Northampton Half – Race Recap

Race Information:

  • Date: Sunday 29th September 2019
  • Start Time: 9:30 am
  • Entry: Via website and I think they still had places quite close to the race and possibly on the morning too.
  • Cost: £30.45
  • Race Website: http://northamptonhalfmarathon.co.uk
  • Race Mementos: Medal and t-shirt.
  • Course: Starts in the town center of Northampton and is a mixture of town and then surrounding countryside. There is a large hill between mile 6 and 7, but the rest of the course is pretty flat.
  • Elevation: Mostly flat, with one awful hill!
Elevation of Northampton Half Marathon
Elevation of Northampton Half Marathon
  • Other information: Pacers were available, there were plenty of marshalls. Registration took place in a pub, so I used the toilets in the pub and there was NO queue! Bag drop was the back of a van next to the start, which was easy and efficient to use.

My Race:

When I saw the schedule for my last few weeks of marathon training and saw that I had 13 miles on the plan the same weekend as this race, it felt like a no brainer. I needed to bank the miles so why not collect the bling and run with lots of people too.

I had assumed that this would be a leisurely run, as I am now tapering for the Chicago Marathon, yet when I spoke to my coach last week, he told me to go for it! What?!? That wasn’t what I was expecting. Having run a PB at Bedford Half Marathon at the beginning of the month I did think that maybe this could be my sub 2 attempt.

I spent the next few days panicking about this race. What if I went for it and didn’t get a good time? Would this knock my confidence for Chicago? But then what if I had a blinder and went into Chicago raring to go?

I was still contemplating going with the 2-hour pacer about 5 minutes before the start. Then, I decided that my main aim of this race was to enjoy it. I feel like I am losing my enjoyment of running lately, so I needed to enjoy this.

It was forecast for horrendous weather, but just as we were about to start the sun came out. It was actually really humid and hot throughout the run.

Ruth & Christine before the start of Northampton Half Marathon
All smiles before the start.

So, I set off with Christine so we could natter away and enjoy the run. I felt like I was constantly trying to slow us down, but we probably still started to fast. By mile 3 we were running along by the river, it was pretty, my legs were feeling fine, but I looked at Christine and said: “I’m bored”. It sounds stupid, but I could have easily given up and just cheered everyone else on. This worries me for my forthcoming 26.2 miles!

All smiles after the race.

Around 5 miles, Christine started to slow and I decided to try and stick to a 9:45 pace. Just to see what it felt like. Great timing as a big hill came up. There were lots of people walking it, but I tried to run it all. Three-quarters of the way up and I started walking. I only walked a short time and then set off again. Around mile 8, I actually felt like I was in a rhythm and I was enjoying it. I decided that at mile 10, I would push on and really attack the last 3 miles.

Not sure what happened with this idea, as my two slowest miles were mile 10 and 12!!! I liked that I was passing lots of people in the last few miles and I had a sprint finish, but I couldn’t say that I finished full of confidence that I would be able to repeat that distance again. What is going on, I have trained harder than ever for this marathon, yet for some reason, I don’t feel as confident about it! Let’s hope there is a miracle in these next two weeks!

If you want to catch up with all my Chicago Marathon training, please click here.

Positives:

  • Local
  • Reasonable race size, so not much queuing.
  • Easy parking next to where you finish.
  • Race photos are reasonably priced.

Less Positive:

  • Some narrow sections on the course which can make it hard to overtake.
  • Finish section is on grass which is quite bumpy.

Do you use races to help train for other races? If you have any questions about this race, please comment below.

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