Of the 4 Chasers + 1 friend that signed up for the Berlin Half Marathon, 4 of us made it out there (Aaron was lost in transit unfortunately, i.e. he missed his flight) and of those that made it to the start line all of us smashed our targets. Training for a race with others from our club, supporting each other, and celebrating each others’ success has been a fantastic experience.
Tim, our first Chaser home, reports back on the his training, his race, and his amazing 1:18:44 result.
Hey there superhero, how does it feel to have run your target time?
I’m really happy with hitting my target time and at how the run felt in general. I think everyone will agree that the conditions and course really helped when it came to chasing fast times, so once I found another runner to help keep my pace stready it felt nice and relaxed.
It was great motivation to have other Chasers in the same race too, I’m really chuffed that we all got the times we wanted.
You started in the front starting pen, something most of us won’t have experienced. What’s the atmosphere like in there?
Everyone in my pen was pretty chilled out. It was a good atmosphere and quite friendly. I wish I’d been able to push a little further forward as I was near to the back of the pen and got boxed in badly over the first 1km but that probably helped ensure I didn’t set off too fast really.
Despite being in the front pen I didn’t manage to catch any sight of the elite runners, I think those guys where a good 500m ahead before I’d got running!
We often see photos of the frontrunners running in packs. Did you gang together with some other speedsters in Berlin or did you go it alone?
My plan was to find a group and stick with them, I’ve been running in a good group with my club on Tuesday nights and it’s really helped me out. Unfortunately whenever I got to a cluster of runners the pace was really uneven and that’s not what I wanted. I ended up trusting myself and concentrating on not running quicker than around 5:55 miling, and I managed to do that. At about 12km I finally found a young German lad running very steady 5:45 – 5:50 miling and that was perfect for me. I stayed about 5 metres behind him and it paid off. I’m doing another long distance race soon and will defintiely be trying to find a group/individual to pace myself with.
You have been spotted running to work through Finsbury Park in the run up Berlin, and I know that you were doing hill reps after 18 mile runs too. What parts of your training did you feel really helped you out on the day?
Nothing helped me more than the Tuesday night progression runs with the Chasers. We have been doing a 10 mile loop taking in Highgate Hill and a lap of Regents Park but progressing the pace along the way. I think everyone who’s run that session will agree that these runs have helped get a good feeling for running at a decent pace (just a touch slower than HM pace) and it’s been a lot of fun too. My long runs with hills are mainly focused more towards my marathon in May and running in the morning is just the best way to get to work (I hate getting the Underground to work).
What were your race highlights?
The race is actually a bit of a blur, I can’t remember too much. Running through the Brandenburg Gate was really cool, but quite simply finishing and seeing the time on my Garmin was the highlight. After that I was able to watch the others finish and that was great too, especially the look on Kayleigh Dunn’s face about 250m from the end!
And low points during the race?
I actually managed to convince myself that the race was 20km long so there was a low point when I realised it was actually 21km! I’d put in a little surge up until the 20km mark thinking that was the finish (I even went past my German pacer) so it took a lot of effort to sustain a decent pace to the end. Worth it though.
What did you think of the race organisation and the course?
It breaks my heart at the end of these races to see so much plastic and litter on the floor so I was pleased to see the clean up opperation well underway as I was leaving the finish area. For me the organisation was great but for those finishing in around 2 hours the finish funnel looked more than a little crowded. Overall no issues at all.
I have got a taste for it now, I’d really like to try one long distance event abroad each year. Berlin seems to be an ideal place to get fast times so I’ll be thinking about doing the full marathon there one year, hopefully a few more Chasers would be up for that too.
You have signed up for a marathon since we spoke with you last. How are you feeling about that race now having smashed it at Berlin?
The two races are totally seperate, I was less confident about running the time I wanted in Berlin than in the marathon. Since Berlin I have started to think about adjusting my target for the marathon but I’m keen to carry on running smart as it’s served me well in 2012 and so I’ll go to the marathon hoping to finish in around 2hrs 55mins, the same as before Berlin.
Any other comments???
It feels weird talking about just my run when everyone I went there with executed a fantastic race. So a big congratulations to yourself, Dee and Kayleigh for smashing Berlin!