Little Runner Gal

Running, eating, sleeping and all the bits in between

Race Review: The Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon

on March 24, 2015

I’ve taken part in a number of different half marathons now, but this was my first time at The Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon. When planning my race diary this year I was totally gutted at the date clash with this and Reading Half Marathon, as Reading was my first race and I always try to go back for it. But I’d heard great things about Fleet and I had friends and family taking part, so decided thought I’d give it a go.

The race is in its 34th year, making it one of the longest running half marathons in the country, the course it pretty flat and closed or semi-closed road, and has around 2500 runners. It’s run by Fleet & Crookham Athletic Club, one of the big local ones, so it’s by the runners, for the runners.

A massive plus point was that the race started at 10:30am. Now, I understand why these closed road races start so early, but for us runners an 8:30am start gun means another 6:something alarm and there goes the weekend.

Anyway, before the blissful 10:30am starting stampede, there’s the parking and event village. The town centre parking was great. Easy and well communicated. I know the town well, so that helps, but the maps etc. were good if you didn’t. The event village was busy by the time I arrived, but I managed to navigate to the well ‘manned’ bag drop easily and back out to the start area, which had the various ‘corral’ finish times displayed. No pacers at this event but I wanted to take it by feel anyway, what with 2 marathons coming up!

Fleet

Wishing friends a good race, we headed off at various paces. The support on the route is great and the double lap of the town over the first 5 miles was great, as I got to see my family and friends twice before we headed out of the town, where the support became a little less.

FHM Route

I caught up with a few friends at various points and had a nice chat. I tried not to focus on my Garmin and just run to feel. 3 weeks out from Brighton and burnt before with a pre mara half that almost cost me my marathon, I wanted to be cautious. Obviously in my head I had various targets. I was averaging a good pace, but just wanted it to feel OK. 5 miles soon became 8 miles, I didn’t even notice them passing, it was great.

The closed roads were well ‘manned’ and the water stations were superb. There were very few supporters between 6 and 9, so the guys and girls at the aid stations were the main source of cheering.

At mile 10 I saw some more supporting family, which helped spur me on. 11, and a glance down at the watch. As with every race, the elongated mental arithmetic (maths whilst running suddenly becomes 100 times harder than drinking out of that paper cup I’ve just picked up at the aid station!) and I eventually manage to work out that if I can keep the pace up for 2 more miles (the .1 mile would just run itself right?!) I would just scrape in under the ‘in my head Plan A’ time.

11 became 12 and it was uphill for the final mile, but I’d bought myself some time on the last mile. And, it turns out, some gumption, from somewhere! Mile 12-13 was my fastest of the race, I really wanted that Plan A time after all (of course!). Into the finish area I whacked out that sprint finish and flew passed a huge number of others, heard my mum cheering, and over the finish line….1:44:29 on the Garmin, 31 seconds under Plan A and a whopping 9 minutes 24 seconds off my PB. I took another 20 minutes to get out of the finishing funnel, I stopped to speak to so many people. I was overjoyed. I still felt so strong. Exactly how I wanted to finish.

Fleet1

You know how you’re always a bit worried until the official time comes through, in case your Garmin has been in some sort of time warp or something nuts, well it wasn’t long before the text pinged through…

FHM Time

How efficient!

Now it obviously helped that I had a good run, and the weather was damn near perfect, but I’m glad in every single way that I picked Fleet Half Marathon to run as my pre-London warm up race.

They’ve clearly had 34 years practice, and have perfected the art of staging a seamless race. Every single volunteer was fantastic, the route was ideal, the support was spot on and the medal is great. My performance was an added bonus.

Sunday 20th March is the race day for 2016, so get it in your diary now. I’ll be there!

LRG x

NB: I decided to enter this race and paid full price for my entry. I have no links to the event organisers or sponsors, and have not been asked to write this review. 

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2 responses to “Race Review: The Brooks Fleet Pre-London Half Marathon

  1. Well done, a fantastic time!

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