My First Half Marathon

My First Half Marathon

Mornin’ all

I am pleased to advise that I completed the Tonbridge Half Marathon yesterday in a chip time of 2:03:12.

Having promised myself that I wouldn’t go too fast and would stick to a pace of around 6:00/KM, I duly set off like a bat out of hell and averaged 5:36/KM over the first 7K. At that point I felt pretty good but had a good talk to myself, fully realising that I would run out of gas. Thankfully, I did ease up a bit and throughout a long 8 and a bit K loop, I was fairly consistent at around 5:55/Km. The final section of the race of the race was really tough with very little in the way of flat sections – it was just one hill leading to another hill which took it’s toll on the old legs but I was nonetheless able to maintain a pace of round 5:55/Km right to the end which at that stage was a blessed relief.

The highlight of the race was undoubtedly the village of Leigh which I, and the full field of 1500 runners, passed through twice. It appeared that the entire population was out to offer encouragement as well as water, orange slices, high fives and jelly beans. On the second passing they even added an entire brass band to their number. Amazing.

The low point was that an air ambulance was needed to evacuate one runner who collapsed at around the 19K mark. I can’t find any word on his status on the moment but very much hope that he is OK. On the whole the ambulance crews and paramedics were very busy throughout the event which, I guess, was because it was genuinely hot from about 11am onwards.

One other minor annoyance (actually it is more than that for someone as anal about these things as I am) is that my bleeping Garmin failed to sync yesterday and I can’t find anyway to manually upload an activity from the watch (a 310XT) to GC – if anyone knows how, I would be grateful.

Overall, I loved the event, although, with 270-odd metres of elevation gain, it probably isn’t the wisest choice for a beginner, and I am really pleased with how I ran, even though my legs are really feeling it today.

There were lots of photographers en route so hopefully I might even to be able to get/share a shot or two where I don’t look like a complete spanner :)

Happy running all.

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86 Replies

  • wow Dunder! what a fantastic time for a hilly 13.1 miles!! really great pace! so glad you enjoyed it and hope you are resting up well today and rewarding yourself for all your hard work!!! :)

  • Thanks Ali.

    I am working from home today so am able to rest up nicely. It is just the thighs/quads that are achy although the middle toe on my right foot, inexplicably, feels like it has been hit with a hammer (it was fine yesterday and I haven't had that problem before).

  • Think hills make your thighs hurt! Mine were sore yesterday too but ok today! Could be you toes gripping hard, or a spot of sleep walking and stubbing your toe??!!😆😕

  • Hehe. I did wonder if I had an unfortunate unconscious trip to the fridge last night.

  • i reckon the food was calling!! did you wake up with cheesecake crumbs on your pillow??!! :X :)

  • Hmmmmmmm Cheeeeesecaaaaake.

  • Whoa at last , Oh Mr D , look at your tags ha ha ha , fantastic :-D

    Well , we have all being on pins since yesterday waiting for your report and here it is - Taa Daa !

    That is a brilliant time , I hope you are well chuffed wi' thisen ! Sounds like you had fantastic support along the way which really helps and puts a bit more tiger in your tank doesn't it ?

    I saw the report last night about the runner who collapsed, the poor man and his family :-( I read that he was recovering in hospital , so lets hope he is okay.It was hot here too yesterday, it is very tough running in those conditions and with hills too ! Well done !

    What a blow for you with the Garmin - Pah ! They certainly pick their moments to go on the blink don't they ? I am sure that Marky D or Adam will be able to help you if they see this .

    So Mr D, you did it , and youre still standing , well I imagine you will be sitting down a lot today :-)

    Absolutely fantastic , love the pic and the bling . Many Congratulations to you on a fantastic achievement . You can take your foot off the pedal now and just go out running and not have to worry about training and distance although I would suspect it wont be too long before youre planning your next one :-)

    Well done Mr D , youre a Superstar !!! :-D xxx

  • Thanks much Pops. x

    Recovery jog on Wednesday or Thursday and we'll take it from there. I am signed up for the Brighton Marathon in April but am having serious reservations about that.

    It might be wise to defer my (one and only) marathon for a year. I'll have a good think about it over the next few weeks and see whether another HM or two might be more apt.

  • Yes, I suppose it brings home to you how far a distance a Marathon actually is , plus the training must be really tough , if the HM training is anything to go by .

    Can I ask you something ? How much weight have you lost since you started C25k to this point.

