Hampton Court half marathon – Race day

Hello from the floor of my living room. It has been a few hours since I finished my first half marathon. I managed it in 1:47:42 which is a large amount faster than I thought would be possible. My body is pretty destroyed though. It is difficult to walk. I have my legs up to stop them throbbing and my brain is completely frazzled.

The day begin at 6am when we awoke to the sound of mine and my girlfriends alarms going off in unison. It was like some sort of digital, smart phone jam. And it was not welcome. Not one bit. We had gone to bed early but had obviously struggled to find sleep as is so often the way before big events and early starts. However, once we did fall asleep we got a good few hours in.

I had a breakfast of cornflakes with milk, which is not exactly the most productive thing to have before a race but I didn’t want to try anything new considering the state of my intestines (or lack of). Note to self, must try different breakfasts on my long run days. We were in the car just after 7am where I proceeded to have a banana.

We got there 45 minutes before the race but by the time we had walked to the race start and queued for the toilets it was 5 minutes until start time. We still had my bag and decided that we would take it back to the car instead of stand in the massive queue as there was just no wayΒ we would have made it for the start. After a gentle (and quite welcome) warm up to the car and back we slotted in to the (already moving) hordes of people heading towards the starting line. We just made it although the stress of nearly missing the start was not enjoyable. Next time we will be getting up even earlier!

Hampton Court Half Marathon
Hampton Court Half Marathon

After the start it all got a bit hazy. We ran a lap around the start area for a mile or so before heading out on to the long road all the way to Kingston. Lots of it was on roads and cycle routes which was a bit dangerous but not too bad. One cyclist got absolutely furious with us and shouted at all the runners and nearly got himself in to a fight with a few. It was quite ridiculous really. One morning of the year, just cycle round us. It wound me up but then I realised that at least I wasn’t a douchebag.

After a couple more miles we got off the road and onto the path by the river. This was much nicer. No cars or roudy cyclists to content with. Just the river and lots of runners. By mile 5 I thought it was time for my first energy gel. I popped it down with ease and then boom I was off. I suddenly got into the swing of things and picked up my speed to levels I haven’t ever reached. Not even in a 5k. For the next 6 miles, 4 of them were sub 8 minutes per mile.

The second half of the route was back along the otherside of the river. This is where I really picked up my pace and where I found my feet in the race. I lost my girlfriend as I went overtaking people in front. Every time I looked at my watch it was under 8 minutes. I couldn’t believe it. Surely I couldn’t keep this up? After high fiving Henry VIII we crossed the river and started heading back to the finish line. More road running but with less people around so not too bad. The crowds were a bit thicker here and it was great to have the cheers of support to get you through.

I had my second gel around about mile 9. It didn’t give me quite the buzz of energy that the first did but it did focus my brain and stop my eyes from spinning around with exhaustion. I am glad I went for 2 as who knows what would have happened on the last few miles without it. As I was coming up to mile 10 I could see the 1:50 pace runner ahead and by just after 11 miles I had passed them. I was so pleased by this point and I knew that I just had to finish and I would be in with a good time.

Much of the final mile was offroad which, given last night’s weather, was pretty horrible. Muddy, slippy and very dangerous after 12 miles of hard running. I managed not to twist anything and then that was it we were on the road to Esher College. The end was near. I checked my watch and then looked up to see the 400m mark. Boom, I set off hard again. And then slowed almost immediately. I wasn’t ready. Another 30 seconds and then as we turned into the college I started sprinting. I was flying past people. It was a very good feeling to know that I still had that in me after nearly 2 hours of running.

And then with a beep of the watch it was over. My first half was over. All the months of training had built up to this point. 4.5 months after the 4th operation to remove my colon and build a J Pouch and I had just smashed a half marathon.Β Once I had recovered and stopped myself from passing out/keeling over/dying/being sick/crying etc I picked up my banana and coconut water and waited for my girlfriend. I didn’t need to wait long as she was there 2 minutes after me. Another great time, also under 1:50.


A great morning. A great time. A great race. Great support. Great organisation. Great marshals and great volunteers. Great everything. I am very pleased. Can’t believe we have another in 4 weeks. Let’s hope the pain in my legs goes quickly so I can get out there again in the week. One slightly odd thing is that lots of the people I have spoken to have chip times which are 1 minute faster than their actuals. My chip time was 1:46:54 which, whilst amazing, is also incorrect. Even the winner had a time which was 1 minute faster than their actual. Not sure why that is or if it will be corrected but I’m just glad I have my watch. Now it’s time to recover from the half cow I just consumed. Time for some films and zzzzzzzz.



49 Comments Add yours

  1. shazruns says:

    Amazing times on your first halfs well done to you both, it is one I might do one day as have a friend who lives in Teddinton great to read a report on it, thanks

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks shaz, I definitely recommend it. Very flat! πŸ™‚

  2. mbcrower says:

    Fantastic race report. Well done on the times. You are quite an inspiration.

    1. David Faust says:

      That’s very kind. Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  3. usabaker says:

    Great run and BLOG entry! quite entertaining πŸ™‚ I enjoy hear from you on your floor.

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks buddy! Glad I can keep you entertained! πŸ™‚

  4. Lyn says:

    Really well done to you and your girlfriend. Your time was impressive.

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks so much Lyn!

  5. Emilie says:

    Wow congratulations! Such a great time and fab to hear you were so motivated all the way through.

    I’ve got my first half marathon in September, but the furthest I’ve ever run is 10k. Do you have any tips on staying focused for so long?

