Birmingham half marathon result and report by Joni Grose

Race Date:

Late last year I decided that I would like to run a half marathon. Realising that I was not around for Sheffield, the next obvious choice for me was my home town of Birmingham. That’s good, I thought, Sheffield is way too hilly for my first half! So then I signed up for the striders 10km to half marathon course and ended up training on the hills anyway.

The course was fantastic and prepared me really well (thanks Tessa, Steph, Ian, Malcolm and the other helpers). I felt really ready to face the challenge. Then the next month happened. I was plagued by a virus the week before and a case of runners knee. Up until 3 days before I wasn’t at all sure I was going to be able to run. A last minute trip to see the physio for a loosen up of my IT band and a green light to go ahead and I was finally ready to go.

The  weather forecast had been 13  degrees and overcast in the week leading up to the race so it was a little bit of a surprise to wake up to bright sunshine and now an 18 degree forecast. Luckily I was able to find a kind random runner to get some sun cream from in the warm up area.

The organisation of the race was fantastic. There were plenty of toilets with only a few minutes queuing. The set up for the bag drop was great with busses organised according to start wave colour which were then driven to the finish area.

I was in the pink wave with a start time of 10:10. After a little milling around and a rushed warm up by a slightly frantic sounding Brummie I crossed the line start line at 10:30.

The course starts with around 8km of winding around the streets of the city centre. There was plenty of support and cheering and everything from steel pan drums to drag queens singing karaoke. There were some hills but nothing that would trouble someone who runs in Sheffield.

The course then goes out of the city centre, where those doing the 10km peeled off, and out down the Pershore Road. Sections of this were fully exposed to the sun and I was starting to feel really overheated so the second water station (there are 3 of them at 5, 10 and 15km) was a very welcome sight.

The course turns at Selly Park and you head back down the Pershore Road. The best section is a run around Cannon Hill Park, in my opinion the best park in Birmingham. You then head around the back of Edgbaston Cricket Ground and back into town.

I had got too excited at the start and gone out way too fast and was feeling exhausted by the time I was nearing the end which is in a large area of waste land, which they rather charitably refer to as a “festival site”. It served the purpose well though and I thoroughly enjoyed coming over the finish line cheered by a large crowd, including my parents and son.

Lessons were definitely learnt from my first half, most notably that I should carry my own water and practice my race day pacing better but on the whole it was a fantastic experience of a well organised race that shows Birmingham off in a most positive way.

The male race winner was Omar Ahmed of Birchfield Harriers in 65.34. The female winner was Abbey van Dijk of Run 4 U/Perform in 81.14.

Striders Results:

Pos Name Cat Time
4480 Joni Grose F 2.18.59

Full Results: here

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