    You don't have to reply if its too personal , I understand :-) xxx

  • I have lost about 6Kg (just under a stone) since March, Pops but I wasn't overweight to begin with.

    Prior to that, I had put on about 3 stones after getting over my cancer treatment.

    Right now I am 74Kg.

  • Thanks for replying :-)

    Looking very good there Mr D ! :-) xxx

  • Many congratulations, That is incredible time on a tough course!! A fab pace up those hills, truly I take my hat off to you. I did my hm yesterday but it was a very flat easy route. So truly well done!!

    Sounds like Leigh is great place, how lovely they came out and supported you all in force!! People are amazing!!

    I hope that runner is ok!! It is sad to hear news like this!!

    Nice bling there too!!

    Happy post hm!!

  • Thanks Vix.

    I signed up for this race in March under the impression that it was fast/flat only to learn later that it was, in fact, a bit lumpy.

    I had trained with the hills in mind but there is nowhere around here with quite the rolling/constant hills that the last 6K had yesterday but all in all, it wasn't too bad.

    Earlier in my training, I secretly hoped that a sub-2hr might be possible but I gave up on that thought after my first 18K training run when I found the uphill sections later on to be really difficult and decided that running to a 2:06-2:07 pace would be much more sensible.

  • Well done young man! Nice medal!

  • Thank you Dave.

  • Brass band, brass band! By eck! I bet that ge'ed you up no end

    Brilliant time there! I'm astounded! I bet he is well chuffed wi iz sen Pops!

    I know what you mean about setting off like a bat out of hell, it's like you can't help it, a piece of elastic is dragging you forward. Twang! I got stitch cos I did the same thing. Dafties! Don't do it next time!

    Look forward to seeing some photos! Your medal is truly beautiful. Have you got a medal hanger thingy yet? I've not but it's on my birthday wish list

    Rest up now for some days Dunder. Just do a short jog when you do run again. Eat healthily now, don't go mad and stuff your face with things you shouldn't. As if!

    Nice pins by the way! It was Pops what made me look! !

  • Oi Oi ! :-D xxx

  • Yeah it's strange missw, I didn't feel like I was running that fast at all in the early stages and was actually trying to slow myself down but every glance at the Garmin told me I was running at 5:30-5:40/Km pace.

    No stitch for me thankfully but I am sure I would have suffered greatly if I didn't put the sensible head on at around the 7K mark.

    It was Chinese takeaway last night, I am afraid but the very occasional indulgence is OK. right?

  • The info is in your Garmin so don't despair. There will be some way to extract it. Have you tried again today. Sometimes it's just a blip and the next time you try it, it might just work. Hope so

  • Yes Mr D, if you read Andy D's reply to Richards post about a problem he had with his today, it may help ? Hope so , Flippin' Garmins ! :-) xxx

  • wow, you are super cool! Respect!:D

  • Holy smokes Dunder - you're a rocket! Can't wait to browse your Garmin stats. Well done - you must be so proud of yourself.

  • Cheers RWD.

    It's really annoying but Garmin Connect doesn't allow you to enter KM splits when you manually add an activity. It's frustrating to have all of that lovely data on my watch and have no way to get it into GC.

  • fantastic time! well done that man!

  • Thanks Nick.

    I must admit to feeling slightly guilty about having goaded you into signing up for next year's Marathon when I am having severe doubts now about doing it myself!

  • haha, nothing like running a half marathon to make you truly respect the challenge of 26.2! I always like a challenge anyway ;)

  • Great stuff, Dunder! That really is a hell of a run for a first HM. I'm envious, because I know I'll have done well to get inside 2:20. Sounds like it was quite an experience, and I'm really feeling quite excited about next Sunday.

    I was starting to wonder where you were with reporting in - nothing on GC yesterday, but that's explained now. If you connect the watch up to a pc, you should be able to see it as a device with a filesystem on it, and you should be able to find the activity file and manually drag it into GC.

    I saw the news about the air ambulance. Bad stuff. I hope the guy recovers fully - sounds like he got prompt and good attention. Did it mar the race much?

  • Thanks Steve.

    I am a few years younger than you and a few pounds lighter too so there is no cause for any feeling of envy. I will struggle to ever get anywhere near Old Git's efforts in terms of time and he really is an Old Git!

    There is no file system for watches that connect by Ant+ so that option is out I am afraid but I am sure there must be a way to access the files even if it means doing a bit of coding myself!