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks Emilie! Hmm, its difficult to be honest. I just take it one mile at a time. Half a marathon is long enough to be quite a daunting number of miles before you start. Don’t look too far ahead. Just focus on that mile, strong pace and decent form and then just repeat.

      I found it difficult to keep focused after 8 miles. Energy gels helped with the brain. Keeps it together for you. Try not to be hung up about thinking you still have an hour and a half to run.

      If that fails then just run it in 1 hour 5 minutes like the professionals. Then you don’t have to focus for too long πŸ˜‰

  6. stomperdad says:

    Great time on your half! You’re bang on with my pace… we could be running buddies! I presume you’ll be trying to run your next half a bit faster? I love halves… great distance and the time requirement for training isn’t life consuming, either. Have a good snooze, take a week or two to rest and I’ll be waiting to hear what your next goal is πŸ™‚

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks dude! If you didn’t live so far away then we could have gone for a run together! My next one is in 4 weeks… Eek. I will try and do it faster. I pushed myself hard this week but hopefully some more training and the time will come down.

      I really enjoyed the distance. Enough time to really get into the run but not enough time to get bored/completely destroyed. I am thinking about booking another in April. My marathon training has a 13 mile long run which happens to coincides with a stupidly hilly half marathon near me… Watch this space!

      1. stomperdad says:

        You’re addicted. Awesome.

  7. s20steve says:

    Well done, sounds like you had a great race.

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks Steve!

  8. CeeJayKay says:

    Wow! Congrats to both of you xxx so stoked for you!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks!! πŸ™‚

  9. runtezza says:

    Well dbne — that is a superb time. Hope you’re both not too sore tomorrow!

    1. David Faust says:

      Yeah I am not looking forward to my alarm!

  10. Congrats!! Those are awesome times for you both!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thank you πŸ™‚

  11. rufusedgar says:

    A fantastic time for your first half marathon. I was there supporting a friend doing the 10k so wanted to check out how the half was, and your race review makes me sorry i missed out. In fairness though i did my last half last week snd the next one is next week so i think i earned a week off. Good luck in 4 weeks – where is the race then?

    1. David Faust says:

      Ahh awesome, how did you find the 10k? It’s the first time here has been one if I recall correctly. The half was indeed great. Flat, pretty and fast! I think you can be excused if you are doing one every two weeks! You need a week off, even if it does involve a 10k. My next one is the Richmond half and then after that I will try Worthing and then my first marathon in Liverpool. A busy few months of running ahead!

  12. rufusedgar says:

    I was only watching the 10k, but my friend loved it. I set my own ridiculous chalkenge of runming 12 half marathons in 12 months & am currently 8 dowm, 4 to go. Next one is in Miami (im there for work) on Sunday 1st. Hopefully itll be a bit warmer there than today. Good luck again on the next one mate!

    1. David Faust says:

      That’s a really cool challenge. Completely crazy but still cool. Well done for that. It sounds intense! I’ll be following your blog for updates. Good luck with your quest.

  13. theblogrunner says:

    Well done! Sounds like a great race! πŸ™‚

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks! πŸ™‚

  14. Wowee, congratulations to you both! Fab times, well done!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thank you! πŸ™‚

  15. selldwellertse says:

    Awesome stuff!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚

  16. thevat says:

    Congratulations on the result! Well done. The half’s such a great distance – you can do something stupid early and sometimes you can get away from it. You do that in a marathon and you WILL stuff your race.

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks very much. I really enjoyed the distance. It’s nice to be able to push and still get the distance done. You have enough time to get into the race but not enough time to get too crazy. I have a marathon planned so it will be interesting to compare the two. I definitely won’t be doing any sub 8 minutes on the marathon!

  17. oscardiamond says:

    Very well done to you and your partner. I liked your descriptive report.

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks for reading Oscar!

  18. aliceruns says:

    Wonderful! Great times, I am so happy for you! Also glad to hear you enjoyed the race so much. Recover fast!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks Alice!! The legs still feel very stiff and achy. As you can probably imagine! πŸ™‚

      1. aliceruns says:

        I can! Although I have never run such distances myself. How are you helping your recovery, if I may ask? Have you taken time off from work?

      2. David Faust says:

        Nope. Im sat at my desk. It is not too bad sitting. I have taken various post workout remedies including protein, potassium, zinc and magnesium which seem to be helping me I think!

  19. dgobs says:

    Congrats on a great race! It’s too bad about the angry cyclist… seriously, like you said, it’s one day out of the year and it’s an organized race, not just a bunch of runners setting out to ruin his day. Regardless, awesome job and great race report!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks very much! Yeah, the cyclist was weird. He must have just woken up in a bad mood. Good thing us runners are so placid else it could have gone down!

  20. plustenner says:

    well done!!!!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thank you!! πŸ™‚

  21. Great running and great write up.
    Well done!

    I imagine the legs are feeling even worse today?

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks! And yes, the legs are feeling pretty brutal. My watch says I still have 31 hours to recover…

  22. DrHockeyMom says:

    Congrats on a great race!

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks πŸ™‚

  23. That is an amazing time on your first half or any half for that matter!! I’m still trying to knock a sub 2, so Congratulations!

    Breakfast on those early race mornings is always a little difficult as you have to wake up so early. I’ve started having the banana and a protein bar.

    1. David Faust says:

      Thanks so much! It was quite unexpected and very pleasing! I struggle with nutrition and with all the bowel issues it can be difficult but protein bar and bananna seemed to work well for me too. That and some cornflakes for good measure!

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