The adidas Silverstone Half Marathon was my first half event in 2015, and my first time running this course. It was also my first non-morning race, beginning at 12pm. So a lot of first occurrences here! I woke up just before 7am, had a light breakfast consisting of a jam-infused porridge, fresh berry smoothie and a banana. Leaving home at around 8:30am for a race also made for a new change, leaving me with plenty of time to be driven up to the Silverstone race circuit in Towcester.
I arrived at the venue just before 10:30am, leaving me plenty of time for pre-race preparations such as a toilet visit, changing into race kit, etc. It was a very (unexpected) cold day for March, and a little disappointing after the slightly sunny/warm weather last weekend. None-the-less, I still decided to race in my running vest. This was also my first race in the adidas Ultra Boosts, which proved their worth (more on that later). With plenty of urinals and a changing room amongst other facilities, the race village was professionally organised.
By 11:45 I was in the start-pen, warming up for the 13.1 miles ahead. The start area was wide, with plenty of room to jog up and down, and engage in pre-race stretches and strides. I decided to line up nearer to the front, in an attempt to see if I could best my half marathon PB of 1:23:39 from Oxford last October.
The race began promptly at 12-noon, and what a speedy start it was! I probably went off much harder than I had expected to. My first km was done in 3:32, the second in 3:42, the third in 3:46 (see the pattern yet!?), before finally dropping to ~4-minute kms thereafter. I am now reflecting on the race start, thinking that although I seemed full of energy at the start with 3:30/km seeming like a comfortable pace, it was not one I could sustain throughout the race.
Some stretches of the course were faster, some slower. The course as a whole was mildly undulating, but nothing too sinister. What did have an adverse effect, however, were the windy conditions. This was a particular concern during the 2nd half of the race. I recall a specific segment just before the 10 mile mark, going up a slight incline with the wind blowing in my direction. One thing that did make my run more comfortable was good footwear; the adidas Ultra Boosts provided me with a comfortable a smooth run throughout, with no tension in my legs, despite having some tightness behind my right knee and right glute.
None-the-less, I battled and powered through, managing to cross the finish line in 1:24:50, 105th position. I was expecting to be a little disappointed with no new PB, but after experiencing the cold and windy conditions, I am actually quite pleased with this result. Given the right day and conditions, I feel that a new PB is definitely achievable (although I am beginning to think that a sub-1:20 HM will take considerably more training!). It was also nice to stop at services along the M1 on the way home and indulge in a rare, but well deserved post-race treat of Kirspy Creme donuts!
Will I be back next year for this event? Highly possible, although I may decide to try the Vitality North London Half Marathon for 2016. The Silverstone half and newly launched North London half clashed this year. As I had already signed up and paid for Silverstone last year, this was my first choice. The excitement of running a unique course also got the better of me! All-in-all, a good event with a lively atmosphere and PB potential course, given the right conditions.