The soggy one.
If you’ve been following for a while you may know that Oxford was the original half marathon that I started running in memory of my cousin in 2015. It’s one we go back to every year and it will always hold a special place in my heart. And this year was no different.
As usual, we were on the early morning bus into Oxford – met others and made our way to the meeting point. It was cold and wet – I don’t mind it raining if I’m already running but starting to run in the rain – not for me!
Bags dropped, foil blanket on we headed to find the starting pens. The rain was pouring, there was no getting out of it. It took a while to get around to the starting area and I was DESPERATE for the toilet. A marshal mentioned there were toilets around the corner but unfortunately there weren’t so it was going to be an uncomfortable first few miles!
We made it through the start line pretty quick and I set off at a fairly fast pace with my auntie. I stuck with her until mile two where I couldn’t wait any longer and HAD to use the toilet! People were using them from all angles so I took the role of toilet police by shouting at people to get in line!!
After another mile or so it was time to head out to Summertown. Well, the heavens opened! I don’t think I’ve seen or run in rain like it. It was actually laughable it was that bad.
It must have been like this for a good 10 minutes or so when we started heading out of the city towards Marston. This is usually the worst part of the run but due to the awful weather and wanting to get it done (before I got too cold) I felt pretty good and it felt like the miles flew past.
Mile seven struck and I took a short walk break. My wet clothes were stuck to me and I felt like I could barely move. 7-9 was a struggle.
Back towards the city – my favourite mile number nine – and I started to feel good. My dad is usually at the mile 10 mark so my next aim was to make it there. Mile 10 passed and it was a parkrun to go!
The University Parks was a soggy, mudfest and make it quite tough to run through – puddle after puddle. Once out it was up the incline to mile 12 and the home stretch. I was between a run and walk and some lovely people (one was a Badger’s runner!), who kept me going from mile 7, gave me the final boost I needed to finish.
A strong finish through the line – though my photo didn’t say so – and a time of 2.13.00 – a course PB! A quick photo opp and it was time to get changed and to the pub … for a warm cup of tea!
Another fab event – even though it’s pricy they really do put on a show with all the great bands and music on the route. The medal was great, amazing goody bag and tech t-shirt. Importantly and most surprising to me was the amount of support for such an awful day – it didn’t feel much less than previous year’s when we’ve had perfect sunshine. The marshals were AMAZING and really kept us going too.
What I find so motivating about the Oxford half course is that you’re looping past others so there are so many occasions to cheer and spur teammates on – not only that but I wouldn’t want them to see me walking so I carry on running for as long as possible.
Our main issue this year was that the event went to a ballot. This meant we weren’t guaranteed entry for all our runners. Luckily I found a way around this and entered a team however I really hope they go back to a first-come-first-served entry system for next year.
See you in 2020 Oxford!
I’ll be running this year’s New York Marathon for Children with Cancer UK. If you’re able to support the charity in any way please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/abby30