Race Date: Sunday 17th March 2019
Report from Chris Bannister
Bath Half is a race I have wanted to do for several years, in part because a friend moved down there and marshalls every year, and always offer to put me up. I got as far as entering two years ago, but injury meant I missed out. I was feeling optimistic last October, and managed to get a club runner place after it had sold out due to having run a decent half time last September. Unfortunately the groin injury I had just picked up at the time I entered 5 months ago has turned into a real problem, morphing into a series of problems which I haven’t shaken off.
So my training plan involved a grand total of 65 miles being run in 2019 prior to the race. Oh dear. These included 3 miles at Bath parkrun the day before the race. A lovely non tarmac course through National Trust land, but a few miles out of the centre so you need your own transport to get there.
The weather in the week before the race so I was thinking of not bothering, despite the hefty entrance price and no deferrals or transfers being an incentive to run. But the forecast said the weather would change for the better on race day, which it duly did. So the race was on, although night before preparation of 4.5 pints and pie n chips weren’t the best.
The race takes over the city centre, but is incredibly well organised. Park and rides have a constant flow of buses, clearing huge queues of passengers efficiently. There was a crush to get into the race village, but that aside, organisation was faultless. Thanks to my club place, I got to start in Pen C, really near the front, although my warm up meant I nearly missed my spot due to me not realising I had to go over 100 meters down a fenced corridor to take me past the crowds to the front.
I ran a really steady paced race, well pleased with overall 6’19 per mile given my lack of training; a flat course helped, as did good conditions. The crowds were incredible, the best support I’ve ever seen for a race. The fact that it’s two laps means there were only a couple of sections without a crowd, though the course is interesting anyway through the beautiful city & alongside the river Avon. My wife saw me 4 times, using a footbridge over the river to nip between viewing spots. As well as moral support my wife helped me with a clothing change at the end of my first lap, as I attracted lots of attention stripping off to remove my base layer.
So Bath has instantly gone to being my most enjoyable ‘big race’ half, and I found myself rating everything 5/5 in the finishers survey for most things, even 4/5 value for money despite the £43 entry fee. It is also the first time I’ve been asked as a runner to vote in a battle of the bands competition. The guys who boshed out Prodigy numbers in honour of Keith got my vote.
So now I’m laid up and hoping I don’t pay with a 10-12 week lay off.. Hope to see some of you at a race start line before the summer.
The race was won by Chris Thompson of Aldershot, Farnham and District in 1.03.09, first lady home was Kate Reed of Bristol AC in 1.12.43.
Full results available https://bathhalf.co.uk/results/