I finished fourth lady, AGAIN. My ranking in this race has become somewhat of an on-going joke for my family over the past few years, as I’ve hopelessly battled to make it into 3rd place.
After coming 6th, 5th, 4th and then 4th, and then 4th… again, I seem to have reached a flat-line in my ranking performance. Having said that, I smashed my time by about three and a half minutes this year, finishing in 1:33:30 – so ranking schmanking I say.
It was my fifth or sixth time running the Guernsey Father’s Day half marathon. My dad has run it for donkey’s years and 2014 marked my brothers 10th race. We’ve got relatives on the island so it’s a great excuse for a family holiday and it’s no coincidence that we make the annual trip at this time every year.
The course is beautiful. The route takes you up the West Coast of the Island where you can distract yourself with stunning beaches before traveling inland, across to the opposite shoreline. A final coastal stretch takes you up to the finishing sprint, right in the centre of town alongside the scenic harbor of St Peter Port.
As with any coastal half marathon, the wind direction can often make or break your race however, despite complaints from the majority of people, I didn’t seem to notice the apparent headwind this year. This may be due to the fact that, unlike any other year, I ran in a pack of about ten guys. With only 400 entrants in total the race is usually a pretty solitary 13 miles however for about 8 miles we kept as a tight cluster.
This resulted in A LOT of drafting. Anyone in the centre of the pack was total shielded from the gust which persisted throughout the first 9 miles of the course. You can see from the photograph that after breaking away from the group very briefly, I stupidly positioned myself right at the front, pacing our little harem for the majority of the race. I felt really strong though and by about 6 miles, I knew it was going to be a good race.
So strong in fact that I achieved something I’ve never done before in my racing history. I ran my last three miles at sub 7 minute mile pace. 6:50 to be exact. I don’t know where it came from and I did question whether my step change would come back to bite me in the final mile, but I held on.
I crossed the line with a huge grin on my face, oblivious to my all-too-familiar-ranking- just incredibly chuffed with the numbers on the clock. I felt like I’d paced myself purely on instinct, checking my Garmin sporadically, only to be consistently and pleasantly surprised.
This was a big boost for the Iron Man 70.3 in less than two weeks’ time and I feel confident that, all being well, I can achieve a time to be proud of.
And who knows, if I’m foolishly tempted to train for a full Iron man next year, maybe Guernsey 2015 will be my year for third place…