New Forest Half – race report

5th race of the year here we come ……

I decided to go and register at race village on Saturday, day prior to the race, as with over 4000 runners booked for the event, I thought it would be best to be sensible. I just didn’t want to queue all morning on Sunday.

What a mistake that was! It rained all day Saturday, making the fields at race village, slightly wet, so to speak. Luckily we had the wellies in the boot of the car. Mrs H. wasn’t too happy but at least it took minutes to get to the registration tent and pick up race pack.

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Sunday morning ….. beautiful day ahead as predicted by the Met office.

Race gear at the ready, breakfast eaten, I was ready to go. 20 minutes later, I was there, parked at race village, just outside Brockenhurst in the New Forest National Park. 2.5 hours before race time! I know, I was early ! There is nothing worst arriving at events late or with just enough time to register, find your surroundings, go to the loo, get a drink, etc… I am always one of the first to arrive, where I can relax, take my time to suck up the atmosphere, take a couple of photos, and get ready.

What a beautiful morning !

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After an entertaining race warm up with 2000+ other runners, it was time to walk to the start line. 9:55am …. race time !

Great start as it was busy but there was plenty of room past the starting line as shown in the above pictures. After 500 meters or so, the course started to go into the woods, where as expected the path became narrower, therefore busier and it doesn’t help when some people (always found at races) zigzag through the crowd, cutting your path and almost pushing you over. This is when I wish I should trip these people (oh sorry mate!)

The first couple of Miles was on muddy gravel paths which was fun, although I had to concentrate where to put my feet as I didn’t have my Trail running shoes on.

As the race went on, the paths started to feel more spacious and I could then concentrate on my pace. My aim at this race was not to gain a PB but to run well at a decent & continuous pace. The race was very well organised, Marshals were happy and supportive (no grumpiness on board!) and the kids handing out drinks at the feed stations were just superb! Really encouraging us, shouting “well done”, “you can do it” and “you’re doing great”. Just what you want to see at events and what makes you want to come back the following year.

At about half way, everything was still going well. I was in good shape, running well, concentrating on my running technique and watching my pace, not accelerating or slowing down, keeping it at around 9:40 m/m. Then I started to feel the heat! yes, I know, its September in England but those who ran the race will confirm how hot it got. So I had to work a bit harder to keep the pace rather than just taking it easy. I never thought I was going to moan about the heat! It got even hotter with 3 Miles to go and we hit an open part of the forest, running on tarmac. Luckily I could see the drink station at the far end. After taking a big gulp of water and pouring 1 cup over my head, it took us back through the woods, all the way to the finish !

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So, 2:03:00s nice easy(ish) constant pace run on a great day at a brilliant event! I’ll definitely come back and maybe enter the full Marathon.

Next: Ageas Bowl Perform 5 Miles road race 25th September.

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