First (and possibly last) HM Race Report - Marathon Running ...

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First (and possibly last) HM Race Report

Langley-LoperHalf Marathon

I read pinkaardvark's post over on the Bridge to 10k forum with amusement and awe last week where his HM was described as "An unexpected and unplanned HM...". Mine was planned and scheduled to within an inch of its life! Here is a write up of my first HM experience. Sorry if it's a bit rambling.

After a little deliberation about three months ago I agreed to enter the first Saxon Shore Herne Bay to Whitstable HM. The positive comments on this forum and my friend chipping away at me did the trick. I think I wanted to see if I could do it.

I love a good plan and lots of structure so went for a My Asics plan, three runs per week. This really suited me and my lifestyle, doing the generally shorter runs during the week after work and the longer run at the weekend. As those who follow me on Strava will know, I diligently followed the plan, crossing the runs off on my printed plan stuck to the front of the fridge. How did we manage our lives before fridge magnets and post-its? I digress.

When I got mid-way through the plan, my old enemy the unexpected emergency toilet stop reared its head. It seemed I was not alone and after receiving advice on here, resorted to loperamide (Imodium) before long runs and routes that looped back near my house. Mr L-L was generally unsupportive at this point and I felt a bit low but pressed on regardless. I couldn't let my friend down.

Then a change in support after Mr L-L cycled with me on my two longest (11 mile) runs. At 5 miles he asked, "Aren't you knackered yet?" Of course I was but I was also nearly half way! Afterwards he even told the kids he was impressed (didn't tell me of course, it just came out later in conversation).

All of a sudden it was the week leading up to race day. A 5k for the speed challenge was a stormer (I know I was meant to be tapering) but a slower 5k two days before the race was awful. I had to stop for a poo behind a tree.

Race day dawned grey and drizzly - perfect. Bag was packed the night before. Checklist was crossed off. We all set off in the car to Herne Bay. Arrived at my friend's house. Toilet visit. Took Imodium. She looked nervous but excited. Five minute walk to the race start. Numbers collected. Timing chip attached. Bags dropped. Hat on. Another toilet visit. Everything according to plan. And we were off!

I knew my friend hadn't prepared as thoroughly as me but she did have the benefit of a HM under her belt last year and does Boot Camp four days a week. We set off aiming for 10 minute miles which I knew was a little bit of a challenge for her but she was up for it. After about 4 miles I could tell the pace was a struggle and we slowed to about 11 minutes/miles. Between 5 and 6 miles disaster struck when her hips started playing up. We walked for a bit, ran for a bit. She told me to go on without her. I said no. We stopped and she did some stretches. We ran for a bit. We walked for a bit. She told me again to go on without her as she could see I had "so much wind in my sails". This was the worst part of the race for me. I didn't want to leave her, she wanted me to go. I dithered. My only bit of dithering in the last 12 weeks! I agreed to go. I gave her a big hug and a kiss and set off in pursuit of "Sweaty T-Shirt Man" who we had been chasing for the last 3 miles or so.

The rest is a bit of a blur. I overtook Sweaty T-Shirt Man, Bouncy Pony Tail Girl and Crazy Legs Crane. I fixed my sights on the next runner and gradually hauled them in. My limited hill work paid off as that is where I did most overtaking. All the time I was thinking about my friend and hoping she was OK. I nearly turned round so many times.

Then I was at the 10 mile marker. Only 3.1 miles to go. Ate my first jelly baby which I immediately regretted as it dried my mouth out. Swigged some water. Pushed on through the crowds on Herne Bay sea front with push chairs, dogs, scooters, bikes...couldn't they see there were runners coming through?! Youth Playing Music Out Loud overtook me. I tried slipstreaming him but he gradually got away. Then I spotted two friends on a park bench taking photos. A lovely lift! I inched back towards Youth Playing Music Out Loud. Then I saw my friend's family. Another lift! Shouted something about having to leave her. Then there was my family. Another lift! Asked son to run the last 200m with me - no chance (not cool when you are 15). Couldn't quite catch aforementioned Youth Playing Music Out Loud and over the line I went.

