On Mach 15th I journeyed down to Silverstone with my mates Tim and Jen. It was a couple of hours drive so we had to set off nice and early. We had to be the car park no later than 10.30am even though the race didn’t start until 12pm so we set off at 7.30am. (Free parking)
The directions from the website were easy to follow and the car park we arrived in was a 5-10 minute walk from the entrance of Silverstone. The race village was a further 20 minute walk from the entrance. It was a very cold and windy day. I’d come prepared in an extra jumper but it didn’t help keep the cold wind out. To kill some time I wandered around the race village having a look at the Adidas shop and the Silverstone souvenir shop. It didn’t take much time as there wasn’t much to look at. At 11.30 I had to discard my jumper and bag and begun to shiver uncontrollably. I was given a black bag which kept a little bit of the wind out. I filtered down onto the race track.
By 11.45 I decided there was no way I could race without emptying my bladder one last time. Timing!! So I fought my way through the crowds to a join a huge queue amid fears of not making the start time. The stewards made the toilets unisex to get the queues down quickly which worked and I ran to the start. Just as I squeezed through the huge melee cascading onto the starting area, the gun went off. Phewwwww.
I’d been marathon training so I knew I would get around the 13.1 miles. Getting around wasn’t going to be enough, I was going for a PB. My last half marathon, and my very first half marathon, had ended in disaster when I went out too fast and my legs had died after just a few miles. I ended up with a time of 2:16 which I was incredibly disappointed with.
So battling the cold and wind I headed through the start line looking up at the famous Silverstone lights with a smile. Anyone who loves F1 will love this track. I ran for my life and felt pretty good for the first 10K, actually managing to slightly beat my PB from the Winter Run on 1st February.
I lost all perspective of where I was on the track, as it twists and turns. I just kept looking at the stands, out on to the grassy areas and running down past the pits was amazing. I kept focusing on passing or racing people and watching all the amazing costumes there were. I chased a man dressed as a telephone box for about a mile and was pleased with myself when I passed him.
The cross winds were bitterly cold but I think this kept me going and I just wanted to finish. The water stations and Lucozade Sport stations were well organised and laid out evenly along the course. Even though I always carry my own bottles of drink and gels with me, I felt I needed an extra something towards the end so I grabbed an extra bottle at around mile 11.
The last mile was the hardest, it was coldest at it was the most open and it felt like it was uphill compared to the rest the track. I carried on as hard as I possibly could although I had slowed by now. I was incredibly happy to cross the finish line. Exhausted and happy to have a new PB. I was only really hoping for a sub 2 but delighted with a 1:54.
The timing ties on my trainers were cut off straight after the finish and just a bit further on was the goodie bag collection. I found the XS bag which had inside a plethora of goodies. An excellent t-shirt, a medal, chocolate, cereal, dried fruit, various drinks, and vitamins. Definitely the best goodie bag I’ve had at a race. Well worth the entry fee.
I made my way around to the race village and waited to meet up with friends to get changed into some warm clothes. I’ve never been more pleased to come prepared with warm kit post-race. I then went to buy a cup of tea and some stodgy food. There weren’t many choices of places to eat. If you want to eat I’d suggest bringing your own, although the tea and coffee weren’t too bad but as you would expect rather overpriced.
I would definitely consider running the race again as it is great value for money, a lovely flat and fast course, the goodies you get are great and the F1 element is just awesome. The only downsides are how open to the elements it is, it really was bitterly cold and windy and if you don’t have a car it’s not easily accessible.