    "Serious but stable" is the only info available about the gent who collapsed. It was a heart attack, sadly. I do hope he is OK.

    I understand that they had to close that section of the route and divert runners another way but I did speak to one or two runners who finished not long after me who had decided to take to the adjacent fields to get by the ambulances.

  • Are you calling me fat?

  • He he.

  • From the Tonbridge HM website:

    "The race management would like to confirm that the was a serious medical incident in Lower Hayesden Lane, initially dealt with by marshals who were situated nearby and by three passing runners. S.E.Medical had a mobile first aider there within 3 minutes, followed by one of their ambulances. Race Control the put a 999 call through the Ambulance Service. They attended very quickly and subsequently called in the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance. It was therefore necessary to close Lower Hayesden Lane for a while, which affected a number of runners. The casualty was stabilised at the scene and subsequently transferred to hospital in London.

    We apologise to those of you who were diverted. However, we are sure that you would understand that this was necessary to ensure the welfare of the casualty and the efficient operation of the emergency services.

    Our thoughts are with the casualty and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery. The latest news that we have is that he is out of the medically induced coma and responding normally. He remains in hospital undergoing further treatment but the prognosis is good."

  • Oh the poor man, how sad . Good news that he is responding well , lets hope he makes a full recovery xxx

  • Great stuff Dunder, you are a STAR! What a great time, you look very cool!

  • Thank you Sarah, much appreciated.

  • That's amazing Dunder. I've got new found respect for people who can run up hills as I've realised I'm very much an 'on the flat' runner. Your timings and general matter of fact attitude about such an incredible achievement leaves me very much in awe. Absolutely incredible. I bet the good people of Leigh had an excellent day out and are all in awe too :)

  • I used avoid hills like the plague, Ruth but once I found out this was a hilly course, I knew I had to prepare properly for it. It's the short and steep hills that seem to knock the stuffing out of me.

    I certainly don't mean to sound matter of fact, I am really happy about the race yesterday and my progress overall. It is probably the fact that I did 3 runs of 18K or more during training, two of which were fast-paced that left me feeling really confident going into the race.

  • It's definitely a position to aspire towards. I have tried doing more hills now, as I don't like the feeling of being so knocked out when I come across one. By matter of fact I meant confident, it sounds like it was your training that made you confident, but I know it hasn't been a straightforward journey in other ways too. Many congrats :)

  • Nice one Dunder, shame about the blummin Garmin :(

  • Cheers mate. Shame indeed about the Garmin.

    Not long now until your turn!

  • My goodness you have done incredibly well to do Couch to HM in such a short space of time. Bask in the glory of your achievement ! A great pace too.

  • Many thanks Henpen.

    It's hard to believe it has only been 7 months since W1R1 of c25k but at the same time, running this distance, as Wristy mentions above really hammers home that we really are still beginners and that a full marathon really is a looong way.

  • Well done - excellent time! All that training certainty paid off. What next????

  • Thanks.

    I am signed up for the Brighton Marathon in April Dags but I am thinking that it might be a bit too much too soon to proceed with that. If I do back out of that there is a (nice and flat) HM at Paddock Wood at around the same time.

    In the meantime, I haven't done Parkrun for the last 4 months and would like to think that I could take a little bit off my 5K PB!

  • Wow Dunder how fabulous is that? That's an astonishingly good time there for any HM never mind your first! It sounds as if you were really going for it. And your post captured what must have been a fab atmosphere. And that medal is one of the nicest I've seen. And that's a brilliant photo too. And..... And..... (Can you tell how excited I am?)

    Brilliant. So well done.

  • Many thanks your O'Highness.

    For a relatively small, provincial event, it really was a fabulous. Even on the farm tracks and back roads there were so many well wishers which really does spur you on.

    I do tend to "go for it", even in training but I am looking forward to few nice gentle efforts over the next few weeks.

  • Massive congratulations Mr Dunder! That's a brilliant time, and you're looking mighty fine! Not like you've just run all that way! HM's not for me, I don't think, anything that needs additional food take up and/or toilet break is too long I my book! But I absolutely admire all those that do it.

    Well done!


  • I'm with you there Madge !

  • Thanks Madge.

    Horses for courses, as they say.

  • Are you doing Cambourne again next year Madge? :)

  • Yes, will be planning to, hopefully we can meet up.


  • That's a cracking time, all the work has definitely paid off there!

  • Cheers Sparky.

  • You did amazing!!!!!!

