I signed up to the Kimbolton Half Marathon a few months ago when trying to fit in a long race as part of my training for Berlin. A few from running club had signed up so I thought I’d join in – we had a great turnout with nine of us on the day.
It was a 10am race start with arrival before 9.30am for registration so I woke up really early to fit in five miles beforehand starting at 6.45! I grabbed a lift with someone from my running club so it was nice to sit back and not stress about directions. Once we arrived – only a 40 minute drive – parking was easy with marshals directing. The car park was a short 5 minute walk from the start area.
I felt good, even though I’d covered five earlier in the morning, I thought I’d be carried away with the other runners and be able to get on with it. Though finding out it was undulating on the car journey didn’t put me off too much.
Registration was simple, we picked up our t-shirts at the same time as race numbers and I nipped off to the porta-loos to get changed. After cheering in the fun-runners on their 2.7k, it was one more trip to the toilet before heading to the start line.
The route started going through the small town, I’ve never visited the area before and it looked such a lovely place with small, local shops and cafes. Locals were also out during this part of the route offering their support. Once we’d passed through the town we headed out to the countryside.
Marshals were located at regular intervals – at most crossings so that we didn’t get lost. Where there weren’t marshals there were signs directing us. As the roads weren’t closed there were one or two points where I thought an extra marshal would have been required – especially at one point where we had to cross a road in order to stick to the route.
Luckily I and everyone around me for the race were ok/uninjured, however for the future I would recommend that runners have a telephone number or something on their bib so that the can contact event organisers in case of a medical issue. Some parts out in the countryside meant that we didn’t see a marshal for a mile or so – similar with the ambulance which I saw drive past twice.
I was feeling great, enjoying the route and happily plodding along sticking to me race plan – 15 minute segments, 14 minute runs and one minute walks. When taking gels I increased the walks to two minutes but for the main it stuck.
Hills, hills, hills. I was aware the course was undulating and when there were hills there were hills. Mile six, there were two. I made it up the first, walked the second, sneaking in a selfie halfway up!
Continuing along the way, time was flying by and before I knew it I’d hit another big hill at mile 11. At the top of the hill I could see someone from my running club so I made it my goal to catch them up. That was not going to happen whilst going up the hill but I kept them in sight and caught up with them around mile 12 during the final downhill stretch to the finish.
I felt like I was flying at that point and once I caught up with her didn’t feel able to stop. The second wind came totally out of the blue and I felt once I stopped/slowed down that would be it.
Looking through Strava afterwards the incline was bigger than it felt for the first half of the half. It surprised me through meant I was really pleased with my finish time.
I found the finish tough – mainly because I thought it was closer than it was. Once we were back in the school grounds I could see the finish. Oh no, there was a lap around the castle first! On grass it was nice that the pressure wasn’t so tough on the feet.
I crossed the finish in 2.21.32. The was a medal, banana and water greeting me along with a simple bag pick up and cheers from my club.
Great half marathon, fab course, loved the medal and on-point organisation made this half one of the best (if not the best) smaller (i.e. under 1,000) half marathon’s I’ve done. I’d totally recommend it and will be back in the future.
Along with an emergency number on the race bib, I’d also recommend smaller water bottles. Loads were being sipped at once or twice and being thrown which was a shame. I can imagine it’s a tough call for organisers cups or bottles. I am all-for bottles but smaller would certainly reduce waste.
Official race pictures courtesy of Nice Tri Events!