Bath Half Marathon – Sunday 17th March

By March 22, 2019 Race Reports, Races

Race Report courtesy of Isobel Burnett (who is too modest to state she finished 1st F60)

Good Points:

  • Relatively flat and fast (despite Bath being an extremely hilly city)
  • Very well organised (a bit like a mini London Marathon)
  • Great support – huge number of people lining the streets
  • Traffic-free route due to a lot of road closures
  • Great goodie bag plus t-shirt and medal
  • No requirement to register – bib number plus shoe chip sent out before race
  • Spacious “Runners’ Village – similar to Loch Ness Marathon but bigger
  • Attractive city centre with plenty to visit out with the race
  • Good for Age places available (free!)

Bad points:

  • Expensive (next year’s is £46, early bird £41)
  • This is not a criticism of the race but more an observation about the running field: there seemed to be evidence of more runners down there not being respectful of other runners, e.g. dropping water bottles where they were running instead of safely over to the side, plus spatial awareness issues… cutting in too soon after passing you, i.e. creating trip hazard!

 

Bath Half Marathon is a high-profile race and was sold out when I considered entering four months ago. I was lucky enough however to get a Good for Age place which was not only available but also FREE… first time I’ve come across that “little” bonus. It also comes at a good time for runners preparing for London who want a half marathon sharpener before the tapering period, one of the reasons I entered.

The route consisted of two laps starting and finishing amongst Georgian architecture and covering city centre streets, out past a more residential area, and back along a quieter stretch, crossing the River Avon four times in all. We were also treated to half a dozen live bands dotted along the route, bringing a smile to our faces and an extra zing in our steps!

In a field of over 14,000 runners (the total prize-money of £17,000 may have attracted some of the more ambitious runners), the leading man, Chris Thompson, crossed the line in 1:03 and first-placed woman was Kate Reed in 1:12.

With a Good for Age place I was placed in a starting pen very close to the start line and was over it 5 seconds after the hooter. As a result I then spent the first couple of miles being overtaken by quite a number of genuinely fast runners and had to mentally focus on sticking to my own pace. It paid off and I had a satisfying race with enough left in my legs to finish strongly in a time of 1:38. My last preparation for London, two years ago, was hampered by a broken wrist and my training plan took a big hit as a result, with no races at all attempted in the two months before the marathon. This year is proving more positive, so far… happy days!

It’s a long way to go just for a half marathon – I had other reasons for going – but if you want to combine a few days visiting a lovely city set in attractive countryside, exploring the sights as well as running a race, the reasons are all here. PS – there was no snow!