The man removing timing chips pounced on me, I grabbed my medal and a bottle of water and did a U-turn back to my band of supporters. Friend's husband was tracking her phone - she was nearly at the clock tower. I thought my legs were finished but off I set back down the route with her two kids. Stopped briefly to explain what was going on to photographer friend. There she was! Looking exhausted but still running. The three of us ran all the way to the finish with her - over the line she went.

This time I really was finished. Give me water and shade. And of course an ice cream.

Finish position: 294/596

Chip Time: 2:12:27

In summary: Not entirely run to plan but not a bad job for a 49-year old who started running less than a year ago.

The future: Probably not another HM as the preparation was so time consuming. However, Sweatshop Maidstone have a sale on at the moment, and I need some new running shoes...who knows where they will take me.

And finally: Enormous thanks to all those on this forum and Strava who have given me more encouragement, support and advice than I could ever have imagined from a bunch of virtual friends.

Lots of love from Langley-Loper xxx

33 Replies

Wow, what a great report! Lovely to see you, too :) Massive congratulations, that's a fabulous time - I don't believe you won't do another one though :D

pinkaardvarkHalf Marathon

What a great race report and such a well deserved medal and experience. I love your descriptions of the other racers you reeled in hehe :) Sure it may have sounded like I accidentally did a HM, but like everyone here I have been out running putting miles on the legs week after week, month after month so it just became my time to do it and that's just the pink way. But I did it by watching people like you on strava and on here and being proud and jealous of your efforts. I was running 15k back in April so did fall off the wagon a bit and just felt in the mood to tick it off.

I really hope you do another one and you let yourself appreciate how amazing you are.


Langley-LoperHalf Marathon in reply to pinkaardvark

I wish I could harness some of your spontaneity! I've seen all your miles and your HM was great considering you were finding your way as you went. I had it easy with nearly 300 people to follow. All shapes and sizes too - I only wrote my polite nicknames for some of them in my report!!

pinkaardvarkHalf Marathon

Don't forget to get your badge :)

roseabiAdministrator in reply to pinkaardvark

Good point!

Badge assigned :)


Congratulations and wonderfully engaging write up :)

SaskAlliecatHalf Marathon

A great descriptive race report, I felt I was there with you! You've come so far in a really short period of time. Huge congrats on your achievement, especially given the bowel struggles you have. I don't know if I would have had the mental fortitude to continue on with my training the first time I had to hide behind a tree 😳

Langley-LoperHalf Marathon in reply to SaskAlliecat

I have become something of a tree hugger unfortunately...

SqkrHalf Marathon

Your friend must have been so delighted to see you, I bet none of my friends would come back for me..! You well and truly deserved that ice cream and medal!

WhatsappHalf Marathon

Well done, lovely report. I am sure you will find yourself competing in another HM once the dust settles.


What a great result and a lovely report. Congratulations!

Congratulations on running a super HM L-L, Pinkaardvark is right you are amazing!🌟

The weather was kind and you put in a fab time. I'm sorry your friend had problems, and pleased to hear she still finished with you by her side..🏃♀🏃♀

Loved reading your run report, and hope Mr L-L is very proud of you and treats you to your new running shoes...

Ice cream🍦Well deserved.

Lovely Bling and photos

HM badge shining brightly👏👏👏👏👏😊xxx


Fantastic... a great report, a super fast time and an amazing journey, well done you :)


Wow Anne, what a fantastic hm! You trained hard, worked hard and produced a brilliant result! There was never any doubt that you would do it, amazing! Have yourself a rest and then enjoy some gentle runs in your new trainers with the happy glow of a half marathoner. We will both embark on another I am sure 😉


Top job, congratulations! I fully agree with you, enough of this HM business, never again, nobody wants it!

