Tag Archives: running

GMAA Half Marathon – Race Report

Way back in the early Summer I was chatting with some former colleagues from the year I spent in Boston and they said they were signing up for a half-marathon together. After a little to-ing and fro-ing, and checking out the logistics, I decided to make that the weekend I visited them and we would all do it together. So that’s how I ended up travelling from Glasgow to South Hero, VT to run the GMAA half-marathon!


The GMAA half-marathon was on the Sunday (14th October), so I flew out to Boston on the Thursday to try and fend off any jet-lag. I met up with my pals after work on Friday and we headed up to Vermont and stayed in the most beautiful airbnb in South Hero. The drive up was a fun little roadtrip, including stopping off to get supplies to make ‘smores around the campfire later that night.

That gave us all day Saturday to explore the local area and relax a little before heading to packet pick-up and making our own little pasta party back at the apartment.

The view from our amazing airbnb in South Hero
The view from our amazing airbnb in South Hero

Race day

Race day was a bit of an early start so the the 5 of us could share the single bathroom and get some nutrition in us well-before the race. (My race nutrition strategy focussed heavily on some store brand jelly bears we’d picked up the day before). It was then just a short drive to the start line and we were away without much ado, leaving everything we didn’t run with in the car.

As with all mass-start races, the temptation was to go hurtling off at the start with all the excitement, so I decided to consciously hold back on the pace for the first few miles and pick my way through the crowds. I persuaded my friend Molly, who I knew was going for a similar time to me, to do the same.

Molly and I stuck with each other for the rest of the race, chatting and pointing things out to one-another, all the time slightly picking up the pace. This was mentally so helpful – it was never spoken until after the race but neither one of us wanted to give up before the other, so it became a challenge with us spurring each other on.

The course itself was an out-and-back along the coastline of the island. This gave us plenty of beautiful scenery to look at. Vermont in October has some wonderful colours as the leaves start to turn, so we definitely managed some leaf-peeping as we ran. The out-and-back nature also gave us the chance to spot our friends who we knew would be a little behind us, so we could support their race too. The course is undulating – it mostly follows the coast with a few small hills in between. The final mile is dead flat and straight – I wanted to kick for this, but simply didn’t have the energy. Instead I kicked away from Molly for the last 2-300m!

Finish – 1:51.49

Official results

A very happy group of runners at the finish line of the GMAA half-marathon
A very happy group of runners at the finish line of the GMAA half-marathon

I was so happy with this time. Off the back of very little training since my half-ironman in July, I thought to come within a few minutes of my PB was excellent. And I owe a lot the mental fight to keep going at that pace to Molly, who didn’t let me give up. Our pace was an even split, so the decision to relax early on (as my club coaches always say), was a good one.

Post-race, there was all sorts of food in the recovery room in the local school sports hall – I’ve never had chilli and nachos after a race before, but boy was it welcome! Along with donuts, bananas and a myriad of other options, it was quite a spread!

The team at the Ben and Jerry’s factory

From there, our wonderful airbnb hosts allowed us to come back to the house and shower before we made our way back to Boston – making sure to call in at the Ben and Jerry’s Factory on the way – surely a must do in Vermont!

Edinburgh Half Marathon – Race report

Finally, after 2 failed attempts due to injury, I made it to the start line of a half marathon – the Edinburgh Half Marathon 2016. Having entered my girlfriend for this race as my Christmas present to her (such a thoughtful boyfriend…), I thought I should also enter myself for it. It’d be a nice challenge for the two of us to do together, and I would finally get a result up for a half marathon.

Continue reading Edinburgh Half Marathon – Race report

Cambridge Oktoberfest 5k – Race report

Bib and race glass from Oktoberfest 5k 2015
Bib and race glass from Oktoberfest 5k 2015

I managed to grab a place at the Cambridge Oktoberfest 5k from a friend at my local running group in Boston, and I’m glad I did, it was a blast! I’ve never been to a 5k that finished with free beer, food and a dance party – all before noon – but I’d certainly go again! Continue reading Cambridge Oktoberfest 5k – Race report

Bath Half – Did Not Start

My running career might have only been going a year, but I was really disappointed this weekend to clock up my first “DNS” (did not start).

On Sunday I was scheduled to take to the line at the Bath Half – my first half marathon. Unfortunately, it was not to be, as 3 weeks before the race I picked up some knee pain (suspected ITB issue). Since then I’ve been off running and “rehabbing” like mad with lateral leg lifts, strength exercises, foam rollering and then cross training with a bit of swimming, but it didn’t happen in time. Continue reading Bath Half – Did Not Start

Met League XC – Wormwood Scrubs Race 5

The start of the women's race hurtles towards us
The start of the women’s race hurtles towards us

I was mostly just happy to be able to race this, having picked up a little cold in the week and started antibiotics for a tooth infection. But I was able to make it on a beautiful, if a little windy, day out at Wormwood Scrubs, in the shadow of the prison of the same name. The course was a fairly easy 2 laps around the park and some sports pitches. I heard that flooding had prevented us from heading into the woods, but it certainly left some great puddles on the course, as captured brilliantly in a photo by fellow Serpie, Lars Menken. Continue reading Met League XC – Wormwood Scrubs Race 5

Met League XC – Horsenden Hill Race 4

Somewhere under all that mud are my shoes!
Somewhere under all that mud are my shoes!

What a beautiful day for a race, and a great race!

Sunny and warm for January but very, very muddy. This is my third cross-country race, and already I’m learning more about mud than I really wanted to know. This time the mud was soft and sticky, almost like clay and it makes it so much harder to pick your feet out of the mud, let alone have something to push against. I think running 5 miles XC is like 8 miles on the road. At least that is how I felt! Continue reading Met League XC – Horsenden Hill Race 4