St. Neots Half Marathon – Race Recap

Race Information:

St. Neots Half Marathon Route.
  • Course: A figure of eight, undulating course, on the country roads on the outskirts of St Neots.
  • Elevation:
St. Neots Half Marathon elevation map
St. Neots Half Marathon elevation chart.
  • Other information: There are food outlets on the school playground for refreshments before and after the race. They do not send out race numbers, they have to be picked up on the morning of the race. Race photos were added to their Facebook page for you to take for free. they were uploaded very quickly too.

I asked on my IG post what people like reading in race recaps and to answer some questions:

What was my fuelling strategy?

Well, as I have said I wasn’t so prepared, so I picked up some Tangtastics and had some at mile 8 as I was feeling a little hungry!

How do pace your race?

In this race we just ran and chatted, not even looking at watches, so it was really on feel.

Usually I will have a goal time and then work pace from that.

How do you know what layers to wear?

I really don’t like being cold so usually layer up too much. But I think you just learn what you feel comfortable in the more you run. I still get it wrong ALL the time!

My Race:

I felt I may have been the least prepared for this race. There was no flat lay the night before, I hadn’t even thought about what I was going to wear. I didn’t know what the weather was going to be like, as I hadn’t been on weather watch for the week previous. I didn’t even know what time St.Neots Half Marathon started. The only organising I had completed, was to arrange to meet with Christine and Mike to travel to the race together! At least that way I knew I would get there on time!

As we drove to the race, there was fine rain and I can’t say that I was looking forward to running. I was glad I had opted for my long layer under my MNDA vest. There was plenty of parking on a school site, although you parked on the school field and I saw a few skidding on the way out as it was so muddy.

We headed into the hall to collect our race bibs and you get a race long-sleeve top too. From there, you are ushered through to the sports hall, where you could get your things sorted and drop your bag. This was good as it mean that we could keep warm and dry.

Pre race selfies at St. Neots Half Marathon 2019.
Keeping warm in the sports hall selfie!

I was in need of a toilet break and headed to the changing rooms, hoping that would be the shortest queue. The queues didn’t seem that long until someone told me there was only one toilet working! I think there were about 15 people in front of me, so I decided to wait and use the portable toilets outside. Well, that was a mistake.

Keeping ourselves warm and dry meant that we didn’t head out of the sports hall until 20 minutes prior to the race start. Great I thought, toilet time! It was cold outside and we headed for the toilets. The QUEUES were snaking all over the playground, so again I gave it a miss.

Toilet queues at St. Neots Half Marathon 2019.
Toilet queues zig-zagging around the playground.

It was a 5-minute walk to the start, I spotted 2 portable toilets. Yes! Oh and then I spotted the queue. The race was about to start, so I again didn’t queue. Let me just let you in on a little secret; I needed a wee for the entire race! I mentioned it a FEW times to Christine and Julie, but it was just too cold to stop behind a tree. When finished I ran straight from the finish line to th toilet and I only remembere to stop my watch once I come out of the Toilet!!!! The moral of the story is; go to the toilet before the race, as running with a full bladder didn’t make for the most comfortable race.

So back to the running, well, run/walking. Julie has been injured for a while and her physiotherapist had said that she had to adopt a run/walk strategy so as not to aggravate her knee more. When she said that she was doing a 7/1 run and we didn’t have to wait for her, I knew that wasn’t happening. It was going to be 7 minutes running and 1-minute walking, repeat. I’m nowhere near PB shape, so I really wanted to enjoy this run with friends. I also thought this meant I could take lots of photos and possibly Insta-Story a lot of the race!

We crossed the start line only 1-2 minutes after the klaxon had gone off. I tried to video the start, but ended up taking a photo of the start gantry and then desperately tried to start my Garmin at the right time too! Fail on the Insta-Stories number 1!

Seven minutes running and it was time for our walk. Out comes my phone for a photo and, oh where are they. Julie was like a rocket and had power-walked ahead. I had to run to catch up, take a quick photo and then we were off. Where did that minute go?

Mid Race selfies at St. Neots Half Marathon 2019

I had thought about taking a photo each walk break, but on the second walk break, I had to concentrate on just walking fast enough to keep up. The minute went so fast and Julie’s power walking was pretty intense that my photos didn’t really happen! Hehe. Fail on Insta-Stories number 2!

We were out in the countryside pretty quickly and the miles were ticking by. The race started with an incline and then a short sharp hill around mile 3, but nothing too bad. The scenery on the route as you run along quiet country roads with vast fields for company is lovely. There were lots of marshals on the route and pockets of support at various places.

Views at St. Neots Half Marathon 2019

The course does a figure of 8, so the mile 9 sign is between miles 3 & 4, so you know you have that hill to look forward to again.

Some spectacular houses lined the route and there was always things to look at. Not all roads were closed, but traffic was very light. There was a unpleasant hill at mile 5, but we were lucky that it coincided with a walk break. Were we really that lucky???

Mile 5 at St. Neots Half marathon

Completing run/walk intervals meant that we passed and was passed by familiar faces, so by about mile 7/8 we had a little chat with the people around us. Motorbikes passed at frequent intervals and we always got a tutu shout from one of the riders. Our MNDA vest and matching rara’s seemed to get quite alot of attention.

Mid race selfie Photo at St. Neots half marathon 2019

I recognised where we were around mile 8 and 1/2 as we conquered the familiar incline, but at the end of the road instead of turning left like last time, we turned right. Both Julie and Christine have completed this race a number of times before, so they happily informed me that it was all downhill from here.

I was feeling quite strong and enjoying the run and was surprised how easily the last few miles ticked by. The road became much busier from mile 12 to 13, so you had to be aware of your surroundings. When you see the mile 13 marker, make a left turn and there is the finish gantry. I tried to Insta-Story crossing the finish line, yep you guessed it. Fail on Insta-Stories number 3!

I really don’t know how people manage to Insta-Story races. I didn’t attempt the run and talk, I thought I was doing the easy things and failed at them! How Anna managed to Insta-Story her way around NYC Marathon and record a video for running channel at the same time is beyond me!!?? Crazy #Lifegoals hehe

We finished all together which was brilliant and we got round in a time of 2:19:36, but today was certainly not about times.

So that’s it for 2019 races. Check out my races for next year here. Let me know if you are running any of the same races.

Finish Line  Photo at St. Neots half marathon 2019
Finish Line Medal Photo at St. Neots half marathon 2019

Positives:

  • Running with friends is the best.
  • Finishing with friends is the best.
  • Having fun with friends is the best.

Less Positive:

  • More toilets would be nice.
  • I think the hills would not have been nice if I was running flat out, but for a leisurely run it was a really nice course.

Have you run St. Neots Half before? Thoughts? Also, what questions do you like answered in a race recap? Let me know below.

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