Cambridge Half Marathon
I’ve got a history of taking my wife away for a romantic weekend/holiday and at some point uttering the line “just off out for a while, back soon” I’ve fooled myself (certainly not the wife) that my fiendishly cunning ruses have gone unnoticed, this backfired last year when I popped “out for a while” and came back 8 hours later… Navigational issues being a close second in my list of things I really shouldn’t attempt, number 1 should be running as I fall over pretty much at least twice a run, so this time I decided to be honest, told the boss I’m running the Cambrige Half and we can have a nice weekend away, this was met with “is the course marked fully and do you need a guide dog” so I entered the race, this race is very popular and sold out in 2 hours!
Entry limit 4,500, 2 six mile laps of Cambridge city centre and a final mile around midsummer common, race number, timing chip, baggage label all posted out 2 weeks in advance of the race so all you have to so is turn up on the day, hand your bag in, perform the mass warm up (unintentional dad dancing opportunity) there were 4 different coloured starting pens depending upon your predicted finish time, in a moment of lunacy (probably fell over and concussed myself) I had gone for the 1.30-1.45 pen, it was very well organised even though a few sandbaggers were edging into the front pen, off we went on the first of 2 six mile loops, the route has 271 feet elevation per loop (that’s flat Scotty) part of it around the edge of the city centre with a sizeable section in the city centre, water stations every 2.4 miles, very well supported throughout, lots of high fiving children and impromptu water and sweet stops by local residents, like most “mature” (old) runners I’m pretty much always nursing an injury of some sort, 2 weeks prior to this race I had knackered myself yet again and would dearly like to thank Elliot Cone for borrowing me his Muller ITB strap, I’m not sure if it did what it was supposed to but I had it so tight I quite possibly cut off sensation below the quads so never really felt too much pain, I had found at Parkrun the day before that 7.45 per minute pace didn’t hurt too bad so I ran 7.20 pace instead (concussed remember) first lap done in around 43 minutes, feeling fine, still not got lost or fell over, second lap 44 minutes still upright and geographically unchallenged, last mile is a around midsummer common and the marked course narrows rapidly.
I think thats a mistake because this is where all the sandbaggers make their dash for glory and where I got elbowed quite forcefully out of a “club” runners way falling to the ground (hey, at least I didnt fall over on my own) got up, limped to the line, finish time 1.35.29, got my medal (big and bold) goodie bag was average, crisps, banana, water and endless adverts for Cambridge based services, walking back to my hotel, approx 5 minutes after finishing I get a txt from organisers giving me my time and finish place, also with a link to a downloadable race certificate. Nice touch 🙂
good points: excellent organisation, good route, good support, nice bling, excellent post race admin
bad points: hard to get entry (I was lucky), Cambridge is very very busy with 4,500 runners and supporters, the toilets provided a unique experience pre race, apart from lots of portaloos (and I mean a lot but 4,500 runners remember) they also provided a mass urinal for those who micturate standing and therein lies the uniqueness, I was happily voiding my bladder when a young lady joined me at the urinal and got her SheWee out and also voided her bladder, standing, I immediately went into urinary retention 😉
Its a good race, if you can get entry do so just watch over your shoulder in the last mile for fast finishers and at the urinal for embarrassment