What better time to start training for full marathon now, eh? ;)

Langley-LoperHalf Marathon in reply to mrrun

I'm afraid a full marathon is not for me. I will not be persuaded. Not enough time in the week to prepare!

mrrunUltramarathon in reply to Langley-Loper

I know exactly what you're saying. I set my eyes on the big one but the sheer amount of preps (correct and careful preparations) vs Life & Schedule, could be an awkward obstacle. I don't do shortcuts or skip anything so that might be delayed for now. We'll see how it goes.

ancientrunnerHalf Marathon

Well done - sounds like a great day out.

Brilliant report and result. Well done.

Congratulations! Such an achievement, hope you're proud of yourself 😀

aliboo70Half Marathon

Fantastic job there and loved your report xxx fast time too congratulations! !😊🏃🏃🏃✔

I'm in awe! Huge congratulations on such an achievement, L-L - you deserve to be super-proud of yourself. We were doing C25K only a while ago and already you're sporting shiny HM bling! (I get bouts of ulcerative colitis from time to time, so I know the emergency loo stop all too well.) I've been dithering whether to enter the Brighton HM next year and your brilliant and inspirational post has made up my mind to give it a try ... Lots of love, P-P

Langley-LoperHalf Marathon in reply to PashleyPedaller

Go for it! Or you could do the Saxon Shore HM next year of course.

I feel for you with your UC. I was diagnosed with Crohns but a course of steroids and diet modifications have sorted me out, most of the time. I think it is a contributory factor to my inability to control my bowels. I will not let it defeat me! Just need to plan routes carefully and be prepared at all times.


What a great read that was. Congratulations and well done!

Lavender1962Half Marathon

Congratulations! Great run report and pictures! It sounds like your hard work really paid off. 🎉😊

What a lovely race report! You proved to everyone, including yourself, that you can do it... And shown Mr L-L you mean business. It must have been a good moment to know how impressed he was. 😄👏 It's been great to follow your journey through the race, the training and the way you support other runners. Just brilliant... Huge well done!! 😀

Langley-LoperHalf Marathon in reply to Sandyscroll

Mr L-L's support meant more to me than anything else to be honest. Now he wants me to stop or at least scale back the running and start cycling with him to motivate him to get off his backside and do some regular exercise. I have already discovered a couch to 50km cycling plan...please please please can I print it out and tick off the rides?

You do it! How brilliant that you've motivated Mr L-L! You've motivated so many people. Be very proud. 😎

Sandraj39Half Marathon

Great race report and time - well done! I agree, the training is a commitment but a year after my first, I am now thinking it is maybe time to dig deep again! Hope you are recovering well.

🍾🥂🎉 Congratulations 🥂🎉🏃‍♀️Thank you for taking us with you. Lovely report. I’m sure you’ll fancy another one once the aches from this one have subsided ❤️🏃‍♀️

Congratulations! I loved reading your race report, and all the nicknames for the other runners!

Preparation is key, and following a plan is such a good idea. Your finish time is fab, and who knows- next time you could be even faster?

And well done on motivating Mr L-L, I wish I could say the same about Mr Eatcake!

Amazing. Loved reading your post. You know you are getting a tad emotional about running and a tad addicted when you shed tears reading a post about running. The tears flowed when I read that you went back for your friend with her kids . 😍

I’m 48 , overweight , started C25k in Jan and have just started to manage 10k but I am seriously thinking of doing a half marathon next year. This has spurred me on even more.

Well done you . Awesome x


Thanks! Great race report and debut time - well done! I know you don't want to even hear the word running after a HM, but if I know anything about running and races, I will give you a few months of recovering and forgetting and you'll be back...

I have read somewhere that to run a marathon (read Half ) you need to forget the previous :) probably true..

Enjoy the rest and the recovery, talk in a few weeks/month


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