Category Archives: half marathon

Olivia’s Story – Great Birmingham Run

Olivia joined our Learn to Run course at the beginning of this year. Here’s her story:

Olivia, proudly showing off her medal
Olivia, proudly showing off her medal

Three weeks ago, I ran the Great Birmingham Run. It’s a half marathon. These are words I never anticipated saying (or typing!) when I joined the Regency Runners Learn to Run course in January 2016.

I’ve always wanted to run and been envious of the friends who do, even though I used to think they were mad for getting up early at the weekend or running in the rain (I get it now and love running in the rain!). I’ve played sports in the past and been fitter but I’ve never cracked running and thought I was one of those people who simply couldn’t run.

A friend and I decided to do the Couch25K programme in 2015 and I loved it; I couldn’t believe I was able to actually run, without stopping and I was soon hooked until a couple of injuries ruled me out for a good six months and I found myself back to where I’d started. During the Christmas break, my sister suggested that we start running again and, fuelled by mostly cheese and port, I agreed.

I knew Helen, one of the leaders at Regency Runners and she told me about the Learn to Run course. I wanted to say yes but a running club seemed like a frightening prospect to a scaredy-cat like me who finds the idea of joining a group pretty terrifying, let alone a group of people who can run. It turns out it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made and now I find myself organising my work and weekends with time for running planned in.

Regency Runners is a fantastic group and one where advice, support and encouragement is always on hand. I’ve needed plenty of all of those in the run-up to my first half marathon. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I signed up but the relaxed reaction from people at Regency Runners gave me the reassurance that I needed that I could do it.

The run itself was brilliant. It was a huge event and much bigger than anything I’d run in before but I loved the atmosphere. The route was tough at times but there was support from spectators and supporters all the way round which was amazing and much needed for the last couple of miles and spotting my sister at the finish line was a massive highlight.

I’ve learned so much about what I can do and how much recovery is needed after a big run but I’m so proud of what I’ve done and I’m looking forward to the next half marathon in February (something else I never expected to be saying!).


Tissington Trail 2017 – Harriet’s story

The Tissington Trail 2017 Half Marathon was brilliantly organised from start to finish. I had a few email queries beforehand, which were answered promptly and helpfully, then on the day the marshals were great.

If you are looking for a first half, and are happy travel up to the Peak District, then this is the one to do: it is truly either flat or a steady downhill for almost all of the 13.1 miles! (There are two short uphill sections; both in the second half of the race. One just after a water station and one right near the end – in both places plenty of support and cheering to get you up the hill!)

The only negative I can think of, is that for the rest of the race – away from the water stations and the finish – there is almost certainly less support than at most other half marathons, because you are on an off-road (though not uneven underfoot) trail which runs through beautiful countryside and farmland – you are likely to see more cows and sheep than anything else, although the occasional cyclists and walkers we met did cheer us on.

Having never run further than 7.5 miles before, I followed a 12-week training plan that I modified slightly so that for most of those three months I could tick off my ‘training runs’ by simply joining Regency Runners on their Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday regular runs (plus one additional run on my own most weeks). The support and encouragement from everyone there was incredible, and I was even lucky enough to have one of our leaders, Lina, run with me every step of the way on the day.

The medal (featuring a steam train, since the trail is a disused railway line) and technical t-shirt are great reminders of a fantastic race that will almost certainly be your half marathon Personal Best!

Thanks to Martin Hemsley for these photographs:

Enjoy yourself …

… Pressure is good but its more important to have fun!

Well done to all the RR Ladies that ran Birmingham Half yesterday! I’m glad I saw some of you on the way around – you all looked very strong and some great time’s achieved! Also, I loved the analogy from C5 on the hill!

My experience of Birmingham yesterday was very different to any event I have run over the last 18 months.

I entered this back in May when I had desires on a quick half to set me up for my marathon plans in April. However, things did not quite go to plan. I found it difficult to keep fitness up over the summer without sacrificing all the family time – and then was diagnosed with an injury in my foot that meant if I didn’t rest up then it would probably never go away.

The long and short of it is training went on hold, and then any training I could have done in the last 3 weeks (which would probably have been pointless anyway by that stage!) was diminished with a stinker of a cold. I managed 2 x 10 mile runs, both horrendous! The first was split into a 7 mile and then a Park Run; the other I stopped and walked 3-4 times using the excuse I had to blow my nose. That last one felt the hardest run I had ever done in my life.

I spent the lead-up to the event worrying about it so much that, the day before, I decided not to run. I would not advise any one of you to run a half marathon on so little training so what was I doing?

However, around 10pm the night before it occurred to me that I could just turn up and run and try and ENJOY it!

So ….. I ditched my Garmin in the morning. I went 2 waves back from where I entered. I chatted to some ladies at the start and we had a blast doing the warm up (who knew???!!!).

The claxon went and we were off. I tootled along looking around and thanked the crowd cheering us on letting lots and lots of runners pass me. I found a friend from the SHABBAS on his first half and we stuck together the rest of the way.

I admit it was harder than it should have been in places but I kept thinking, “just keep putting one foot in front of the other and SMILE!”

So, although I would not advocate running any event with a small amount of training, what I want to say is that, by taking the pressure off, it can be fun – after all we all started running for that very reason; we enjoy it. It doesn’t matter if you stop to walk. It doesn’t matter if you stop and talk to someone who needs a kind word. It doesn’t matter if you walk up a hill. You are still doing it, and doing it with a smile.


Helen Wyatt