So I did it, I ran Silverstone Half Marathon!
My official chip time was 2 hours, 25 minutes & 4 seconds – under my aim of 2 hours & 30 minutes, so I’m happy with that!
I was more nervous than I expected the night before and in the morning and it felt totally wrong to have a lazy, slow start to a day that I was going for a long run! The race started at 12 and all the pre-race information said to be there by 10.30am to ensure you can get parked and to the start line – I’d definitely recommend listening to the advice as it was good to be able to walk in from the car parks without having to break into a jog!
Walking over the bridge across the track and my nerves started to settle – I love being at Silverstone, it gives me a nice fuzzy warm ‘I’m home’ type feeling in my tummy, and this day was no different.
Before going to the start we met up with a few friends who were also doing the run and some of us questioned our sanity as it was absolutely freezing and blowing a gale. It was soon time to take our warmer layers off and leave bags at the drop off. It was all very well organised in the pit garages which made it easy before and after the run.
Starters were sent in slightly different directions – quick runners to one end of the pit straight and slower ones aiming for 2+ hours to the back. I went to the back and was immediately met with a difficult question – was I going for under or over 2 hours 30? I decided to be brave and went right, aiming for under 2 hours 30 mins! It was amazing to see the pit straight full of people.
Soon we were starting to walk forward as they were preparing to set the race off. “The Chain” came on over the loudspeaker and all the hairs on the back of my neck went up – I was at Silverstone about to run a half marathon!
The run itself is a blur – I remember the first lap of the track being over quite quickly and feeling like I was going slowly as people overtook me. I was going quite quickly for me, but I was determined not to get caught up with everyone else and run my own race. At the end of the lap we came down the national pit lane when another runner commented on my vest as he was also running for Crohn’s and Colitis UK. He told me his sister had Crohn’s and was walking the event – it made me realise how lucky I am that I could still run as I was only feeling a bit under the weather.
I felt quite strong as the route went along the service roads in the middle of the track, and I remembered to take my energy gel (a citrus High 5) around 7-8km, before I flagged a bit. It was great to see Rachael running past in a fetching tutu and a real lift to get cheered on by Donna, in a place where there wasn’t any other spectators! I expected the inclines up the two bridges to be the worst bit, but actually thanks to the crowd of people on the sidelines, they passed without wearing me out.
Once over the bridge, we turned left and I couldn’t work out why we would be going that way to Luffield to get back onto the track for the final lap. I had completely forgotten about the lap around the outside of the track, on the road behind the grandstands, the long way round to Luffield! I even saw bits of Silverstone that I haven’t seen before, around the back of Stowe corner near the Porsche centre. I started struggling around here, I think I took my second gel slightly too late, so my energy dropped. Once that kicked in I was ok again. YMCA came on over the tannoy and I was disappointed that nobody else nearby joined in doing the arms with me, but it cheered me up at least!
Back on track for the final lap and I was glad it was the old track layout so we got to go under Bridge. Coming out onto the new pit straight everyone was sticking close to the pit wall for some protection from the elements, but once around Club there was nowhere to hide! It turns out that Club to Stowe is uphill, who knew? A very strong headwind in combination with the hill was not what I wanted at 11.5 miles! It was like wading through treacle so I had to walk for a bit. Back on Hangar Straight and it was downhill from there to the finish.
It was so nice to see Copse and the finish line, and hear the camaraderie as runners were willing each other on to get to the end. All of a sudden people started streaming past again, going for sprint finishes. There was no way I was joining in, I didn’t want to use all the last bit of energy up before I got across the line!
Before I knew it I was done, my very first half marathon 😀
Thanks to everyone who supported me, I have had so many people ask how it went after a note went on my work intranet, so many tweets etc, so thank you 🙂 Plus you’ve all very generously donated £602 to Crohn’s and Colitis UK – thank you 😀