    Has anyone else noticed your equally amazing "tags"?! Oh my goodness! :D :D :D

    Tee hee hee..

  • Hahaha :D :D The best tags I've seen for a very long time :D

  • Thank you Spiky.

    Just laying down a marker for DanZargo!

  • Yes , its the first thing I saw ha ha , snort :-D :-D xxx

  • Goodness!! Very well done. That's a massive amount of elevation and you really held on to a cracking pace throughout. Great photo and v. nice medal too.

    Really hope the runner who had to be airlifted out was ok. That sort of thing is scary. However, on a brighter note, YOU RAN A HM AND YOU DID BRILLIANTLY!!! 🎉💥🎈🎊💥

    Edit: I've just read your earlier comment about the collapsed runner. Good to know he's recovering well :)

  • Cheers AM.

    The last 6K were tough but overall the course didn't feel to bad. There was one long sustained incline that it felt like it went on forever but I have a few of those on my training routes.

  • a. well done..

    b BEST TAGS ever!!!

  • Cheers AAM. One does one's best!

  • Yay! Congratulations Dunder, what a fab photo and bling! Absolutely delighted for you and so glad all that training paid off! One more race ticked off the list - in a great time too. Rest up well - you deserve it!

  • Thank you Sandra. Certainly resting up for the next couple of days/

  • Well done. Hope you get the garmin sorted, my phone app has taken to losing the gps half way through runs recently and it is very irritating. After a HM would be truly infuriating.

  • Thanks AR.

    This is the first Garmin issue I have had (except the one time I allowed it to run out of battery) so it is a bit infuriating that it happens on a bit of a 'landmark' run. Ho Hum.

  • Fantastic job Mr D. You are a racing snake!!

    You've put in a supreme amount of training & effort & you sooooo deserve such a great result.

    Well done does'nt feel enough. How about a Woop wooop woooooooooop!!!!!!! Xx☺☺☺

  • Thanks Noaky.

    If I was a snake, at least I wouldn't have sore legs today. The training went really well (after a couple of early injury setbacks) and that was definitely the foundation for such a good run yesterday.

  • Well done!! Sounds like a fantastic time x

  • Fantastic! !!! Many congratulations on a job we ll done

  • Brilliant Dunder . After following your training on GC I'm delighted to see you've done so well :-) 🏃

    I had some Garmin problems the other week, hence a mass upload the other day! Hope you get that sorted.

    Hope you're well rested now :-) xx

  • Thank you Angela.

  • I don't do takeaways any more Dunder. I eat clean now. I mended my ways. I don't miss them any more thank goodness

  • Well done Dunder 🎉🏃 :)

  • Well done Dunder, brilliant run - I have always been amazed at your pace in your training - but this is something else!!! Hills are hard, but you'll learn to love them :)

    Brilliant tags ;) and you look great.

    You mus be feeling great, hope you're rested and ready for more! :) xx

  • I am not sure I will ever love hills, Paola (I swore at a few yesterday!) but at least I don't fear them and that's a start.

    Anyway these wouldn't even qualify as hills next to what you have outside your back garden.

  • Well done Mr D. Brilliant run!

  • Cheers OG.

  • Did you sleep well Mr D on the night after your race or were you still running it in your head ? :-) xxx

  • I slept VERY well Pops. x

  • Good x How are you feeling today ? :-) xxx

  • Not too bad at all actually. My toe still hurts like hell (no idea what's happened there) but the major muscles are all a lot better today, thanks.

    Recovery jog tomorrow evening, I think.

  • That is brilliant Dunder. I am in awe!

  • Superb run Dunder, great time (especially with the hills and that brief flash of Indian summer). Congratulations on your first half! Now what did I say about taking it easy for the first bit of the race, ha ha! Still, it did you no harm at all. That is a pain about the Garmin though, have you found a solution?

  • Thanks TT. I genuinely did try to take it easy early on but all's well that ends well, as they say.

    Next post down for the Garmin update :)

  • Just a little update. I managed to force my Garmin to give up it's secrets to Garmin Connect.


    or for Stravans

  • Only just read this wow dunder well done what an ispiration you are for me as ive signed up for a hm in January 😦 if i do half as well as you i will be should be very proud of yourself what an achievement brilliant time aswell ☺☺

  • Thank you Jules.

    Committing to and enjoying the training is more than half the battle. If you can do that then you can stand at that start line pretty much knowing that you will have a good run on race day.

    All the best. x

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