I had always intended on doing a long run this weekend as it’s been a good couple of weeks since the last one. I was undecided whether to do first thing Saturday or Sunday and ironically my laziness on Saturday turned out to be useful!
On Saturday afternoon I was over at Laura’s parents in Kent for a party. Whilst out in the car about 5pm I noticed a number of ‘Caution Runners’ signs and a 9 mile marker. I also spotted a road closure sign for the Sunday between 9-12. Returning back to the party I did a quick Google on my iphone to see what run was happening, where and when. That is when I found out about the Dartford Half Marathon on 11 July. They were accepting entries on the morning so at about 8pm on the 10th July I decided I would run in the event which started just down the road. Knowing nothing of the course or how my fitness would be as recently 7miles has been my distance cap.
About an hour after deciding to go for it I noticed a friend on facebook wish people good luck for a tough course. At this point I started to realise this wasn’t to be a ‘flat as a pancake’ Silverstone type race and there were to be hills…oh well, it’s just a group training run for me!
We were out of the house at 7:30 following a cobbled together breakfast and taking on some powerbar energy drink as that is all I had access to. Unfortunately my kit was also not my normal ‘race kit’ as I hadn’t intended on doing anything other than an individual long slow run, however luckily I did have all the necessities.
The race set off at 9. Fortunately it was quite cloudy so the worry of heat from the sun wasn’t so much of a concern. The race headed out of Central Park and into Dartford before moving onto smaller country roads and before long the undulating nature of the course started showing. To be honest the first few hills didn’t bother me as much as it seemed for others and once at the top there was plenty of recovery time down so all seemed fine.
As expected I started to run out of juice at about 9 miles. This was probably partly due to lack of fluid as drinking from paper cups whilst running is almost impossible! I nervously approached the hill at mile 10, I had no idea what to expect but had overheard a lot of natter back at the start about “Gore Road”. That was not a hill for running, in fact contrary to what I would normally do I decided walking was the better option. As people started going pass me I was a little bit upset – for the last few miles I had stuck my position and no-one had over took me. As it turns out I had nothing to worry about – at the top of the hill all of those who had overtaken me seemed to come to a complete halt, they had spent all the energy getting up and had nothing to get back down. At this point I was feeling fine so enjoyed the downward run back to the finish…
The last mile was also a toughy, entering the park the route was very bendy and it was one of those places where you can see the finish but are detoured around the houses to add a few more meters to make up the distance. Very demoralizing end to the race, but fortunately that was the end before a 350m lap of a running track and coming over the finish line!
Ignoring the huge hill this was a pretty well organised run – plenty of marshals out on the course which was a bonus – there were quite a few spectators sat in their drives which was nice. No real goody bag but they are normally a disappointment anyway! I had a good time and it was a great little impromptu run!