!) It was tough, especially given the heat, but the views were beautiful and the runners were lovely and friendly, and the supporters made the miles fly by.
Things did get a bit wobbly at half way – and on the big hill at about mile 10 (so cruel!). Running uphill towards the sun on tarmac was a challenge, but I grabbed a gel and extra water (they were handing out mini bottles at the aid stations) and drank half before squeezing the other half down the back of my neck. Bliss! I did see a LOT of runners by the side of the course with medics, though. It definitely made me more aware of the amount of fluid and fuel I was taking on – luckily, apart from that half mile or so, I felt ok. I definitely needed the extra water, though – and more practise running in the sunshine! (Hint hint, England).
This was actually the first half marathon that I’ve completed without a single walking break – and I got a new PB of 2:22! This was a complete turnaround from Exeter last month, despite the heat, and a real confidence boost. (If I can run 13.1, surely I can run/walk 26.2 .. Right!?) I have no idea where the energy for the sprint finish came from this time round – but I’ll take it!
And I even got my race pictures for free, just by being one of the 100 first people to fill in a Virgin Care survey! Result! It was great fun posing for a photo on the podium, even if I did look like a big sweaty mess!
All in all, an amazing event! I’ve already signed up for next year – I’d definitely recommend you sign up, too!