Highworth Half Marathon – Alex Cox

If you would have asked me last summer what I will be doing in January then a Half Marathon would have been the furthest thing from my mind.

Fast forward to a surprisingly warm Sunday morning and I was driving to Hannington to take part in my first Half Marathon! I had spoken to Blair the day before and mentioned how nervous I was as my longest run to date was 13.3km so this was a big jump but we have been working hard and training smarter and Blair told me to trust the training and remember my pacing and I will be ok.

As I got Race HQ I met up with the 9 other athletes from the Swindon Triathlon Club and got signed in. This was a test event for 2017 so there where 70 athletes running, 10 from 7 different clubs and all they other clubs taking part where running clubs!

We have a number of fast runners who have done plenty of half marathon before in the Tri club but for John and myself this was all uncharted territory.

Before I knew it it was 10:30 and time to get going. John and I had decided we wanted to try and run a sub 2 hour half marathon and as we set off realised that we had not counted on the terrain. We did not get to see the route until the day of the race and the start was on top of a hill so it was fast down and then rolling hills before it flattened out.

Most of the pack disappeared into the distance and we where left surrounded buy a few other athletes who had done a few marathons before and where sticking to a good pace.

As John and I started to rack up the miles we felt good, 4, 5, 6, 7 miles went by and we joked that we felt OK and should be able to hit our target time.

At mile 10 and the wall was there and waiting for us! As we both went past the marker I turned to John and asked how he was feeling. Instead of the usual "I feel good" that I had become used to hearing Johns reply was I am starting to feel it and it's getting tough.  I replied I am also starting to feel it in my hips and it's only going to get harder. I had been told that mile 10 is when your body starts to break down on you and I laughed it off but it was happening to us both on schedule.

Unfortunately the end of the course was not flat and we had 2 hills that we had to go up and down before the final climb to the finish line. I still can't say how but both with legs like bricks we managed to get over them.

At the base of the final climb I started to make my ascent, step by step and slow and steady when suddenly I heard a "come on Alex".

I looked up to the top of the hill to see Joanne and Alicia-Sophia standing there waiting for me to finish my ascent, My pace quickened and I was running up the hill, the pain in my body was the furthest thing from my mind as I had focused on my daughter who was shouting come on daddy.

As I get to where my girls where waiting I said "is this the finish" and then was told it's 100 meters up the hill. I grabbed Alicia-Sophia's hand and we jogged up to the end. My finish Time was 2:01:53 and my first Half Marathon was over and complete.

Joan and I had done it and I am so glad he was there to run it with me and keep my spirits high.

So what have I learnt from this event?

I know I can over come the pain and bad thoughts and beat the wall. I have learnt to believe in myself and listen to the network of people who believe in me. I know I can do a Half Marathon and from here they will only get easier.

I want to thank everyone who has supported me and helped get me to this point and I can't wait for the season and challenges ahead.