Sunday the 20th July 2014 saw the third annual running of the Frome Half Marathon. As part of the event they also have a 10k (which I took part in) and a 5k. It is all chip timed with road closures in place.
The weather was dry and humid, and the sun came out towards the end of the 10k – I wouldn’t have fancied being out on the course for the whole half in that heat!
We accessed Frome by car, and due to the road closures being in place the organisers had great signage on the main routes in guiding you directly to the car park. From there the event village was well signposted.
Race Village (3/5)
The race village was inside Frome FC’s football ground. Being a football ground it meant you had to follow the sometimes quite narrow walkways between the pitch and stands. There was just about enough room but wouldn’t have taken any more people.
We had to pick up our packets from Race HQ, and they had big signs for people to pick up their packets based upon surname. For some reason, the A-C pick up was RAMMED. Not sure why? Either the runners were not aware that there were other queues for different surnames or there were an awful lot of A-C’s! I picked up from ‘W’ in a matter of seconds but my friend Simon had to queue for 5 minutes. And it was hot in there!
They advised us to fill in emergency details on the back of the number but there was no ‘form’ and you just had to fill it in as best you could.
Loads of safety pins and pens, as well as plentiful toilets.
We got a snap to show what we looked like before the race!
The Start (1/5)
We were really confused at the start. We didn’t know if every race started together or not, and could find no signs or marshals to tell us!
Furthermore, there were no guide times of where to stand based upon perceived pace. As such I spent the first kilometre weaving and overtaking.
There was somebody saying something on a microphone, but the speakers and amplification was quite poor and if you were any more than 10 meters away you couldn’t hear it!
We DID hear the hooter though and off we went! Jodie managed to get a great photo of us.
The route was undulating to say the least! The first 7km were through mainly residential areas with some industrial parks thrown in for good measure. Aid stations were plentiful with water stations very frequent – in bottles too! There were also sponge stations, but I have a feeling my sponge had previously been used to wash a car, as it left a chemically cleaning taste in my mouth!
It was not a PB course but was challenging. With the hill shown on the course profile below you can see the incline which just seemed relentless!
The crowd support though was absolutely first rate! With people dotted all around offering support, residents hosing runners down and kids cycling with us in support it really was a great place to run.
The route marshals were very efficient and supportive. The split point, where people running the half/10k had to go in different directions was well controlled – with a megaphone advising us in advance, plentiful signage and marshals guiding us, it really was a breeze.
Speaking of signage this was great too. The KM markers were in line with my Garmin (not that they should be trusted) for all except the 9km marker. This seemed to be 250 meters late. Like I said, I wouldn’t usually trust my watch, but when you consider the overall length I recorded was nearly perfect (10.02km) and I did a manual lap press at the marker, you can see in the splits below that things just didn’t add up. But it was no big deal.
The goody bag was a bit average, and the medal was poor.
Goody bag had a couple of pieces of cheese, a banana, some food supplement tabs and then just leaflets.
The medal, is small and a bit tinny. But still ok for a small good value race.
Wow, I’ve not run a race that used DB Max chip timing before, but it’s comprehensive!
PDF certificate, easy ‘share’ links, 5k split time, the ability to see how many people you’d overtaken and even a YouTube clip of your finish! Very good indeed.
Due to the issues at the start as mentioned above, the first kilometer was quite congested, and you can see from the split times that it cost about 20 seconds – Which it transpires would have given me a PB!
The next 3 k I managed to keep very consistent thanks to my trusty Garmin. With no tall buildings around and no trees it was able to have a good signal all the way around. The KM markers fell in line with my Garmin which was encouraging as I didn’t have any maths to worry about to see if I was on pace!
Then came the hill. I tried to attack it and maintain my pace. My pace slowed, and slowed, and slowed and before I reached the top of the first part I was forced to walk for a good 30 seconds. Man it was tough. Getting started again was difficult, my legs felt like jelly but I managed to refind my pace only for another climb, which I ran all the way up.
For the whole middle section of the race, I was paranoid about missing the turnoff for the 10k, but I needn’t have been – The marshals did really well making sure we went in the right direction. As I turned the inclines started becoming declines and it allowed my legs to recover a bit. At one point I heard a kid say “48” and I didn’t know what he meant. I assumed he said something like “Come on 848” which was my race number but it transpired I was in 48th place!
Coming down through Frome Town Centre I was able to pick up more pace only for another hill to hit. I had to walk near the top again unfortunately. Simon said he had me in his sights at that point, not that I had any idea, but I just couldn’t put in any more effort.
Then I panicked as I passed the 9km marker when my watch said 9.25! I thought I still had another Km to go. But I kicked on, up to the well supported football ground and came around the back.
I heaved 4 times in the last 200 meters, but managed to cross the line in a watch time of 46.28. Officially that time was reduced to 46.26.
Given the profile, the heat, and the start arrangements I was very pleased with the result.
A good race, decently organised but could be better – particularly with arrangements at the start. But all in all quite pleased and was a good mornings running.