The Weymouth inaugural Half Marathon

The Weymouth inaugural Half Marathon

I wake up to a cold drizzly morning and a feeling tension just like as though I was going to take an exam. Shit - I AM going to be taking an exam! I start triple checking everything again.... clothes - check. Shoes - check. Fuel (nuts and dried fruit) - check. Is this a two-layer or three-layer day? I settle on three layers to stay warm.

I'm staying with my sister as we both signed up to run this race together, and as we drive down to Weymouth we both wonder at how we ended up here. It is generally agreed that we have both got to be stark raving bonkers to be doing this. I mean what on earth were we thinking? For the last three months we have 'talked about doing an HM' and the now the day has come. Time to stand up and be counted. Ohhh shit!!!

A blustery wind is coming in off the sea and rolling up the beach. That is not going to be fun when running the causeway out to Portland Bill. A headwind will really slow us down. I am glad that I have three layers despite seeing people lining up wearing only sleeveless t-shirts!

The hooter goes and we're off and running. My target is to average 6mins 45secs per km but already I am being dragged along much faster than that. I complete 5km in 30 mins and I am going slower than many others but not slow enough! This is FUN, but the niggly thought going through my mind is 'You will PAY for this later'!

Already we are fairly well stretched out and by the hour mark we have gone back along the beachfront and can see the causeway to Portland in the distance. We run through the town to much applause, past some yachts and I suggest to my sister that we stop for some 'Fish and Chips'! Hmmm - on we go. I have some music and Runkeeper plugged in to one ear to hear the split times, so I know that I am still running above my target pace at an average of 6m20s..... You WILL pay for this later...

Out onto the causeway and the Tarmac changes to a rough gravel track. Already there are runners coming back the other way, but that has got to be some mistake because no way could they have managed to get all the way to the end of the causeway and turn around to come back again by now. (Actually they had done just that!). I am truly in awe.

The wind picks up. Seagulls overhead... and I am getting in to a good rhythm now. I actually manage to start overtaking some people. Not many but some. I get to the end of causeway and turn-around to run back. I feel like I am on the home straight but the wind is now blowing directly against me.. At 15km it is beginning to get tough. The dried fruit and nuts is not really helping because the water stations are too far apart and now I am paying for starting too fast!

I remember a tip at 18km that my niece told me... 'in the last third of the race you need to be looking ahead to focus on someone that you can latch on to and eventually pick off'. Hmmm I seem to be the one being picked off more often than the other way round. I am determined not to walk and to keep the pace going. I want to finish under 2hr30min and not disgrace myself.

By 20km I am well knackered but still going. 1+km to go and I can still get under 2hr30. I can see the finish line ahead and I am plodding along. What's this? Someone overtaking me? SOD THAT! I put the hammer down and sprint for the line. I cannot believe where this extra burst of energy comes from but as I cross the line I know that I have done it in every sense.

Check out the huge grin guys! And the bling as well! That there is my niece under my arm. She finished in 1hr 48mins - a PB. My time? 2hrs 15mins and 7 secs - also a PB.

I am a happy boy again with a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of fulfilment that I never ever thought I could have.

I checked out the race winner later. He is between 50 and 54 years old and finished 58mins before me! Gulp! There really is no age limitation in this running lark!

Happy running all.



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35 Replies

  • Great post, great picture. And a sprint finish! Amazing after all that running. I hope you guys are celebrating a job well done.

  • We certainly did. Thanks runwothdogs.

  • Fabulous achievement! Thanks for posting this inspiring story! Well done and congratulations! :-D

  • Thanks Potty. Good luck with your graduation.

  • Thats brilliant! So nice to have your family competing too, they sound like a fit bunch! Congratulations and a great PB time too, love your happy photo! :)

  • Thanks aliboo. The family thing all kind of snowballed from niece who started on the C25k course a year before the rest of us. We now have four close family members and four friends in our little group. :)

  • well done king9fisher.... always remember "its not the winning, it's the taking part" well thats what they told me in school!!! great job!!!! :-)

  • Thanks Adidas. Great advice.

  • Congratulations! Tewkesbury Half for myself and my friend in exactly 2 months!!

  • Good luck with that caj62. I look forward to seeing the race report. :) .

