Big Half 2021

On 22nd August 2021 I took part in the Big Half Marathon. I have taken part in the Big Half every year, but this is the first time I have not been a pacer. There were no pacers this year, and the race had a fair few differences because of covid measures in place, but it was still a fantastic race. Having ran a marathon yesterday (take a look at my blog HERE), my body was pretty tired today. I did not have any huge target times today, just to get around and use this as a solid training run on tired legs, and it certainly was a great training run.

Big Half #flatlay

I laid out my kit as I usually do the night before. I decided to use my Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 to see if they are a contender for my sub 3 marathon attempt at London Marathon. These trainers were gifted to me by Adidas and you can purchase them on their website HERE. When I ordered mine I found it difficult because they never had my size in stock, but I refreshed regularly and my size appeared.

Big Half start

On race morning I got up early, for an early start. London Marathon Events had changed their starting arrangements this year. I think the logic was to spread out our arrival time and minimise numbers. The theory is good, and would have been a consideration in their risk assessments for covid control, however the reality of an event this size is you will have clusters of people anyway. They did not have pacers which I assume is to stop crowding, but I don’t really think they would have made much difference in reality.

The toilet arrangements at the Big Half are always good, and they were this year. The bag drop wasn’t as good as usual. We all arrive at set times to drop our bag, but on the North side we joined a single queue and there was no control between waves. There was also no control at the start. Usually there are big signs to say where to go, but this year there were not. I believe it is because of the logic that we would arrive and make our own way there, removing the need for the organisers to control starts and put us in pens. What it meant in reality is that there wasn’t really a proper waved start, and we could all start wherever and whenever we wanted. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this approach, and I’ve seen it work well before. It does mean there will have been some faster runners arrive on their allocated time and not be able to get near the front.

The start was quick, and there was no messing about. It was great to get going surrounded by hundreds and thousands of other runners. It took me about a mile to get into my stride because I was surrounded by runners running a slower pace than me, and I couldn’t really get around them. This didn’t bother me personally, and if I was going for a PB I would have been able to get through if needed.

The Limehouse tunnel arrives a little after mile 1. And as usual, the mile 2 sign was in the wrong place. I hit mile 1 at about 7:00, and mile 2 at 12:00. There is no way I did a 5 min mile. Mile 3 was back on target and I crossed just after 21 mins. At this point GPS is poor and from about mile 1 to mile 4 it cannot be relied upon. This, alongside Chicago Marathon, is the worst race for GPS issues, but it gets better from about mile 5.

Boy did I feel the tiredness in my legs. I started off thinking I would run somewhere between 1:30 and 1:35… most likely closer to 1:35. However my legs were so tired, feeling the effects of yesterdays marathon. So I decided to just ease off slightly, still trying to stay under 1:40.

I found my trainers to be great, they were super light and springy. I had been worried about the handling after a brief practice run in them, as they do not feel stable around sharp corners. In Race conditions I did not have any problems, however I was cautious not to take the corners sharply. I also did not like the cobbles. I am not sure if this was the trainers or just the cobbles. They certainly are a contender for my marathon. I have decided not to wear them much in training as they don’t look built to last, however after the half marathon there are no signs of wear which is promising. It would be good to race in them again on fresh legs to really put them to the test.

Happy finish

I finished strong pushing to make sure I came under 1:40. Not my best race, but it was never going to be. I am pleased to have been there to take part in a fantastic race. The finish and medal has changed. No more characters as medals, this time a clear message #werunasone. It was a shame for there to be no real event Village at the end, but I completely understand. The priority for now is to prove concept, that large events can be put on safely, and the rest will follow

Finish medal 🏅

What’s next? For my London Duathlon, how about you?

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