Great Run Birmingham

Birmingham Half Marathon race report by Connor.

On Sunday (5th May) I took park in the Great Run Birmingham as my first half marathon. I’d previously the distance as part of training for this race so knew I could do it, I just wanted to beat my time and possibly pave way for a middle distance triathlon…

I’ve had my fair share of eventful races since I started last year – this one almost made up for the appalling conditions in Stratford last week. The weather was perfect (Morgan might say slightly too hot) and there were no hiccups.

On the drive over to the event I decided to something different, I set the pace on my watch to be 10 seconds quicker per km than I had trained for. I wasn’t sure at the start whether I’d live to regret this or not. Once I passed the start line I found myself running even quicker than my new target pace so I eased off. This tactic worked quite well in hindsight. I kept to my pacing well and took enough energy gels & water. Also got to try out my new purchase – electrolyte chews – after suffering a few times on long runs with cramps and heat stress which I’d put down to losing too much sodium when sweating.

After about 2km I realised I was following someone with a very similar pace to me, so I decided I was going to stick right behind them for the remainder of the run. This worked well, I fell back a few times but always caught up.

The first 5km of the run went quickly, it was really encouraging and motivating to see so many people at the sides of the road and leaning out their windows playing music and cheering everyone on. The turn point for the 10km runners was about 8km, which came up quicker than I expected. I knew the rest of the run was going to be more challenging as the 5 mile out and back to Selly Park was rather uninteresting. This was the part where I had to really concentrate on my pace as I started to fall behind my target. Once I’d done the loop at the top it was back on the main road towards Cannon Hill park. From then I just considered it one more parkrun to go so was feeling confident, checking my pace I was ahead of my timings and still had fuel left in the tank.

The final 2km going back into the city I picked up speed and was impressed with my ability to overtake (including my nominated pacer). I picked up my speed as the crowds began to grow and saw a familiar face cheering me on in the final 800m (thanks Abbie, and Els who I’d not noticed ????). Coming round into Smithfield I tried to sprint but could only manage my 5km pace at this point. As soon as I crossed the line my legs almost gave way but I made sure to keep moving so they didn’t seize up.

I finished with a time of 1:56 which I was really pleased with considering my last attempt at the same distance was 2hrs. Next milestone, sub 1:50!

(Photographer really captured my relief that the finish line was 10 metres away)

TLDR version:

  • Ran faster than target pace ????‍♂️
  • Great weather ☀️
  • Fun mostly flat course ????
  • Finished quicker than expected ⏱️
  • Inspired to do a middle distance tri ????‍♂️????????‍♂️
TEC Brecon Beacons Long Half Marathon<< >>Summer cycling time trials

About the author : Connor

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