Jez Hull at the Cambridge Half Marathon

My 1st Half Marathon. Cambridge, 5th March 2017

I entered the Cambridge Half Marathon in support of my wife, who took to running like a fish to water about 4 years ago. She is now a veteran of 10k’s, ½ Marathons and the odd full Marathon too. I have always had a more casual approach to running – never really managing to follow a regular training or event pattern, though I have never been without a pair of running shoes. This changed with the advent of Parkrun locally to me here in North Norfolk and I am now in position to order my 100 shirt! By the way, Sheringham Parkrun is a tough, hilly, beautiful course, should any runners be up this way on a Saturday morning.

So the challenge was laid down to enter the Cambridge event (having had the annual blow-out from trying to enter the London Marathon). We both got our places secured and as Christmas approached, the training began in earnest. I got my lovely new OS Runners shirt, Mrs H got pneumonia, so our team of 2 became a team of me. (Mrs H is on the mend I’m pleased to say, but still a way off running again).

In January I managed to #runeveryday which really helped things along. I got new PB’s on Saturday mornings and my distances picked up steadily over the month till I could concentrate on longer runs through February in preparation for this week’s Cambridge run

What I wasn’t prepared for was the tapering I was told to do. Abstaining from seemingly everything for the week up to the race was hard work. Saturday was particularly challenging as I was under strict instruction to take things easy.

Getting up at 5:30 on Sunday to get to Cambridge wasn’t much fun either but I got there, in plenty of time. Plenty of time that is to do that hanging around all you/us runners seem to do at these big events. Sure enough, as race time got nearer, the wind got up, the temperature dropped and the heavy rain began. At 9:30 we were off – about 7000 runners in all on a lovely course winding round Cambridge City Centre, past the colleges, the parks, the market and out to beautiful Grantchester before heading back into town and the finish. Excellent support round most of this fairly flat route, very well marshalled and managed – plenty of drinks stations. But the weather made it difficult. Apparently, the winning times were way down on previous years but my time was not of any importance to me, being my 1st ½ marathon, it was all about getting to the finish. I even managed a cheeky sprint finish before heading for shelter, warmth, a big medal, a goody bag full of the stuff I’m sure you are all used to and then back to a warm car.

My time came in as 2hrs 14mins 14secs. I’m happy with that. Will I do it again? If you asked me yesterday afternoon – it would have been a definite NO. Today, as I creak around home, I’m more of a maybe. So it would seem I’ll be out pounding the lanes and beaches soon enough in search of the next challenge.

For the record – the shirt was excellent. Needed a long running top on underneath on the day though (Brrr)