PB’s are dangerous – Bahamas Half Marathon – A review
For those of you that don’t know me I’ve had an on / off relationship with running for a few years now with the most recent phase starting in April of this year. Not so long ago during the last phase I thought I would be able to train for a marathon by merely completing three runs of 5km a week and double the distance each month (Oh! How naïve!), I’d keep track of my time by bursting back into my Nan and Grandad’s house shouting ‘TIME?!’ (To which I am certain they made up on every occasion) and I’d plod the pavements in something not too far off a shell suit (cringe).
This time round I have a training plan that involves intervals, fartlek and long progressive runs. A device called a Garmin that is forever being swirled in the air and the fashion sense? Well, that remains debatable.
I also used to enter races on the back of an alcohol fuelled evening. Not this time. Overwhelmed with euphoria due to a parkrun PB and a holiday to the Bahamas coming up in less than a month I found myself online checking out if parkrun were in the Bahamas to see that they weren’t but there just happened to be a 10k and half marathon taking place whilst I was out there. Less than 3 minutes and $50 later (around £35) I am registered for the 2nd Bahamas Half Marathon taking place on 23rd November.
Training whilst on holiday was quite difficult as Paradise Island, where I was staying, had limited running routes that provided me with the distance I needed. Add to that the want to sit on a sun lounger all day and boost my vitamin D levels left me with many runs to be completed on the treadmill. Come race day I was on edge for my fix of the pavements.
I arrived at Arawak Cay at 5.30am to find that the race had sold out and it would be a small field of 150 runners. Bag drop was in an armoured car resembling the A Team van and the warm up provided was courtesy of a Junkanoo troupe and I must admit I actually did get my wiggle on.
Come 6am, 18 pees in the portaloos (totally dark due to the time – not recommend) and thoughts of ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have had that last pina colada’ and we’re off!
The route was a simple out and back along the coast line of Nassau. Advertised as ‘totally flat’ I can confirm that they are rotten liars as there was one hill but not of Essex Way standards and the views of Cable Beach, Goodman Bay and Saunders Beach along the way more than made up for it so I forgave them.
I breezed along the first 6.5 miles to the turnaround point taking in the many white sand beaches with the sea lapping over them, the two music stations, the sun rise and then it hit. The sun had come out, there was no cloud cover and it was HOT. 28 degree hot. Fortunately there were drink stations (water and Gatorade) every mile and thanks to Keith’s Top Tip I managed to stay hydrated.
Reaching the relayers switch over point (you could complete the half as a team of three) was a much-needed boost complete with a shout of ‘you’re doing well England!’ I adjusted the shades and quite literally inhaled some Gatorade and pushed through. With 300m to go, turning the last corner and seeing the finishing line, I lengthened the stride and started sprinting feeling somewhat confused by how good my legs felt during this added exertion finally crossing the line in 2 hours 15 minutes. Not what I was hoping for but with the big crowd of people with massive smiles, dancing and cheering me and every single runner through to the end and almost 5 minutes off my PB I wasn’t complaining.
The medal had been redesigned entirely from last year and is certainly my favourite in my growing collection. The organisers also give out trophies to those that top their age categories and I lost out on this coming second to the woman who finished second overall. The goody bag was a bit sparse. A waterproof bag, t-shirt, a bottle of Gatorade and a couple of leaflets and pens. However, what lacked in the goody bag was made up for by the amount of food and drink on offer at the start / finish. There was something for everyone.
Overall conclusion: an expensive race but an opportunity I couldn’t let past me, fantastic support and atmosphere along the way, I’d certainly do it again and my relationship with running is most definitely on. I just have a bit of foam roller on the side….