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Bath Half Marathon

By Gemma Pateman

17th Mar 2014

"Bath Half"

Sunday 2nd March 2014

This would be my first race as a STARC member out of the county, so I crossed the border(s) into Devon and then over to Somerset with pride knowing I was going to represent the purple and gold. The night before the race some of us 'carbed' up in a great Italian restaurant and discussed our expectations of the day to follow.

We woke up to a dull overcast day, dry but dull! So we took the short picturesque walk from our waterside travel lodge down to the sports field that was for that day the 'runners village'. People were everywhere and there was a great buzz going around the thousands of participants and spectators. The field was crammed with charity tents and portaloos a plenty, a far cry from the Cornish Grand Prix events that I am used to! Spotting some other STARC ies we stood waiting for the call to the white, green or orange pens and then of course the rain came!

Oh well we'd best get to the starting line! Off we trot towards the pens and we walk onto a wide Georgian boulevard lined with supporters donning there umbrellas, very different from a cornish lane! With the majority of STARC runners up the front within a few meters of the starting line, it did not take long for the horn to go and we were off, shouting good luck to one another as we crossed the line.

From the very first turn we were cheered along by a great crowd, the 1st mile is a gentle downhill so obviously it was a fast start, who can resist! We then started the 1st of 2 loops around. "The course runs around "Churchill Bridge, gently rising up past Green Park Station, a gentle ‘pull’ round Queen Square (the most crowded spot for spectators on the course), then down Charlotte Street and out along the Upper Bristol Road, gently undulating along Newbridge Road, and a longer ‘pull’ up to the ‘New Bridge’ at the beginning of the dual carriageway. From the ‘Twerton Fork’ the race heads back towards the City centre, pancake flat along Lower Bristol Road, before crossing over Churchill Bridge and up Green Park again for the beginning of the second lap. At the end of the second lap the runners pass across Churchill Bridge, finally rising gently (but remorselessly!) back up Pulteney Road all the way to the finish with a dramatic last 200 metres in Great Pulteney Street"

As with most of these 'big city' races thousands of people running are running for charity and the support was amazing, from large double decker buses to live bands and horns there was entertainment all around, I even ran along side a giant 'boobie' for quite some time! (coppafeel.org).

All along the course there was plenty of drinks stations with both water and lucozade being handed out and you were never too far from a toilet, they were spread all over the road sides.

The last 100 meters is back onto Great Pulteney Street and a sprint finish to the line! We then get ushered back down towards the race village picking up our medals and t-shirts and being de-chipped along the way!

I am not sure how everyone else was feeling during the transition but I know I was bursting to find another purple and gold vest to tell about my own PB, instead I found a Penrice hospital midwife / runner which was close enough, if a bit random!

All in all this was a fantastic and fast half marathon, a great course which is perfect for PB's as the hills were few and far between. The support from everyone including our very own support team (Mel Rowe & Sarah Bazeley) was unrelenting.

First home for STARC with a very impressive 51st place was Jez Mancer and the following 18 STARC members were filtering through. A lot of Pb's were achieved with myself at 12 mins, Emma Watkins 7mins, Hilary Nicolas 2mins, Hannah Adams 2 mins and many more that i'm not exactly sure of the mins. Well done too to Kimberley Jane Small from run/walk who completed her first ever half marathon with her sister.

And after all that I didn’t notice the rain!

Great day out of Cornwall and we did St Austell Running Club proud!

Gemma Pateman