I didn’t really give the Run Gatwick half marathon my full attention. Until very recently, I thought I was having foot surgery, so I backed out of the race. But then, surgery was called off (hurrah!) and I still had a place in the race. I decided to ramp up my distance over a three-week period and go for it.
I’m really glad I did. What an excellent race!
This was undeniably my most undertrained half marathon ever, but it was a great one. Graham decided to run it with me, and we just took it easy. We ran sensibly, just pushing the pace a little bit in the final 3 miles, finishing the race in 2:03:24 with a solid negative split. We chatted throughout the race, reminiscing about our favourite races around the world. I actually paid attention to the scenery and the other runners. Dare I say, I actually enjoyed myself. The race pictures prove it – all 79 of them! I have a smile on my face in nearly every one! (I bought all of them, by the way. Yes, I’m one of those people that buys the extortionately priced race photos. But wait till you see them. I may need to do a whole new post just to share them!)
Run Gatwick is a new race. It is set over fully closed roads through park, town and the West Sussex countryside around Gatwick Airport. When there weren’t spectators to cheer us on, there were airplanes flying overhead to destinations all over the world.
I ran the race to support Neurokinex Kids, a charity that provides rehabilitation services to children with spinal cord injuries. This is a wonderful charity and the money I raised will go toward purchasing special training equipment. Given how important running is in my life, I was honoured to support an organisation that helps people experience the joy of movement.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, I exceeded my fundraising target of £350. However, I would still be very gracious if you would like to donate. The JustGiving link will stay live for a few more days. Just click here.
The course was nice, with some lovely country roads enclosed by tall trees. It was narrow in parts, so if we were targeting a PB, it might have been difficult to pass people, but given the casual nature of the race, it didn’t really matter. It felt friendly. It had good vibes.
There weren’t a lot of supporters along the route, but the ones that were out to watch were generous with their cheers and trays of candy. I graciously grabbed as many jelly beans as I could to nibble while we ran. We had a little cheer squad made up of the Neurokinex team at the 3km and the 20km mark, which was so nice and unexpected! They even took this funny pic of us as we ran!
Despite the fact that they were calling for rain, the weather was actually perfect for running (Sorry London Marathon runners!) It was a mix of sun and clouds, and about 14C. In my Neurokinex vest and black sleeves, I was perfectly comfortable.
The biggest drawback of this race is the location. It took double the time to get to and from the race as it did to run it! With rail replacement services in place, it was a very early wakeup call and a long, two-hour journey to the start line. And because we were late arriving, we struggled to check our bag in time. Thankfully, the kind people at the Neurokinex stand let us stash our bags there which was hugely appreciated! I hate being late for the start!
I really enjoyed this race and it felt so good to take all pressure off and just run. I have to admit, I kind of forgot what that was like. Also, an unexpected (but awesome!) side benefit is that I barely suffered any muscle soreness after. I was back at Orangetheory this morning for a workout!
Thank you to my husband Graham for running this race with me. It was made exponentially more enjoyable with someone to run with.
Next up: The Lough Castle half marathon in Ireland! This race is less than two weeks away. My original plan was to actually race it and see what I’m capable of, but Run Gatwick was so enjoyable, I might try the same strategy!
(Big congrats to all my Canadian friends and family who did the annual Sporting Life 10km this past weekend! Wished we could be there with you as part of Team Jog On!)