Thursday, March 03, 2011

Great North West Half Marathon 2011 Race Report

The Great North West Half Marathon is based in the north end of Blackpool. I was using the same nutrition plan that I used the previous two races and also trying a different flavour of drink that will be used on the marathon.

The race morning it was quite heavy rain on the way to the race venue however buy the time we reached their it had stopped but the strong winds remained. Everybody seemed to be waiting inside the warmth of the race HQ at the hotel (castle designed front) until the last minute, I think this made people start in the wrong positions even though their was RW Pacers there with their boards with minute mile and time on them.



Great North West Half Marathon 2011


After the start the promenade narrowed quite a lot and you had to watch out for seats or bins which you could easily run in to in the crowd and do yourself an injury. After 500m along the lower path we headed along the top path past the start/finish and the opposite the race HQ before running along the lower path still heading south towards Blackpool Tower which you could be seen in the distance.


Great North West Half Marathon 2011

Running along the lower promenade I was still maintaining the fast pace that I started with to get past the crowd of runners, so I thought I would see how long I could maintain the pace for. After about 3 miles we reached the turning point (about 1/2 mile away from the tower) which then surprised me with a few inclines into a strong head wind.

Great North West Half Marathon 2011

After about 1 mile the undulations along the top path stopped but there was still strong headwinds for about another 5 miles which was quite chilly in the cool wind. Once we reached the far point was reached and returned along the lower path.

Great North West Half Marathon 2011

We then ran passed the start/finish to start the smaller loop. With the wind to our backs and the sun out it was starting to get warm running. Although the photos look summery it was only 6c.

Great North West Half Marathon 2011
Great North West Half Marathon 2011


After reaching the same south turn point we still had the inclines and head wind but only for a few miles and about half the first loop. At this point I tried to pick my pace up a bit on my tired legs.

Great North West Half Marathon 2011

When then turned on to the middle path with a bit less than 1/2 mile to the finish, so I picked up the pace again not at all think about my post race chips :-)

Great North West Half Marathon 2011

By the time I reached the finish I had overtaking a few more people insight of the finish. At this point my heart rate was higher and I was breathing heavily.

Great North West Half Marathon 2011

From my GPS watch I finished in 1:48 which is 2 minutes quicker than the half marathon 2 weeks ago which I also had a 20 mile race in between these. This is also my quickest half marathon for years so a good days training.

For the first 12 miles I maintained a pace of 8:16/mile (+/- 16 seconds) so was fairly evenly paced miles despite the difference in wind and inclines going in each direction. The 13th mile was completed in 7:08 and the pace for the remainder of the race (0.1 miles) would have been at 4:56/mile pace.

My nutrition plan worked well for the third race I had used it with my other watch used for when to eat and drink. I had learnt from previous races to start both watches at the same time and switch this watch then to actual time and ignore the first couple of nutrition beeps. This prevents the watch from being stopped as can be done by pressing (touching) the watch display.

I also learnt for races near the coast if the weather is changeable and/or prevailing in one direction your race kit may need to be able changeable when going in opposite directions to allow for different conditions.

Below are some photos at some of the local Blackpool landmarks on the way to the post race chips and freshly made seafront doughnuts.



Great North West Half Marathon 2011

Taken opposite Blackpool FC towards the tower.


Great North West Half Marathon 2011

Taken on the Golden Mile with the tower in the background.

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