by Gemma Brown
On Sunday 12th March, I took on my biggest running challenge yet since joining the club in 2015 doing couch to 5K, The Silverstone half marathon!! There were 3 of us from Bridgnorth Running Club there, we travelled down together and in good spirits. We arrived in good time, I was under trained, over prepared (enough food for a family, half my first aid kit, extra clothes, extra drinks and extra gels) and super anxious!! As soon as we began the trek from the car park I began to feel intimidated and a little over whelmed by the crowds. The baggage drop was easy, there were plenty of toilets and a disappointing charity village, still so many people all milling around and of course it was trying to rain. I had already had to make a big decision about whether to wear my coat and ditch it at the start, it was now in the baggage drop and we were getting damp shoulders. I had decided to wear my asthma UK charity vest even though this was not a sponsored event for me, mainly because all of my running is for them in memory of my son. I so pleased I wore it as I soon got chatting to another man raising money for them through taking on a 1000 mile challenge, I was reminded of my determination and my excitement was growing!! Off we wandered to the starting pens, so many people everywhere!! We were near the back with our estimated finish time and couldn't even see the start. We made sure we stayed to the open side, the last thing I wanted was to be stuck on the inside, trapped by people. My first gel was consumed and we waited, we had a giggle about a bit as it was starting to get a bit cool although the rain seemed to be stopping!! Time soon crept up on us and almost without warning there was music and excitement and the race had started.
We got to 10k and had beat my previous 10k PB, I was buzzing!! A quick text to my husband reassured him that I was loving it!! Before we knew it we has got to 16k and decided to make the most of the toilets with out queues. Sadly a few people I wanted to beat seemed to have passed us during this time including a four person plane. We carried on but my friend was starting to struggle, she was recovering from injury and I tried to motivate and support her. We joined a lady who was 'jeffing', we ran for 45seconds and walked for 30. This was somewhat enjoyable and lifted our spirits. We were running at a slightly faster pace than her so we so pulled away and carried on. I realised I had missed my second hourly gel by 25mins and decided I was okay and we were near enough to the finish. The water stops were often and alternate ones were lucozade, I had decided to carry my own drinks so I could drink when I needed to instead of being confined to water stops and risk running with a bottle or even worse throwing an almost full bottle on the floor, going against my recycling and waste morals!! We had got to 18k before pain in my upper inside legs was becoming more and more problematic, the painkillers I had taken half an hour previous were not as helpful as I had hoped and I was really regretting not taking that second gel. My friend was struggling and urged me to leave her, but ensuring we both got round was more important than me getting a better time so she was stuck with my fairly consistent chatter. Fast forward a the last couple of Km, some moaning about blisters and a few expletives and we crossed the finish line together, running with a smile on our faces.
The course was pretty flat apart from slopes under and over bridges. I was worried it might be boring, it certainly wasn't! In fact, I was quite excited to be running on a Formula 1 race circuit! We weaved around all of the circuits there, we could often see runners in front or behind through the fences, towards the end of our run, a lot of people had finished and were leaving on mass. The section from and to the start/finish was the only part we ran twice, it felt much longer on the way back though! There seemed plenty for spectators in the form of food stalls and places to stand. All in all, a great day, if not a little exhausting! More importantly, I can't wait for the next one!