31st July 2016: 1:30:43
My journey to Cookstown half marathon started at 3:30am, the time I had to get up to get ready and leave for the airport. I had to get two children and one wife ready, get to the airport, fight through security (with the standard argument when they took everything off me even though it’s for my baby)… Fast forward to 11am, and I finally arrived to pick up my bib ready for a midday start.
This is the fourth time I’ve ran this event, so I knew what to expect. They have returned the course to the route used for the fire and police games a few years ago. A relatively low key start, but with 700 starters this is a big improvement on the 300 last year. I started the familiar route steady, I know I don’t have speed in my legs at the moment, but the distance is comfortable, so I started with a sub 1:30 pace with the intent of keeping it around this time.
The course was even hillier than I remembered, certainly not a pb course, but apart from a a couple of very steep sections I kept my pace steady. I was surprised at the lack of crowd support which was not as good as previous years, but this is a friendly challenging event that I would recommend.
The highlight for me is always running past the most important crowd support, my family! My 3 year old was around mile 9 giving out high 5’s… And I’m so glad this was captured!!
I slowed down towards the end, and the 1:30 pacer rushed past with a few hundred metres to go. This was a different guy than started as the pacer, and he was going much faster than 6:52 pace. I was happy to come in at 1:30:40, I took it very steady choosing to finish fresh rather than go all out for the sake of a few seconds. The race director has went all out this year in terms of medals… This year was big and shiny, with a race t-shirt to match.