Last Sunday I ran my 10th half marathon, the Norwich Half Marathon. This was the third time I’ve ran this race, previously running it in 2014 and 2015, but the first time I’ve ran it in spring. The organisers of the Norwich Half Marathon switched it from a late autumn race to a spring one a few years ago – I think the constant difficult weather conditions had something to do with the change. This is one of my favourite half marathons to run, mainly because I love the course, it is incredibly well organised and I always like the race bag we get at the end (there’s normally a lot of food in it!).
Originally I had planned to target this race for a half marathon PB, but I was still feeling mentally and physically drained from the marathon in March so in the week leading up to it I decided to just enjoy the race and use it as a celebration for running 10 half marathons.
The Norwich Half Marathon takes place at the Norfolk Showground and heads off into the Norfolk countryside passing by some of the nearby villages. It is a lovely route and although only one lane of the road is closed there is little traffic.
The weather conditions on the day were perfect – good move by the organisers to switch it from autumn to spring! It was warm, but not too hot, so we didn’t freeze waiting for the start plus there was practically no wind. The race started at exactly 10.30 and although there were thousands of runners we set off in one group instead of waves. It was up to runners to be honest about their predicted time with the faster runners at the front and the slower ones at the back.
With all runners heading off together it did make the first mile, which goes through the showground, a little congested although it wasn’t too slow with many runners setting off at a quick pace. Once onto the road there is more space which enabled runners to find their own pace. The second mile is on a gradual incline, but most of the first part of the race is generally flat. Although I wasn’t running very fast the halfway point seem to come up really quickly, and from 6.5 to 7 miles it was downhill which felt great and really helped to pick up the pace. At mile 8 there was the first of two steep, but short, hills. I’d forgotten about this hill so it took me by surprise but I got up it easily by slowing my pace. Once at the top it was downhill and flat again.
At mile 10 came the second hill, which is the one most runners on the course were dreading and a few runners around me let out a groan when it came into sight. This hill is tough as it comes at a time when legs are starting to fatigue and it’s very steep. Again reducing my pace helped me to get up without walking.
Just before mile 12 we entered the showground again, but I found this last mile the toughest as I could hear the loud speaker announcing the names of runners as they crossed the finish line, but knew that the finish was still a mile away. Eventually I got to 400 meters left, then 200 and then turned the corner and saw the finish line. I had loads of energy left so I managed a sprint to the end and crossed the line in 1 hour 53 minutes and 6 seconds.
Over 10 minutes above my PB but I loved running this race and really enjoyed every moment of it that the time didn’t matter. The Norwich Half Marathon is a race I would definitely recommend and one I hope to run again next year – maybe targeting a PB next time.