Watford Half Marathon 2023

On 5th February 2023 I was pleased to return to Watford to take part in the Watford Half Marathon for the 4th time. It was in 2020 when I last ran Watford Half (check out review here), just before the world was thrown into chaos with covid, back when things seemed so simple. Returning to Pace Watford Half Marathon for the 4th time brings a sense of normality. This is the 99th Official event I have been a pacer for, the 48th Half Marathon I have paced, and the 31st time on the xempo pace team which ive enjoyed being on over the last 11 years.

Harvester Ultimate Combo

I fuelled last night with a lovely family meal at harvester, so definitely had plenty of fuel to take on the undulating course. In the morning I met with Simon, who was pacing for the very first time. You would never have known as he did a fantastic job from start to finish.

Sub 2 funbus

It was a cold start to the morning, but pretty perfect race conditions. Watford Half Marathon starts later than usual with a 10:30 start. I made my way to the race Village for around 09:15 so I had plenty of time to get ready. It was nice catching up with some familiar faces, and after a race briefing for the pacers Simon and I made our way to the start.

Ready for watford half

We had a big group with us and it was great to talk with everyone, including lots of first timers. That’s the great thing about running, it doesn’t matter how long you have been doing it, you mix with such a mix of people with differing experiences to take on the same challenge.

I started off with some encouragement at the start and we started on time with a steady first mile coming in on time. I’m glad to see the course has changed to have one mass start. I didn’t like the split start so much, especially the year they split by gender. This year it was one big start organised by self seeding, led by the pacers. It was a little slow for the first half a mile but after that there was plenty of room.

It isn’t the easiest of courses and as an undulating course it has plenty of ups and downs. I tried to ease up the hill and make up on the down hill to keep runners with us. This worked well until around mile 9 when we noticeably lost runners up the hills, but also many pushed forward.

The course was really well managed with marshals throughout, and 3 water stations. At mile 10 we really had to push to get people to stay with us, and at mile 11 I had to tell everyone to pick up the pace as we were on pace with just a 10 second cushion.

I love it when you can see the finish and from mile 12 we were back in the park and could see what was left to go. Lots of our remaining pack went ahead whilst Simon ans I encouraged the remaining runners to get ahead of us. There were a few who were quite far back but they managed to catch up with us.

Sub 2 at watford half

Really happy to come through the finish line with an unofficial finish time of 1:59:54. I felt fresh and that was a solid training run for me.

Finish line feels

The crowds make the finish line, but what makes my race is all those runners who achieve their times with us. I had over a dozen runners come and find me after the race to thank me and tell me about their time. This included a first time half marathon runner who achieved a sub 2 and another runner who hit a 6 minute PB.

Job done

Great start to 2023. Let’s rewrite 2020, with Tokyo Marathon still to happen and lots of challenges ahead. I am running London Marathon for Cancer Research once again, as a charity which is close to my heart. In order to try and raise money I am aiming to run 26 marathons in 52 weeks, which is an average of 1 Marathon every 2 weeks for a whole year. If you are able to help, please visit my page. Thank you 😊

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s