Summer Breeze Half Marathon

Summer Breeze Half Marathon

"Is anyone running their first half-marathon today?"

<Acton puts a sheepish hand up.>

Guffaws of friendly but somewhat derisive laughter: "What did you pick this one for? This is a tough race, it really is all up and down hills. Any experienced half-marathoners, you can add fifteen minutes at least on to your normal road time."

Nothing like an auspicious start, is there?

Despite that, I have to say I had an enormous amount of fun yesterday. Due to people not listening to the marshalls properly at the start, a load of 2.20m+ runners set off in what was supposed to be the sub-2hr wave, which meant that when I set off, at the front of the 2.10m wave, I got to spend the first half of the race overtaking people, which is always good motivation.

I got to the first km marker in 5.40, which seemed like a reasonable pace to try and stick with - not having run a HM race before, I wasn't sure whether I'd be able to run in a "race" pace or if I'd end up doing the 10m+ miles of my usual Sunday morning long, slow run.

As for the course, it was as hilly, lumpy, bumpy (but thankfully not muddy) as they'd said, which to be honest, felt great. I've mentioned this before and I don' t really understand the science behind it but I'm not bad at running up hills - on the first lap (of two) I was passing tons of people on every hill, on the second lap, running with the faster runners, I was still passing people on every hill but they would all then catch me up and overtake me on every flat section, only for me to overtake them again on the next hill - I think I must have some mountain goat DNA or maybe I'm just naturally stubborn.

Anyway, I decided to see how long I could stick with the sub-6m kms, reckoning that anything under 2.10 would be a more than respectable time for a first-timer on a tough course so I was delighted to approach the finishing funnel with well under 2hrs on the clock - I put on a bit of a sprint finish and while I haven't got an official time yet, by my watch I finished in 1:58.17, which I am absolutely over the moon about.

Less than six months ago, I was five stone overweight and thinking of starting Couch to 5k and now I'm doing this. Big thanks to everyone involved with the programme, especially all the lovely people on this forum and please remember - C25k works, if I can do it, anyone can.

Thanks for reading, enjoy your running and feel free to add your Sunday brags below,


53 Replies

  • wow thats absolutely fantastic....a sub 2 hour for your first HM is awe inspiring, you need to give yourself loads of treats......really well done :)

  • Thank you - I might have a couple of pints of treats later. :)

  • Thats an absolutely must :)

  • No brags - just congratulations. I'm in awe of your achievement. Brilliant and very well done. You'll have to share your hill running expertise - unless you really are one of the Billy Goats Gruff!

  • Thank you! A combination of childhood holidays in the Lake District and natural stubbornness, I reckon - but all runners are stubborn to an extent, aren't they?

  • Gosh that's an amazing time, you must have really enjoyed that- congratulations!! Xx

  • Thank you - I enjoyed it very much and would definitely recommend it to anyone in London and the Home Counties who enjoys a hill.

  • Thats amazing. Well done. Sounds like you had a great run. The next will seem like a breeze now 😀

  • Thanks - I'm actually doing a flat 10k around the gardens of a stately home on Saturday - I hope it doesn't feel like an anticlimax.

  • Goodness you have made huge strides in improving your fitness ! Very well done, that's a great time and one to beat now ?

  • Thank you - I'm doing another HM in September and yes, it's great to have a "PB" to try and beat.

  • Well done ! That is an amazing time and a fantastic achievement !

    Can I ask you , what cross training do you do ? You must be very fit to achieve that time .

    Definitely coupla pints and a nice food treat for you :-) xxx

  • Thank you - the only cross-training (if you can call it that) that I do is the NHS Strength and Flex three times a week. I do do what I think of as a lot of running, though - 90 minutes of tempo on Tuesday, 40 minutes of intervals on Thursday, parkrun Saturday and a loooong run on Sunday, except where a race interferes.

  • Brilliant ! It's certainly paid off , Well done ! Xxx

  • Acton,

    would you mind sharing some more details of you weekly running routine?

    What sort of distance, what sort of pace, how many intervals etc.

    Now that I'm up to 10K I'm looking for a bit more of a structured plan going forward (possibly as a basis for a future HM).


  • Hi Peter

    I can do but please be warned that I'm not anything like a running coach or even an expert runner - despite my love of showing off about my runs I have only been doing this since starting C25k earlier this year and I don't necessarily know what I'm doing!

    There are people on here who have run marathons, sub-50 min 10Ks and all sort of achievements I've not come close to - and then of course there's Rignold, next to whom we're all couch potatoes. :)

    With than in mind, this is what I do every week - I'm definitely not suggesting that this a plan anyone should be sticking to if they want to run further or faster or be fitter in general but it's what I enjoy.

