BATH HALF MARATHON 2017
Vitality Bath Half Marathon happened on the Sunday 12th March, tickets were between £40-45 (early bird discount is currently £40, later on price increases). It is one of the longest established and most popular city centre road events in the UK. It is also the largest charity fundraising event in the South West region raising over £2.1 million in 2015.
The event started at 11am but it was best to start queueing at 10am with 12,000+ runners and their spectators there was plenty of people. Although the race village is huge and has plenty of toilets you still need to make sure you get in to the queue, it takes a long time to get to one.
Leading up to the event I heard that bin bags were banned from the start, they asked you to wear an old top instead as it got donated to charity and over the ear headphones were banned – although I saw a lot of people with headphone and bin bags so not sure how they policed that but a warning in case you run and someone mentions it for next time.
The course covers a two lap 13.1 mile (21.1km) traffic-free course straddling both sides of the River Avon, the first 2 miles were running down into Bath and then 3-11 were 2 loops towards the outskirts and then 11-13 were back in to town that we followed in the first 2 miles.
The first mile is gently downhill, and then you follow the course straddling both sides of the Avon river. Bath is a very beautiful city, and you did get to see some of the architecture,
It is described as a flat course, suitable for all abilities but one thing I noticed – for me, it might not be for others – it was quite hilly! At 4 miles in my video I said how we had already run up 4 hills and knowing we were going to have to do them again was not something I was looking forward to! Although small in length, some were fairly steep to climb up, miles 4-7 were kind of downhill and flat but then the last mile into the finish was all up hill, it just kept going and you thought you were there and you have to turn another corner.
Mile 4 gave you a nice view of the countryside and then turning to go back into town.
What I found funny (I came across the start line at 9 minutes after the start of the race) by the time I got to 3.5 miles – the elites were already passing us! Because it was two laps all the runners for the first lap had to run on the left side (this was slightly flatter – a tip for future runners) and the elites were running past on the right. We were so shocked by the time the first guy came past us that there was a laugh throughout the runners at my pace and a few jokes about how fast they were.
Toilets were dotted throughout the course, this time I spotted them as I ran because there were huge lines of people! There was then bottled water: 2 miles, 5 miles, 8 miles, 10.5 miles, 12.5 miles (I don’t remember this many!) and lucozade Sport (orange flavour): 4.5 miles, 10 miles (which was the same place) and still the graveyard of thousands of full lucozade bottles lined the streets and made me so sad! It wasn’t close to spectators this time so my family couldn’t pick me any up!
There were mile markers at every mile, it was a bit funny when you were only at 3.5 miles and you ran past the 8 mile marker (through the loops), they also had a timing point on the first 10km.
Lining up in the many winding streets, they had already shut off the entrance for our wave and so we had to walk back and through the one behind us and climb over the tape to get to ours – the marshals were shouting at each other to tell them that they needed to open it! It was quite a walk to the back gates but worth the walk with all the other runners having a chat to each other. Our wave was around the corner from the start and not being local I had no idea how long it would be until the start but we could hear the music pumping everyone up.
The walk to the start was awesome, I’ve never been at a start with so much atmosphere! There were crowds and crowds of people walking down the Main Street with music blasting and smoke clouds being blown out, similar to the Brighton but bigger! The next 4 miles was just a constant crowd, this was something that was really encouraging, a flow of spectators and people handing out sweets, banners and shouting encouragement! It died down mile 4-6 & 9-11 (it was a loop of the same course) because there weren’t many side walks but the rest of it again was lovely – I’ve never seen so many people!
The day was beautiful, a warm day with the sun in the clouds so a great temperature for a race, I had to take off my long top in the first 2 miles, thank you to the lady who held my running belt and sorry to the crowds who saw me in my running bra!
The race day had organised a battle of the bands, dotted about the course were bands playing music, some more enthusiastic than others but it was great fun, especially the disney tunes to dance along to!
A very well run day, although I did hear for those finishing 3 hours onwards didn’t get a medal because they had run out! The finish line was great, full of music, spectators and plenty of goodies. It was a windy way to walk once you had finished, you were able to get lucozade (although I asked for both flavours one lady wouldn’t give me both but the guy behind her gave it to me) and then come around into the finishers village where you queue by shirt size to get your intersport goodie bag with your running tshirt, snacks, bamboo water, massage oil and other items.
Another thing I noticed was the amount of injured runners, every mile there was someone in the tent, wrapped up in silver foil and plenty of ambulances zooming past. Especially the last mile, every 20 metres there was someone sat down with a first aider – no matter where you were there were plenty of first aiders about! I don’t know what it was and I hope everyone was okay, it was quite warm and the gap between water stations was quite far?
The finish was lovely, as it’s wide and welcoming and full of spectators, perfect for a final burst to the line. I’ve never had such a wide, lovely finishing line, complete with its fare share of music, cheering and smiles.
A bright, colourful, friendly and fun race!
Although I enjoyed Bath, the support was amazing, I didn’t have a good run and didn’t enjoy the course that much, for those running their first half – it might be a little hard but the support is incredible! I personally wouldn’t do it again out of choice but as it’s close to home it would be one for training.