Having failed with my application for the 2010 London Marathon I applied for the 2010 adidas Silverstone Half Marathon based on an advert from the ‘losers’ London Marathon magazine that you receive along with your rejection letter. I do not fancy the challenge of trying to raise X amount of guaranteed money to run the London Marathon through a charity place so instead picked out the Silverstone Half Marathon. My running always has a better focus when there is a target ahead and taking the step from a 10k runner to a half marathon runner seemed the logical step to keep me running motivated.
The Silverstone Half Marathon is organised by the same team responsible for the London Marathon so I thought it would be useful to dip my toe into a longer distance through a well organised event. However, I was warned beforehand by some friends, who had run the same race before, that the event is a bit soulless because spectators are not allowed around much of the iconic Silverstone track so there is little atmosphere for much of the race.
So on Sunday March 14th 2010 I made the early morning drive to Silverstone and found a nice space in the ample parking available around the race track. The location means that there is bit of a walk from the car park to the actual start line but that gave a nice opportunity to warm-up through a gentle jog and I was soon dropping my bag off in the pits ready for collection after the race. The event is well sponsored by adidas and with plenty of adidas merchandise stalls in the paddock area there was plenty to look at. I also took the opportunity to look around some of the pit area since I had never visited Silverstone before.
The race started along the main track just in front of the pit lane and since the track is wide then it meant a smooth start and no waiting or bunching once the race was under-way. The start was notable for the number men who suddenly had to make a ‘pit stop’ of their own and were busy relieving themselves against the concrete blocks dotted around the edge of the track
I was soon settling into my ‘natural’ pace and stuck with the Runners World 10 minute mile pace group; since I hadn’t run this distance before then I wanted to run at a pace slightly lower than normal. The course itself was nice and wide plus very easy to follow but for the majority of the race there was little atmosphere because of the restrictions placed on the location of spectators. However, there were plenty of drink stations and the marshals shouted their encouragement wherever possible.
Approaching the 10 mile mark I really started to flag and then struggled for the rest of the race. I had been running a lot of miles in the weeks leading up to this race but I would later describe those as ‘bad miles’; I was running a lot of miles each week but not structured enough, especially not running far enough during my weekly long run. Also, judging by the amount of discarded energy gel packets, I had not realised the benefits of energy gels nor tried the gels before.
I shuffled my way around the rest of the course though and was encouraged by the cheers from the crowd as the finish line came into sight. The last section of the course was a killer though thanks both to the slope and he strong head wind. A lot of runners were grimacing around me but everyone wanted to run that final section and cross the line with a tiny bit of glory.
My final race stats were as follows:
- Category: 18-39
- Category Position: 2087 / 6660
- Place Overall: 3767 / 9551
- Place Gender: 2837 / 5896
- Chip Time: 02:13:06
The helpers at the end of the race were well drilled and it did not take long to get the chip removed from my shoe and to be handed my finishers bag. I was extremely grateful for the drinks and energy snacks included in the bags as a walked back to the pits so I could claim my bag. I had brought some food and drink with me so I consumed these while I went through some stretches before what now seemed a long walk back to the car. It took quite a while to exit the car park because of the amount of traffic trying to leave at the same time (I would hate to see what it’s like after a British Grand Prix) but I was soon on the drive home.
My final thoughts on running a half marathon / adidas Silverstone half marathon:
- Train well and train wisely: I ran a lot but with a bit more research I should have picked a proper training plan and stuck to it.
- If you’re running for over an hour then look into energy gels (but make sure to do this in preparation for a race rather than trying out for the first time during a race).
- Silverstone is iconic but be prepared for some long quiet running.
- It’s a race track so stick to the racing line unless you want to run an extra mile or so.
- There’s a lot of people arriving by car so equally there are a lot of people leaving by car. Most tend to leave at the same time so be patient when it comes time to exit the car park. If I run here again then I would probably forgo the time I spent snacking at the end and try to get out and then stop later to eat so I could beat the crowd.