Yeovil Half Marathon 2011 (March 27th - First running of the event)

As photos are a tenner a time (and well worth it I'm sure, but I am simply not flush with cash right now) I went for a screenshot from a youtube vid - you can just about see me n the far right!

First half marathon for a while, and a good chance to see how my fitness was going. Yeovil is a new race, and the organisers have struck a pretty good balance, appealing to a broad spectrum of runners. Rasmivan and I were among a fair sized posse of club runners who started close to the front, and I was hoping to justify that optimism by running under 1.30 (having done 1.23 two years ago, but knowing this was a more hilly course and I was definitely not at full fitness).

After a noisy start (rock band, dance workout, town crier, local radio - that made my pre-race meditation a little tricky) we were soon on quiet roads around the town, benefitting from the early Sunday morning start. We looped around the edge of Yeovil before heading down the almost-deserted precinct & town centre - then came a nice section through a country park on some good quality paths by the river. It was cool and fresh, with numerous supporters waiting at each corner to snap pics of their family members in the race. I was knocking out 6.45 miles or thereabouts so just about on the pace - hills took it out of me and once or twice I dipped to seven minute pace. The mile markers seemed accurate enough but although I was looking out for them about half the markers were nowhere to be seen. In the hedge perhaps, or moved?

Anyhow, a number of hills of varying steepness came and went, the course became more and more scenic as it went on, with the final section along very quiet (if somewhat "undulating") lanes. I have special memories of Yeovil because my daughter was born here in 89, and much of what I saw was familiar - this really is a lovely area and the route took in some exquisite slices of Somerset countryside. Those last few miles were predictably tough, but I managed to cling on to my 1.30 target pace - just! I'm sure the last 0.1 of a mile is somewhat longer than advertised.

In fact, if I have a gripe with this race (and I rarely gripe) it's the fact that it's measured by GPS - that's not the correct way to measure and as all official races are measured by jones/oerth counter it's a shame this one can't also have proper measurement. I expect only a small minority of us are bothered, but I'll be much happier doing this race next year if they do the measurement properly, hassle though it may be.

I finished just under the 1.30, some 3 minutes or so behind Rasmivan, so I was more than satisfied with the run. I may be off my usual fitness levels, but I'm on an upward curve. Hope it continues.

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