My Story: Running The 2018 Chester Half Marathon
I raced my first ever half marathon last month.
After being stuck in a little-more-than-5k rut for some time, I decided in January to sign up to both Chester Road Runners, and the Chester Half Marathon.
Soon the big day was upon us, and I was heeding all advice and standing in the long pre-race toilet queue. That 10 minutes was a mental calculation as to whether I'd make it before 8.59 with enough time to wade through the mud to get to the 2:20:00 starting line.
I made it in time for the 9am gunshot. After another 6 anxious minutes of walking, our wave eventually crossed the starting line. My race had begun. We were greeted immediately with hundreds of spectators clapping, phones snapping and kids waving.
With the aid of hundreds of cheering Cestrians, the first mile was a walk in the park. It wasn't until we reached the bridge to Mollington that the reality of those long miles ahead dawned on me.
The long, slow road through Mollington, luckily, was punctuated with high fiving children and young up-and-coming bands playing music with a rhythm designed to keep our legs going.
It was 40 minutes until doubt really crept in. I had to stop and walk. I was overtaken by a gentleman who must have been three times my age, who demanded I keep going. What could have been a 4-mile-in, exhausted and demotivated plod turned onto a 5 second walk before chuckling, regaining momentum, and overtaking the good sport ;).
I'm certain I wasn't alone in telling myself to keep running, as I'd promised myself "Garden Lane will be tough, you can walk for 10 seconds then". However, there was no chance of that with the ever-growing, wonderfully aggressive spectators lining the streets to get us through.
A woman in front of me stopped to walk at the top of Garden Lane and someone approached her, and after sincerely checking if she was okay, told her "KEEP RUNNING!”.
Finally reaching Northgate Street, I was spellbound by the wall of cheering, screaming and waving - the perfect backdrop to pick up pace for a sprint finish!
Completing a home race was amazing; being able to walk from home to race and back, being able to pre-empt the hills, but most importantly of all, the amazing support!!!
I raced my first ever half marathon last month. And I can't wait to do it again..