Baldock Beast Half Marathon Race Report

Well hello there, it’s been a while!

The Baldock Beast, my first race of the year, (well, apart from a couple of 5k races around Norton Common that I haven’t bothered writing race reports for.)

No photo of my breakfast – a thousand apologies, I will endeavor to rectify this oversight next time out.

I entered this race back in December, as part of my Brighton marathon training, and almost immediately regretted it.  “The Beast”.  I wonder why it’s called that?  Oh, it’s because it’s a big hilly bugger! Great!

Training’s been going pretty well though.  I’ve been putting in the miles.  In fact, January 2014 has been a record mileage month, just under 130 miles, and I’ve been logging some decent length runs too, so was confident of the distance, but not impressed with the look of the hills either.  The weather had been pretty dodgy recently t00 – flooding in places, and very high winds, so I’d been closely watching the weather.  The forecast for today was cool – creeping up to 4c by the 10am start time, and winds of about 10mph, so not too bad.  There’s always the “What to wear?” conundrum.  I opted for tights, compression top, t-shirt, jacket, and hat and gloves, as I do feel the cold, especially if it’s a bit windy.

My good friend and training partner, Tom, picked me up at 9:15.  It’s only a few miles to Baldock to the start of the race.  When we got to Baldock, Tom said “So, have you got the race numbers?” as I picked them up yesterday.  “Oh f*&k!  I’ve left them at home”.  Oops.  Big oops!  Tom hammered it back to my house, and I jumped out to grab the race packs, and it was pedal to the metal back to Baldock.  We parked up, and had half a mile or so to march to the start point.  By the time we got there, we had just enough time to queue for the porataloos, and get to the start line.

The race started at 10am sharp, and we were off.  The first couple of hundred metres were actually downhill, but that soon changed!

Up we went, up a bit more, and up again.  Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t ALL up hill.  But the first half definitely felt it!  There was an odd bit of respite now and again from the climb, and thankfully the uphill was offset a bit by a bit of a tail wind.

The first mile passed in 9:17, and the second in 9:15, which would turn out to be the fastest  – hardly surprising really – the first miles are often the quickest in a race.

Being a bright sunny day, it was obvious that I was overdressed, and it felt much warmer than it was forecast.  I had peeled off the hat and gloves pretty early on, and before long the jacket was around my waist, as I was overheating, and my heart rate was starting to creep up a bit quickly.

I was really struggling on the hills.  If it wasn’t for Tom, I’d have been walking very early on, but Tom kept me going, almost dragging me up the hills.

We climbed 500ft in the first 10k.  Despite this, I was really pleased to complete the first 10k in just under an hour. At around the 10k mark, we went off road for a bit – a nice bit of mud and cold puddles to slip and slide in.

We looped back, and started to head back towards Baldock, and it became very apparent that we’d been enjoying a tailwind!  The headwind was cutting, and quite cold.  Thankfully the second half of the race was as much downhill as the first half was uphill.

It felt like we were flying downhill, so much easier and faster than the slog uphill, despite the wind.

We passed the 10 mile marker in 1:35, so needed to run a 25 minute 5k at the end to sneak under the 2 hour mark.  No chance of that!

We did manage to hold our pace though, and get to the end in 2:05:03.

I’m pretty pleased with that.  By far and away my hardest ever half marathon, and tenth in total.  And my second quickest.

Here’s a photo of the finishing line

Finishing line

Finishing line

And here’s my running buddy Tom, enjoying a well earned (free) sickly syrupy drink:



It’s all about the data:

As I’m marathon training, I was a few miles short of my mileage goal for the day, so I decided to run home.  Probably not the best plan to run home after a race really, but I wanted to get at least 17 miles in, as I’m away next weekend.

I did run the 3.9 miles home Baldock still wearing my race number and medal:

Finally home

Finally home