After a week of dreary, cold days, the sun finally came out on Sunday, just in time for the Richmond Half Marathon, my fifth half marathon, and my first half in London! With my annoying cough somewhat subsided and the sun shining, I was feeling good. I knew I was going to take it easy so I wasn’t nervous. That sub-two hour time was quickly discarded as a goal considering I was undertrained and recovering from an illness. It just wasn’t realistic to push for a PB.
I’m happy I took it easy because it was one of the nicest, most relaxed half marathons I have ever done. The route went through beautiful Kew Gardens, a UNESCO heritage site and apparently home to world’s largest collection of living plants! The course was mainly shaded trails along the Thames in a lovely out-and-back style route. The route was varied terrain – everything from concrete to grass. In fact, the rocky trail we ran through in some spots was actually so narrow, it was a bit of a challenge to pass anyone. If I was seriously trying for a PB, it would have been tough to aggressively navigate through some of the narrow, jam-packed areas of Sunday’s 21.1K route.
Graham darted off ahead of me but later I caught up when he stopped for a water break. We ended up crossing the finish line together in 2:03:35 which was nice. Not a bad time, all things considered!
The final mile of the race was a bit odd. After approaching what looked to be the end of the race, we were guided through a zig-zaggy course through a large open expanse of grass. It was as if the organizers miscalculated and in order to make the race distance equal 21.1K, they had to add some weird circles through the grass at the end. That said, I actually quite enjoyed finishing the race on grass. It was squishy and bouncy and since I was feeling pretty good, I ran the final mile much faster than the others. I was sure those finish line photos were going to look powerful and awesome (Side note: they did not. I look, as always, like I’m lumbering along, winded and exhausted. Weird form and crooked foot and all!)
Shortly after we crossed the finish line, we were handed our bag of goodies, including a race shirt I may actually wear, a pretty cool medal and a can of beer. After stretching in the sunshine and enjoying our much-deserved beverage, we headed off to a pub with fellow runner Caine and our awesome supporter Jessica. We rested and enjoyed a well-deserved Sunday roast.
A great race overall. Definitely worth signing up for next year.