I had low expectations of a good race. One, because I found my last half marathon (in Exeter) so tough and two, well…because it was in Yeovil! Sorry Yeovil, I was wrong.
It was lovely to have an event so close to home, just a 25 minute drive. This gave me time to drive up the road decide I needed a thin jacket, drive home and still have plenty of time to get there and parked. There we lots of roads closed for the event so I just parked in the first car park I came to, which fortunately turned out to be very close to the finish line and only a five minute walk to the start and the registration area. I registered quickly, only had three people waiting in front of me. I was lucky, as I left the hall the queue behind was now out of the door.
I walked back to the car to have my pre-race porridge and put my bib on my vest and my chip timer on my shoe. Then I popped into the town to some toilets I knew about down a side street – saved another long queue back at the start.
The race started promptly at 9am and just over a thousand runners weaved their way through the streets of Yeovil. This is the first time that this race has started and finished in the town and it was great move. From the start there was great support with lots of clapping and cheering – I loved it.
Apparently the course was also much flatter this year and indeed the first half was pretty flat. We passed all the sights of Yeovil – shopping outlets, the industrial estate the car dealers. It could have been pretty dull but honestly the support made up for it. At one point I dropped my headband which I had been holding, a lovely lady ran back to pick it up for me – telling me not to do a any more than I needed to. Her husband remarked he’d never seen her move so fast 🙂 We also had to cross quite a few major roads and the police and marshals did a great job. We were causing long queues of cars, but I didn’t see anyone getting annoyed.
As the spectators thinned out we hit the country lanes and although slightly undulating it was very pretty, very Somerset. The lanes took us out to Montecute House and Country Park. This is where they hold Yeovil parkrun so It was familiar ground. As I entered the grounds I saw my sister Adi – she had popped along to cheer me on, almost missing me as I wasn’t wearing my orange jacket. I’m trying to cut down on layers and got it just about right for this run – I did need my gloves though as it was nippy. It was so good to see her. She hadn’t said she was coming but I hoped she would “Go Paula Green”!!!
I was running really well. A little niggle in my ankle at 7km but a bit of hopping and a quick stretch seemed to sort it….whatever works. Probably just old age…nothing serious. At 10k I realise that my legs didn’t hurt, which is unusual – they often start to feel heavy and tired at this point. My breathing was pretty good too and in the second half where all the hills were, I was doing a good job of running up most of them. On one really steep one I walked near the top, it was probably quicker than my slow jog anyway!
The last 5km took us back through the residential streets of Yeovil and again the support was awesome. Lots of people waiting at the end of their driveways to cheer us, many wearing their slippers I noticed 🙂 Little kids holding out bowls of jelly babies. One lady banging together some saucepans – all good fun.
As we hit the town the barriers were out so that we had a clear run through to the finish with people lining the sides and a band playing as you crossed the finish line. Yeovil, you did a great job. A good course, great marshalling, wonderful support.
My time: 2.19.58
15 down, 35 to go!