Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Race Report: Great South Run

On Sunday I ran the Bupa Great South Run - a flat, 10 mile race with around 20,000 runners taking part.

Following on from last year’s race report, which ended with “Would I do it again? If you'd asked me two minutes after finishing I would've said no, but I think I've got to try and beat 2 hours haven't I..?”, I was back for my second time of running this race. I knew I was better prepared than last year (when my longest training run before the race had been 8 miles!), but I also knew that I hadn’t been putting in lots of distance training over the past few months. With those in mind, my goals for this race were;

A) Beat last year’s time of 2:03:11
B) Run under 1:55
Run under 1:50

With A being a very realistic target and knowing that C would be quite a challenge!

Some of the thousands of people running the Great South Run (source)

I wasn’t apprehensive about the race at all - I knew I’d be able to get round the course, and (for once!) the weather was good - bright and crisp - perfect for running. But it’s fair to say that I didn’t have the best of races - you know you have an ‘off’ run every so often? Sunday was one of those days; it was just unfortunate that it happened to be a race. I struggled mentally and physically for much of the race.

Miles 1-3: It took me a while to get into a decent rhythm, but I told myself I wasn’t stopping until at least the 5km marker. I found it hard mentally at the beginning - I just couldn’t motivate myself to get excited about the race.

Miles 3-6: The middle section was probably the best for me; I’d found my pace, had some water and some Shot Bloks and was feeling more refreshed and optimistic.

Miles 6-8: At this point I started to get bored, it’s the dullest section of the race, with few supporters, no bands etc. I could feel a couple of blisters on my feet that were starting to bother me and my right hip kept twinging (not an area I’ve ever had problems with in the past).

Miles 8-10: By now I was feeling tired (looking back, it may have been an under-fuelling issue - the race didn’t start till 11 and I’d eaten breakfast at 7:30!), and the twinge in my hip was bothering me almost constantly. The last two miles of this race are along the sea-front, I kept telling myself that the quickest was back to the start was to run the last two miles, despite the discomfort, I also knew that the more I ran and less I walked, the quicker it would be over!

I crossed the finished line in 1:54:14, so I managed goals A and B :)

After finishing the race I realised I felt quite light headed (again - probably due to lack of food, by now it was 1pm). I sat down for a while and hobbled the half mile to the pub, where I had a yummy and much-deserved veggie Wellington roast dinner.

Some of the amazing support on the way round (source)

I know this post is quite negative, but I also realise that it was only due to my issues that it was a bad race. The Great South Run is one of the biggest, well-organised and popular races I’ve been too. There’s support on the majority of the route, bands and music as well, it’s a completely flat course and the goody bags are well worth it! There was a ‘Bupa Boost Station’ at mile 9, which I thought was a really nice touch - they were blasting out cheesey, motivating music and handing out jelly babies and Vaseline - it helped to push through for the last mile. So please don’t let my whinging put you off this event!

Now I just have to figure out what to do about this hip pain, that still hasn’t gone away, and definitely feels like more than DOMS. I think I’ll rest it for a few more days and hope it passes. What do you do about niggles/twinges/discomfort? Do you seek help straightaway or try resting it first?

Length: 10 miles
Time: 1:54:14
Pace: 11:25 min/mile


  1. You know what, this might feel like a bit of a bust at the moment, but I bet in the future you look back on this and find it gives you confidence. Along the lines of "man I felt awful during that race, but I finished it, and met 2/3 goals -- so I know I can push through the hard runs". Look at it as mental training :-)

    As for the niggle -- physio is expensive, so I see whether RICEing works first. But do rest properly, unlike me!

    Nice one on the 2/3 btw -- that's no small feat when neither your body nor your mind are playing nice!

  2. Yay well done on those goals- I do that too before races but I call them gold, silver and bronze :)
    Everyone has off days, but look to the positives. I love the sound of the boost station towards the end!