    Monday - NHS Strength and Flex Level 5: (scroll down)

    Tuesday - Tempo Run: I use these two podcasts ( and so far I'm up to 90 minutes (I run for an extra 10 minutes each week).

    Wednesday - NHS Strength and Flex Level 5 (as above)

    Thursday - Intervals. I use this podcast at the moment:

    Friday - NHS Strength and Flex Level 5 (as above)

    Saturday - parkrun! I go here:

    Sunday - Long, slow distance run - I've been increasingly this gradually since graduating and 5k is now 20 miles, at about 10.5 minute mile pace.


  • Thanks mate. It was because you're just an ordinary recent runner like myself that I was interested in what you do.

    I'll have a look at your links and see if they're something I can use.

  • Hi ActonHighStreet, that's an amazing time and inspiring post! As one of your (metaphorical) legs I am very happy for you. Bask in it for the rest of the week!

  • Thanks prune.

  • Well done indeed! Brilliant time for a first HM, especially for a tough course. Quite a few c25kers from the Facebook forum were doing this yesterday. And you were five stone overweight? It's amazing what you've achieved.

    have you tried cross country? I think you'd really enjoy it, and be good at it.

  • Thanks TT - I like the sound of cross country but I think I'd have to be quite a bit faster before I joined a team. Something to aim for next year perhaps?

  • I did my first XC season last winter with my running club, the Sheen Shufflers (Thames Valley XC series) - all abilities are welcome. You'd be absolutely ready with that HM time, especially by October when it all kicks off. You'd finish mid-pack. Join the Ealing Eagles?

  • Hmm...<rubs chin thoughtfully>.

  • Blimey!! That is seriously impressive *drops small curtsey* I am in awe! Brag away :)

  • Thank you!

  • Truly inspirational - no Sunday brag could possibly compete with that! Amazing achievement, well done you!

  • Thank you - but there are quite a few runners on here with far more impressive achievements than me.

  • You are today's gold star winner!

  • Wow that is incrediable, I have also picked a very hilly first HM. I won't be ner that time that is super fast! Well done!! You would love chile!!

  • Thank you Vix. How's your HM training going?

  • Awesome!!!! Well done. That sounds a fab time (especially on such a challenging course). You sound like you enjoy your running and wellbeing so much and that is inspirational :)

  • Thank you very much - I like to think that running is fun, after all why would we be doing it? Anyone with the self-belief, determination and so forth to take on Couch 2 5k could just as easily have taken up any sport, couldn't they?

  • Wow - you have come a long way. I am not an expert in HM times, but that sounds great to me. Well done!

  • Thank you - I'm a long way from being an expert myself, believe me!

  • hearty congratulations... I can only dream of such things... VERY well done my Shakespearian Acton friend!

  • "I can no answer make than thanks and thanks and ever thanks" :)

  • Always feel that would be rather inhibiting re conversation but well done nonetheless

  • Wow, that's absolutely great!!!

  • Cheers! Best of luck with the Colour Dash.

  • That's brilliant, that you completed the HM and the time in which you did it in,

    People like you make me believe that I can one day run a HM myself and even a marathon in a couple of years time,

    Keep up the good work,

    Take care,

    Siobhan x

  • Thank you - enjoy week 6.

  • That's fantastic AHS. That would be an excellent time on a more forgiving course and is pretty mind-boggling considering where you started just that few months ago.

    Many, many thumbs up.

  • Thank you - I think the support from this forum is worth a few minutes.

  • That's a long way fast in both the event and running. Bravo!

    My childhood holidays in the Lakes gave me a loathing it took me decades to shake off. I like the *idea* of hills and I certainly like a view, but....

  • I suppose it helps to go fast enough to not be distracted by views!

  • I hope I never go that fast (a hope likely to be fulfilled!)

  • Smashing work! Well done. No running boast, but I've sewn together half a patchwork quilt and done some rather nice redwork embroidery today.

  • Amazing effort sir! I ran that HM on Saturday as well and it was a pretty tough one! To pull a sub 2 hour on that course is simply outstanding! I managed a 2:13 with a 2:08 PB on the flat so you should be darn well proud!! Must admit I walked the hill of doom the second time around...

    Well done! Big respect sir!

  • You should also check your results... It's even better.. :)

  • Wow! Thanks for the heads up.

  • You probably overtook me! I was doing the 10k that day, very slowly

  • Great fun, wasn't it?

  • well the downhill bits were good :D

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