  • Well done all of you, a great family effort by the sounds of it. Hope your sister finished as well !

  • Yup - she did it four mins behind me also with a new PB

  • Brilliant post - well done Mark :)

  • Thanks useitorloseit.

  • Brilliant! Well done Mark, you look so happy, great photo, and some bling for the collection. A HM is so far beyond my expectations I can't even see it - but I'm happy to leave it there!


  • It was so far beyond my expectations as well Madge. I think if you ever want something enough you normally find a way. Thanks

  • Aw look at you ! You could light up a whole town with that big beaming smile ! :-)

    You should be really very proud of yourself Mark. Brilliant achievement !

    Well done , and heres to the next one .....

    All the very best to you and your band of runners , Congratulations ! :-) xxx

  • Thanks Poppy - really kind of you...

  • That is absolutely brilliant, Mark!! And such a great time too. What a fab surprise to be aiming for one time and then absolutely smash it with a blinding effort :)

  • Yeah - I was well pleased. Thanks for your comments!

  • Well done Mark! What an amazing day you had. I kept asking myself what the heck I thought I was doing, and who am I kidding questions as I went to the start line for my last 10k. Thankfully I didn't listen to myself, do I ever!

    We can do all sorts we thought we never could. It just shows that you sometimes have to dive right in and have a go, get out your comfort zone (rut) and give things a whirl. That's what C25k has given us. The bloke who invented it deserves a knighthood at the very least.

    The route sounds wonderful! Weymouth, Portland Bill! Lovely, and it does help if you have some scenery to take your mind off the job in hand. Having the support and camaraderie of your family is a boost too, and having them actually running with you is marvellous. Well done to the lot of you!!!!!

    Medals too!!!!! Fab-u-lous!

  • Thank you misswobble! I know exactly what you mean about diving right in. I am still surprised at where I found the extra energy to do a sprint finish. I know I felt awful but it cannot have been as bad as I was making it out to be if I managed to sprint at the end!

  • It's hard work and you feel it at times as you chug round. Where the burst of energy comes from at the end sometimes is astonishing. It seems we all have it in us. It was there all along and we find it when we dig deep

    I was tired in my 10 k race last weekend. 10k with too many darned "undulations" that were more like ruddy gert hills in my eyes. I managed to pick another runner off right at the death though. Get in!!!!!!! Ha ha.

    Great fun isn't it. Glad we've discovered the joys of running at long last. I only wish I'd started it years ago instead of waiting til my dotage. LOL

  • Great post and picture. It is such fun to read other people's experiences as I am training for mine. I am hoping for a 3hr HM in May, I am a bit of a plodder. I will remember the tip for the final third thank you. Well done.

  • Hey I certainly felt like a plodder at the end! Thanks very much for your comments. I am sure that you'll finish a 3hr HM no problem! :)

  • Fab post, great photo and many congratulations to all of you those are some fab times!! Will there be another Hm?

  • Thanks Vixchile. Yours is a question that I have been giving much thought to. There will definitely be another HM but not in the near future. I think I want to consolidate with a number of 5 and 10k runs first and get back to remembering what it was like to run without a feeling of obligation, if I am on a course, or guilt, if I miss a training session.

    Summer is coming so I am really looking forward to early morning runs and probably one a week circa 10-15k.

  • Lovely photo and great post. How fantastic that running has become a family thing!

  • I know. I feel very privileged. Thanks for the feedback Ullyrunner!

  • Wow Mark, a fab race report. You have done so well and you should be feeling mighty proud of your achievements. Well done, and a fantastic time you did it in too. I have my first a week Sunday and getting butterflies thinking about it! x :-)

  • Thanks no-excuse! I know exactly what you mean about getting butterflies beforehand. Have you run close to the distance in training yet? I really wanted to find out what it felt like before I actually did the race...

  • What a great blog, and a fantastic achievement. It really is a such long, long way. And goodness, your niece is a bit speedy... :-)

  • Thanks TT. Yeah she is very speedy and also a C25K graduate! She is training for the Paris marathon in April and regularly knocks off 20+km at a sub 6min pace!

  • Wow well done you! Just look at that grin! Great time too..

  • Thanks CG!

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