Bath Half report from Mark Chapman

Bath Half Marathon




The Bath half marathon or ‘Bath Half’ as it is more commonly known is a long established spring half marathon this year marking its 35th edition, with over 12,000 competitors it is a larger race. Despite Bath City been considered to be quite hilly the race itself is considered fast and flat and a good race for a PB attempt, tracking the valley floor.
Enough blurb, why would 2 Flyers be so far from home I hear you ask, as a former Bath University student this has become my spring half marathon of choice, since taking up running. This year was my third outing. For Matt it was his second attempt. Last year I set my PB of 1:38 on the course while Matt starting in the wrong start group got caught in heavy foot traffic, so both of us were keen to perform well for different reasons.
The race itself starts in Laura Place with it traditional Bath stone Georgian architecture, a suitably grand location to get under way from. This year Sharron Davies was the starter as we all got underway in glorious sunshine at 11am on Sunday 13th March. For the first km Matt and I kept together to high five a few friends in the crowd, however like all races this was the normal tricky games of trying to find some spare tarmac to run on. After that it was down to the serious business of PBs!!
The race route takes the runners downhill round the edge of the city centre towards the railway station before crossing the river and making their way along the opposite bank towards the Green Park area of the city. Then comes the first climb of the day, as the race makes its way up to Queens square which feature some of the nosiest support (very appreciated on the 2nd lap when the legs start to ache). From Queens Square it is a long run away from Bath City Centre along the Upper Bristol Road, at this point there is much more space and it becomes easier to finally get into your own race rhythm. The second major climb arrives about halfway along the road before a gradual descent to the end of the road.
At the end of the road comes the turn back into Bath on the imaginatively named Lower Bristol Road which takes runners all the way back to the City Centre through the 10k time trap and onto lap 2. After the second time round runners make their way up the slight incline round the edge of the city centre and to the finish back in Laura Place. With the exception of a few spots plenty of vocal support lined the roads and showed great support both for local athletes and the rest of us, lots of Go Flyers was heard. As you expect from a marathon this size organisation is good with plenty of water and sports drink stations and at the finish a nice goody bag and of course the bit of bling!!
Well if you are still with me well done, I guess all that’s left if the small matter of times. Matt finished in a new PB of 1:32:52, while I managed a respectable 1:41:48. Also a quick mention for the race winner Robert Mbithi who broke the course record with 01:01:44!!
I know it’s a fair distance to travel but if anyone is inspired by doing the Bath Half I will definitely be on the start line in 2017, which is likely to have a new course as well!!


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