One of the key pointers in December’s Marathon Blog was to book yourself at least one other race in the months building up to the big day. February & March throw up some excellent road races around the UK.
A half marathon is a great marker to test your fitness, It can give you a secondary, more manageable goal to aim and is good preparation in terms of tapering the week before. It is also a useful tool for understanding how you manage your time & body on race day as well as learning how to recover afterwards.
You might decide to run this slightly quicker speed perhaps than your marathon pace, but either way it should give you a huge mental boost ahead of your goal of 26.2.
Below are a few suggestions of fairly flat, road based half marathons in 2019. I have it on good authority these are good events. And if anyone is struggling on ideas of what to get you for Christmas, perhaps it would make a great gift? (You could also even throw one of your mates under the bus and sign them up for Christmas as well)
The Grand Brighton Half Marathon
Where: Brighton, Sussex
When: Sunday 24th February, 9:30am
Course: Flat, Fast,
Notes: A personal favourite of mine. It’s a flat route that takes you around some of the best sites in Brighton including both piers, the pavilion & the famous hove beach huts. Crowds are always good and you can’t go wrong with a celebratory fish & chips afterwards. As the majority of the course is on the seafront, you are praying for no winds. But it’s a well organised event by Sussex Beacon, a local charity. A good chance to get a PB, but less so than previous years (they have even rectified the catastrophic mistake that left the course 124m too short!) Well worth signing up for!
The Sage Reading Half Marathon
Where: Reading, Berkshire
When: Sunday 17th March, 9:00am
Course: Fairly quick, Finish line in Madejski Stadium
Notes: I technically missed out on this last year’s Reading Half as ‘The beast from the east’ descended on the Berkshire town. They cancelled it the morning of the event with heavy snow falling overnight causing mass disruption & probably heavy financial losses. My friend Stu & I hosted an ‘Not the Reading Half’ that same morning and we got a hundred or so people to come run the course safety in the snow. The course is excellent, pretty flat too. But it was the people that won me over, coming out in the terrible weather to cheer us on and hand out sweets. I’d love to give this race a proper bash as the atmosphere will be fantastic on a good day. You even cross the finish line inside Reading FC’s stadium which was really cool (we did break in to cross the line, shhh. )
The Quicksilver Hampton Court Half Marathon
Where: Griggs Hill, Surrey
When: Sunday 17th February
Course: Flat, along the river
Notes: If you’re looking to celebrate completing your half marathon by showing off your medal wearing a crown and sitting upon a golden throne, then this is the race for you! Starting in Thames Ditton it runs along both sides of the tow path of the river Thames, passing the grounds of Hampton Court Palace. Well organised, scenic and with good crowds as you run through Kingston. It can get a little congested at the start if you’re knocking around the 2 hour pace as there is a small element on footpaths, but probably no worse than running a popular event (good practice for overtaking others!) Also there are some superb pubs in the area for a post-run pint & Roast Dinner.
Worthing Half Marathon
Where: Worthing, West Sussex
When: Sunday 10th February
Course: Rapid, Flat, Scenic
Notes: This is another race I’m looking forward to doing. It’s quick, gaining a reputation for one of the fastest half marathons in the south. This is proven by the calibre of athletes turning up at the sharp end. (Paul Martelleti bringing it home in under 70minutes last year) But regardless of your speed, the coastal route is popular with crowds as the course is condensed and set in amongst the centre of the town, so plenty of places for your friends to support and cheer you on. There is also the option to do a 10km on the same day, so bring a friend along with you.
Leeds Liverpool Canal Canter
Where: Kirkstall, Leeds
There are tons of great half marathons to consider though, I haven’t even mentioned Big Half, Eastbourne Half, Bath Half, or Leicestershire Half. if you want to find a good way of searching out events, check out (https://findarace.com/half-marathons) If you have any good additions, extra notes or a particular favourite, let me know – either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or on social (@pewtsrun) Ciao!