Blackpool Half Marathon – Mikes Report

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:

gnr250x326I 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!