Three Wigan Harriers turned out in Blackpool this weekend to brave the winds and take on the Half Marathon course. First to report is Mike Harris:
I arrived at Baltic on sea (Blackpool) just over an hour before the race start to find over 1,000 runners inside race HQ “The Hilton” sheltering from the icy north wind. A very efficient booking system meant I was soon out doing some warm ups and dropping kit back off at the car.
This was my first road race and half marathon so I knew barring a DNF I was on for a PB! The impressive times posted by my fellow Harriers at Wrexham meant I felt somewhat daunted by the task, however a few kind words on Thursday night meant I had my head ready for action.
The plan was to run a negative split – get faster in the second half or try! The sounding of the gun preceded the usual cavalry charge and I made a real effort not to get sucked into it. My plan was a very steady 6:50 for the first 3 miles and then 6:40 for 7 and then 6:30 ish for the last 3.
In mile 2 whilst running at 6:40 I had the RW pacer for 1:30 come past me with a mob following behind which was slightly disconcerting. I cursed his poor pacing for the overcrowding not realising I would eventually join the maddening crowd later in proceedings.
The first 3 miles were into a stiff headwind so it was a pleasure to drop down to the lower prom and head south again. The absence of the wind meant I was now sweating like a good ‘un but it was a chance to settle into a steady rhythm moving ahead of the pacer.
Now I’m not sure what happened around mile 7 but I dropped 25 sec off my pace and once more was engulfed by the pace group. This time I welcomed the company and resolved to hang onto this group.
What followed then was a 5 steady miles at 6:45 pace, the wind doing it’s best to sap our strength. Just before the 12 mile mark I turned up the gas to finish in a PB of 1:28.54 (124th place and 30th V40), managing a little of the legendary Harris XC sprint finish to duck under 1:29 barrier. Job done, bring on the Beacon XC!