The last time I ran in the Birmingham Half Marathon was in 2010 when it was called The EDF Race For Life! and to be honest the organisation wasn’t brilliant especially at the finish when runners in the main pack found the finish area so congested they had to queue to get over the finish line!
Since then It has been sponsored by Bupa and has been renamed the Great Birmingham Run which has brought with it a different starting strategy which involved splitting the entry up into 4 ‘waves’, which wave you start in is determined by your estimated finish time with the fastest runners obviously setting off first.. The course seemed very similar this year to the course I ran 3 years ago but the start was in a different street and the finish was further up Broad street than I remember; the one thing that stuck out most for me is that they still use a long uphill section near to the end which really tests already tired legs.
With echoes of Cardiff still in my mind I had my mind set on a PB which passed me by in Cardiff due to, I believe, starting too far back and being delayed by other runners during the congested early stages, therefore I made my way up toward the front as far as I could, I was starting in the first wave right behind the elite runners, as the race started I saw that only 25 seconds had elapsed as I crossed the startline so that has to be an improvement although the chip which was tied to my left trainer wouldn’t be activated until I had crossed the line regardless of how far back I was.
Not really sure if I was the only Croft runner taking part after a brief chat with Jon Barnes, who now runs for Cheltenham Harriers. I was quickly passed by Paul P. before we had completed 1 mile, and he was running much easier than I was!
The run itself was fairly uneventful even after a dodgy weather forecast it managed to stay dry overhead although we (my brother and I) had experienced heavy rain on our way to Birmingham earlier that morning, the hardest part was the dreaded hill. Again I failed to improve on my pb of 01:39:33 which I recorded at Hereford 2011 and was 6 seconds off my 2nd fastest Half Marathon which I did last time I ran in Birmingham.
Slightly disappointed with only my 3rd best time but upbeat because I had run the fastest time for over 2 years which included 2 forays in Cardiff out of 12 Half Marathons in total over 5 years.(Did anyone see me on BBC Midlands today?)
Me: pos. 1668 MV(55-59) 24th chip time 01:40:27 (20 seconds faster than Cardiff)
Paul Price pos. 1141 SM 556th chip time 01:37:05 (5 seconds slower)
Ben Marsh pos. 8733 SM 3266th chip time 02:10:27 (faster by 4m 7s)
finally well done to Jon Barnes: pos 69 SM 45 chip time 01:20:21
In fact well done to all the local runners who took part! After 7 races over the previous 8 Sundays this running lark can get a bit addictive, I’m looking forward to my next race already!