I was a bit unsure about whether to run this, what with the dodgy knee-ness of the previous week or so, but on the other hand I really wanted to do it and the knee seemed a bit better on the Saturday, so I did. And yes, I am an idiot and yes, I am suffering for it now, but apart from a couple of sore spells the knee held up pretty well during the actual race.
It's put into perspective anyway by the horribly sad news that a 34 year old man collapsed and died after running the 10k which was also held on the same day. There's nothing really to be said about this which doesn't sound completely futile, but thoughts are with his friends and family.
The race itself was the first running for the half marathon, although a 10k has been held for several years. I did the 10k last year (only the second one I'd ever done) and it was a hot day then but yesterday was, I think, even hotter with several people apparently suffering from dehydration. Met up with various pals and people I knew from different places (Fetch/work/nursery), some of whom were doing the 10k and some the half. The half marathon started first and followed the same route as the 10k for a couple of miles before diverging at a junction. My fears about going the wrong way were unfounded as it was pretty clearly signposted even for someone with my legendarily poor sense of direction.
The race was mainly on country roads and was pretty hot and undulating, especially in the second half (killer hill at about 10 miles!), and there didn't seem to be a lot of shade. Given the temperature I decided to carry a water bottle with me and was glad I did. I later heard that quite a few people had suffered from dehydration. Knee held up pretty well until about 5 miles when it suddenly launched an unexpected attack and I had to stop and walk for a minute. This eased off quite quickly though and I was able to carry on running. The same thing happened twice more (downhills seemed to aggravate it which was annoying as I normally struggle through the uphills looking forward to the downhills, but I couldn't really do that!) but the pain never lasted long and apart from a couple of miles I managed to make quite good time for most of the way, finishing in 2:05:50 - a PB. Hopefully on a less hot and hilly course and without a sore knee, I could manage a quicker time, given that I ran the first 10k in not far off my 10k PB, and the first 10 miles seven minutes quicker than my current 10 mile PB! Shame I can't count it as an official PB.
I think the heat and difficulty of the course knocked a bit off everyone's potential times, but nevertheless everybody did really well.
Splits: 9:27 9:04 9:27 9:00 9:37 9:52 9:45 10:43 8:51 10:44 9:43 9:22 9:27
Average pace: 9:36