So, two days after Event 30 I find myself on the start line of Event 31. The Torbay Half Marathon, an event I have done twice before and also only an hour from home 🙂
Two years ago I did it with my friend Jo and last year I was did it on my own, with support from my friend Sarah. This year Jo was back by my side and my sister Adi was the support crew….cow bells at the ready. Adi was lured to the race by the promise of good weather by the seaside. The good weather didn’t happen…but at least it didn’t rain.
Adi picked Jo up on the way to my house and we set off just after 6.30am. We were in Torbay just before 8am. They have recently changed all the roads round Torbay/Torquay and my poor satnav which been my best friend this year got very confused and for a while seemed to think we were in a field lol! We finally saw the seafront and although it wasn’t where I was expecting to be we managed to to follow the coast road to our parking place.
We were on the start line at 8.45 when I decided I needed a coffee! I think I have a slight cold and my head felt a little foggy, I needed a quick caffeine fix. Adi gave me some money and being at the seaside there was a little shack selling hot drinks right there. With only eight minutes to the start I was glugging it down, they had put a little cold water in for me so it was’t too hot. It did the trick and I was ready to run as the gun went off at 9am.
It’s a fairly big race, around 1600 runners, so it took a few minutes to cross the start line and then we ran the first 1.5km round the green on the seafront. The green was covered in bouncy castles and fun things for kids, last year there were donkey’s but this year they were gone 😦 I vaguely remember something in the paper about the council putting up the cost of the rent, which was a shame as they were lovely and obviously well looked after.
This part of the race is very well supported and as well as the initial 1.5km you pass by once more after the first lap and then again at the end. Good for supporters to see their runners. We saw Adi cheering as we headed out for the first lap which takes you out to Torquay and back.
It’s not flat, but it’s still quite a fast course because the uphills and downhills are a nice gradient. Fairly manageable to run up and not too much of killer on the knees running down which I was very grateful for.
Jo’s plan was to run it all with me. I wasn’t sure how this would work out as she is a faster runner ….in fact two years ago she had left me for dust before we had even turned the first corner of the green! But this year we stayed together and kept a steady pace. I have improved which helped and Jo just wanted a training run for her upcoming Iron distance race in four weeks. We even chatted!!! This is huge for me as when I first started running the thought of running AND chatting seemed crazy. I didn’t have the breath for both.
The route follows the coastline and goes up and down three hills before a flat section of around 1km then a turn around point, back along the flat and then the hills again. A small loop round half the green and then repeat. The roads are closed, so no cars to worry about and you can see runners all the time in each direction. Caught a quick glimpse of elite runner Steve Way, who I hear on my Marathon Talk podcast. It also means that you may get lapped….which we did, but only by the first three runners, and I was really pleased that the point we were lapped at was much further along than last year.
It was the best fun running with Jo. We know each other so well that we didn’t feel the need to talk all the time, happy just to have company. Plus Jo knows how to encourage without making you feel like you did well just turning up. She could see real improvement in my running and was very generous with her praise. Her delight in my progress really spurred me on. Having done the course before I knew that I was attacking the hills much better this year.
We whizzed through the first lap without stopping and in fact it was only in the last 3km when the humidity and fatigue got to me that we had a couple of short walk breaks…really short, twenty seconds or so. It’s all I need just to get my breathing back in check. Jo stayed with me the whole time. We also walked a few paces at the water stations, easier to drink without choking! The water stations were all manned by small children who were so sweet and did a great job.
It such a nice race to do. The closed roads are great and the support is good. A coupe of sections have loud music and people wave from their houses. Our special supporter Adi also surprised us by turning up about 2km further along the course than we expected. Cowbells ringing she cheered us along. She had also chosen to be at the bottom of the hill so that we would definitely be running at that point lol! Probably wasn’t room at the top anyway as that was where the ambulances had set up, for some reason 🙂 In fact as well the ambulance there were two paramedics on push bikes sitting poised at the top of one hill….
After completing the two laps you are back on the sea front at Torbay with signs counting you down from 800m. More encouragement from Jo to keep going and I even managed a little sprint at the end. Over the line in 2.16.37 which is a really good time for me. We collected out goody bags which and our medal and headed for an ice-cream. We had been discussing the post race ice cream for the last 5km 🙂 Adi only had enough money for two ice creams WHAT! She kindly let us have them – thanks Adi xx
31 events done!