My first Half marathon attempt

I have run 13.1 miles many times in training but have never raced the half marathon distance, that is until October 1st 2017!I had just finished an intentional 3 week running break – which I had used for recovery – and restarted my typical training weeks when my coach suggested I enter the Redcar Half Marathon to test my fitness! I had 8 weeks to train and wondered what would happen after I passed the hour mark in  race conditions, as I had never raced for that length of time  before.

So I lined up at the start, and for the first 3 miles, it felt nice and easy, that was until three lads at the front broke away from the leading pack. For 1.5 miles I worked on the gap and brought myself back to the leading pack. We hit the half way mark where we passed the crowd on our first out and back loop, I briefly saw my coach, my mum, my boss and my friends cheering me on before we went for another out and back loop. There was no change in the leading pack until 10 miles when I noticed one of the lads struggling so I surged on to try and break the group up. Normally not a good idea for your first half marathon, but I felt strong and confident. After 400m from that surge, I broke away from the pack completely and started to get nervous… “had I gone to soon?” “What’s going to happen in the last 5k?” these were questions racing through my mind but every time I glanced back I noticed my lead had increased.

The only time I really started to struggle was at mile 12 but as I was running back I was passing other runners who were heading out on the loop many of whom were our SRG members so I received a lot of encouragement! My last 3 memories before the finish line were passing my girlfriend on her out and back loop, seeing my training group cheering me on and then finally, the boss with a few SRG members waiting at the finish corner giving me a massive cheer, what a feeling! As I crossed the line exhausted, I was greeted by my screaming mother who was overjoyed to see me take the win. I crossed the line in 1 hour, 11 minutes and 6 seconds – exceeding both mine and my coach’s expectations. I was ecstatic – and my first half marathon! The following day I joined the Darlington SRG for a much-needed recovery run and the same friendly faces were there congratulating me, good times!

Dean Newton, Darlington

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