On 12th May 2019 I took part in the Run Gatwick Half Marathon. This was the second installment of Run Gatwick, and I’m pleased to say it’s the second time I’ve taken part pacing the 1:40 #funbus for Xempo. Take a look at how the inaugural event went last year HERE. This was my 2nd time pacing Run Gatwick; 42nd time pacing a half marathon (26 for Xempo); and 72nd event as an official pacer.
As always I laid out my kit the night before making sure I had everything needed. It’s the simple things, like good organisation, that help you to stay focused and not panic in the morning. With a 09:00 start I needed to get up early to get to Crawley in time. On arriving to the event village it’s clear how well organised this event is. We had a choice of car parks all within short walking distance, we parked at the closest which was only £1 all day.
When we got to the start I met up with the rest of the pacers and we got ourselves ready. My pacing partner moved to cover a different pace, so I was on my own to pace the 1:40 #funbus. We made our way to our respective starts and I was joined by a lovely big group. It was hard talking to everyone as we start by the main stage and this had constant chatter. I let everyone know the pacing plan, and talked about the course. I explained I would aim for around 7:35 min miles, but would adapt to mile markers to keep under. I also explained that mile 9 had a challenging hill so we would go up this slower and make up the time before and after.
After a slight delay we made our way down to the start. I had a sharp pain in my foot so thought I had a stone in my shoe. I took my shoe off, emptied it, but when I put it back on it was worse. I took it off again to check my sock, but nothing was there. I turned my trainer over to see a safety pin had managed to stab through the sole and was digging into my foot. I’m so glad I was able to clear it before we set off.
I had a lot of fun on the course. It was a quiet group, but many stayed with me, and it was a substantial group from start to finish. It was nice to run with Jonathan for the duration. Water stations are good, and given as small bottles with sports caps, which is ideal. The course seemed perfectly measured, however the mile markers were not placed right for most of the race. This would usually make it difficult to pace, but having ran last year I knew the course was accurate. The mile markers made a nice vocal point with arrows to different countries, which is dangerous for me, thinking about my next adventure.
Although the course was flat, it felt hard to keep on track today. It was difficult as I had to keep increasing the pace just to stay on track with the mile markers. I tried to do it gradually to keep everyone with me.
By mile 10 the markers were on track again, and approaching the finish we had built a 15 second cushion. It is an incline for the finish so I encouraged everyone to #pickupthepace as it’s easy to lose it in the final moments, and I didn’t want to lose anyone.
We finished as a big group, with most of my #funbus running ahead and waiting for me. My official time was 1:39:50 which the whole group were happy with. After the run I got my tee and medal and made my way straight to Base Camp. I joined an hour long queue to have a go at the teddy grabber. The queue took far too long in my view, but the intent behind it was great. Three teddies had stars on for free flights. Last year it was a random generator which was quicker and I think there were more flights on offer. This year it is still fantastic prizes, with the bonus of winning teddies, however this may have backfired with some of the stars potentially unreachable, so unless they went in an mixed it around towards the end, these may not have been won at all. I may not have won a holiday, but I did win a teddy for my kids.
After the main event it was time for the kids family race, a mile long race for the whole family. After the warm up we were off. Unfortunately my boy has been unwell, so couldn’t run. I didn’t want him to miss out so I pushed him around in the pushchair. My girl ran an awesome race and is really enjoying running and getting medals.
At the end we got given the same medal as the half marathon. Also the kids were given a tee the same style as what we received in the main event, a very inclusive event. The event village and atmosphere was excellent. A really enjoyable event, with lots of activities for the whole family. The only thing that would have made it better would be if my boy felt better oh and winning a holiday.
Next up I will be at Hackney Half, who is with me?