Vitality Oxford Half Marathon 2015
[Sun 11th Oct]
After being in the city for barely two weeks, word had reached me of a high profile race that would be happening the following Sunday. The only means of transport I possess are my own two feet and a bicycle so race opportunities would be very rare indeed and I felt the urge to capitalise on this occasion. The only problems were that I had missed the registration period, it was at the end of Fresher’s Week and oh, it was only 13.1 miles. I hadn’t ran more than 10 miles this year but still filled with the buzz from the Tanfield XC, the distance did not deter me despite concerns about the distinct lack of mud and absence of hills- where’s the challenge in that?
Luckily I managed to purchase a number on the sly which confirmed my ability to participate, if illegally. I now had four days to get some miles in before the big day; an easy 12 mile run around the more rural areas of Oxford would be suffice for me albeit it did include getting lost at various points and running through a field of cows. Nevertheless, preparation was highly successful.
Race day saw the city engrossed in a medley of runners: both club and unattached. The race HQ was located in University Parks where a mass warm up session began as soon as I attempted to navigate my way through the crowds to deposit baggage. The methods of warming up by quite literally ‘jogging on the spot’ and doing ‘star-jumps’ I consider to be inferior to my own personal routine of Woodsy Warm-Ups which has been thoroughly tried and tested by a great number of high profile athletes so I warmed up by myself.
The race was about to start so I made my way to the 1.15-1.30 time pen with an initial thought of sub 1.30 being the goal. Unfortunately there were some complications with many athletes (basically all the ‘elites’) who were travelling by train- it was late and so the race was delayed by 15 minutes much to the annoyance of many.
We finally set off through the streets of Oxford, passing large crowds and many iconic landmarks such as the Sheldonian Theatre, the Radcliffe Camera and various different colleges. The route took us through the main streets and out of the city to the village of Marston and then back into the city once more with numerous drinking stations across the course. I managed to achieve a PB of over four minutes to my delight, although it was only my second half marathon. I clocked a time of 1.22.23 with the alias of ‘Unknown’ in the results and a position of 71st overall, to which the announcer declared that I was fourth female as I crossed the line much to her bafflement- I may have gotten away with it a few years ago!
Overall it was a fantastic race with a great atmosphere as well as a decent goodie bag. Shame there was a poor turnout from Blyth. See you all at Christmas!