After turning down the opportunity to run the Bristol half marathon, I realised it was because I wanted to conquer another challenge. The Relish Running Races Two Tunnels race day fell in place on Sunday 28th September in Bath and it was the second race I have run with Relish, I was not disappointed…
As most runners are aware, training for a half marathon and keeping to schedule is only attainable when nothing else in your life is kicking up a fuss and using up all your time and energy. Luckily I was able to salvage my training with a build up of long runs from 9 miles to 11 miles in the last 6 weeks of my training plan.. see evidence of foot next to Suspension bridge. This is proof!
There was a great turnout of Good Gym-mers running the Two Tunnels event this year, (what is GoodGym? Read more about it here) with the group split between 10k runners and half-marathon runners. I even managed to recruit my brother – who thought he was coming to visit me in Bristol for a relaxing weekend, au contrare!
For the 10k distance the Two Tunnels really does live up to it’s name as you spend the majority of the time underneath the cover of all the all encompassing tunnels. The tunnels only opened in April 2014, and with a well lit path throughout I can understand why it’s popular with cyclists, it’s maintained by the Sustrans who ensure the route is maintained.
For the half marathon runners the route stretches out further into a circuit around Bath. With various scenic points including the Dundas Aqueduct, there are so many things to be looking at as you run this course. If you are running the half marathon I feel the race should be aptly renamed to the ‘Bath Canal Half marathon’ as you spend a fair bit of time runnning along the canal path. With approximately 100 people running this event you would think the running of this event would go pretty smoothly but in usual Relish Running races style – there’s always a memorable glitch which adds to the whole fun (kind of) on the day. Like the Bath Running festival route where the majority of runners ran right down hill instead of hugging the edge of the hill runners were invited to the start line of the Two Tunnels but having to pass through a very slim gate in order to get through the starting field. Everyone was in good spirits about this, and I guess it’s site specific so it couldn’t have been helped but still – it made alot of runners late as they had to queue to get into the starting pen.
Half marathon runners were made to wait on a foot bridge, the man at the front had a loudspeaker that only could be heard for the first 30 people in front of him – next time can we have some surround sound? There was bound to be teething problems as this was Relish Running races first time at doing this race.
The route measured out at around 13.9 miles which was something I hadn’t really trained for (I had trained to just about stumble past 13.1 miles nevermind muster the additional energy for those final 0.8 miles), it was psychologically demanding and at times I felt incredibly weak. There was a little loop which ran parallel to the river overlooking the Bath rugby ground and the main city – this was where we were given an elastic band – not sure why even till this day! It wa this additional loop which accounted for the additional distance – was this really necessary?
I cannot express how fantastic the marshals were, at one point I asked a marshal to cheer me on and shout at me – he looked at my number, then looked down at his clipboard to find my name and then egged me on at the 12th mile – this helped me SO much. Hilariously one of my fellow pack-runners (yes, running a consistent pace means you recognise the 5/6 people around you after a while) overheard me saying this at the end of the race and had overheard me asking the marshal this. Well… it worked!
I ended up getting a time of around 1h10 mins which I was happy with considering the hot temperature and the additional mileage – I was also pretty happy to end with a sprint finish thanks to the Good Gym guys cheering me on at the end!
Just like the Bath Running Festival there were ample amounts of goodies at the medal collection table, including ice lollies, rocky roads and fruit. Thankyou guys for putting on such another great event – although next time, maybe make it just 13.1 miles?!
Find out more about the next Relish Running Race
Find out more about Sustrans
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11 things I’ve learnt about the Half marathon