Race report: Battersea Park Half Marathon

Race report: Battersea Park Half Marathon

I did my first running race after the pandemic, Battersea Park Half Marathon, on last Saturday. I originally wanted to do a running race October last year but it was postponed to February this year due to a storm, and got blown out again on the 5th attempt of running the race so the race was cancelled. I signed up this half marathon just 3 days before the race.

Background

Before the COVID pandemic, I ran my first half marathon in 1:41:50, and not long afterwards I signed up an overseas marathon in 2020. Then the world was shut by the pandemic and I stopped running completely as a result.

As pandemic restrictions eased, I started to return to running and signed up a race in October, but it was blown out and eventually cancelled. Afterwards looking at the race calendar I found this race happening 3 days afterwards, on a perfect loop course without elevation, so I signed up to see where I was.

Training

As I signed up this race just 3 days beforehand, there was no structured training. What I was doing in the past half a year was a session with my triathlon club a week, and some orienteering races only.

Race information

  • Name: RunThrough Battersea Park Half Marathon
  • Date: 2022-03-12
  • Place: Battersea Park, London
  • Distance: 13.1 miles (21.1 km)
  • Website: https://www.runthrough.co.uk/race-information-battersea-park-hm/
  • Result: 2:10:57 (2:10:51 chip time)
  • Rank: 438/544 finishers

Course

The race is 8.75 laps of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) flat loop in a park.
course map

Pre-race

Because I lived so far from the city, and there was a lack of flat course road running races near where I lived, I had to take the first train of the day to get to the race. I got just enough time for preparation to my start.

Race

The markers in this race were in miles, which is a non-standard unit. 1 mile in Britain is equal to 1.609344 km. I configured my Garmin to auto-lap in 1 mile, which became 1.61 km in metric mode.

Mile 1

I started off aiming for 8’3″ for a mile (equivalent to 12 km/h, which would give me 1:45:30 finish time), however despite my best effort in controlling my speed I still hit the milestone at 7’51”.

Mile 2

I tried hard to keep myself on pace, and hit the milestone at 8’12”.

Mile 3

It seemed to me impractical to keep to my original intended speed any more, and adjusted my speed target to 11 km/h. I hit the milestone at 8’45”.

Mile 4 – 9

My legs started to get painful in mile 4 and as a result my speed dropped every mile. My speed became lower and lower but my pain was stronger and stronger. By mile 9 my speed was already dropped to 8 km/h.

Mile 10 – 13

At that stage I believe that my suffering was enough that switching to a walk-run strategy might be better off, if I could walk at 6 km/h and run at 12 km/h, using 1:3 walk:run ratio in distance. so I walked 400 m and ran the remainder of the mile. It worked in mile 10 but in mile 11 I could no longer keep to that, and I had to switch to shorter intervals to complete the race. At the end of the race I was walking 100 m and running 200 m each time.

My finish time was 2:10:57, about 29 minutes slower than my PB.

Post-race

It was so painful afterwards. I originally planned to visit 2 museums in the afternoon and only got to 1.

I didn’t expect this to happen if I didn’t have systematic training, and now this race meant if I wanted to get back to running I would need to start training again from 0 for months. I now no longer have any motivation to run again as I was even having trouble getting enough swim training when I had a full time job so far away from the city.

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