Not everyone can actually say that they enjoyed competing in a half marathon but I can honestly say that the one I have just completed was quite a good experience.
I competed in a half marathon over the weekend, the Port Macquarie Half Marathon to be precise, and although I have run quite a lot of them over the years, this one was a little different in the way I completed it. The course was a three loop course that basically covered two out and back sections either side of the start/finish line. It sounds boring but because of the location (absolute waterfront) it was actually very picturesque and very enjoyable.
The reason why the course forced me to change my approach to completing the run came down to the fact that there were no kilometre markers on the course. This is very unusual and would have caused me to be very critical of the organisers except for the fact that the out and back loops sort of gave you an indication of where you were on the course.
The first section was a 1.5km run to a turn-around point bringing you back to the start for a 3km loop. The second section was a 2km run to the second turn-around point and return to the start for a 4km loop. Repeated 3 times and you’ve completed the 21.1km course. In effect, rather than breaking the course down into 21 x 1km sections, I found myself breaking it down to the loops. Run the first loop, then the second and so on. It gave my longer points to aim for and actually allowed the run to unfold a little more gradually.
For some reason this was quite an interesting way to go through the race and rather than being the drag that I thought it would (I don’t really like loop courses) it turned out to be a very enjoyable run.
All other points of the run were covered such as plenty of water and electrolyte stops not to mention free samples of gels to take before and after the run. Organisers of fun runs, whether they be short runs or longer, with a large participation base should take note that the average runner likes to feel as though their presence in the run is appreciated and that is what happened in the half marathon that I participated in over the weekend.