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Photograph of Tim Robinson

The Bath Half Marathon - Tim Robinson's experience

19 April 2017

Following a baking hot day exploring Bath on the Saturday, we awoke to miserable mist and drizzle on Sunday the 12th March. Perfect running conditions, however not ideal for seeing the best bits of the town, or for spectators! As it turned out, we needn’t have worried about the conditions - the sun soon made an appearance as the event began.

With an 11am start, I was at the race village in good time; giving me plenty of time to soak up the atmosphere, as thousands of runners descended on the grounds of the Bath Rugby Stadium. It was entertaining watching runners arrive dressed in a vast array of fancy dress; from the common superhero or morph suit, to the more elaborate. For example, a large group of women running for a breast cancer awareness charity, wearing what looked like excruciatingly heavy, bright pink, breast outfits attached to their backs.

As 11am drew closer, the race village was now getting crowded, as runners bustled along muddy walkways to the start. I made my way to the white start area at the front of Great Pulteney Street, where I found myself shoulder to shoulder with James Cracknell who would go on to record his best half marathon time of 1:19:34.

The race set off to raucous applause from spectators either side of the street. My Mum had a great view from the Holburne Museum, of runners heading out along Pulteney Road, to begin the first lap of the 13.1 mile course.

Very shortly after the race began, the sun broke through, glaring in the eyes of runners, as they ran away from the town centre; out towards the well supported areas of Green Park and Queen Square. Running alongside the River Avon, the route continued to be well supported, as closed roads meant locals came to their gates to cheer on passing runners and fundraisers. Many inspired children perched on pavements, leaning in hopefully for high-fives with passing runners, whilst others handed bowls full of sweets (jelly babies being the fuel of choice!).

Having reached the furthermost point of the route at Newbridge, the race crossed over the Avon and descended back along its Southern banks, before the loop began again. Having started out quite far forward, I was able to make it around the first lap in good time; after which I could enjoy running past fun runners and fancy dress runners during my second lap. Bath is a very well organised race for this reason; in that following two identical laps means you can run past the whole field, encouraging other runners on their way!

Knowing what was to come during the second lap made it much easier, as I could be prepared for the final few miles. Because I knew that the last few miles were fairly flat and almost downhill, I saved some energy to try get through these quickly!

Returning onto Pulteney Road, with Pulteney Bridge in the distance, the streets were still lined with spectators; now basking in the sunshine! The finish line was a welcome sight after a hard run race, and I was delighted to have finished in the top 90 runners (a time of 01:17:22); having been challenged to do so by several spectators with a few miles left to run!

After crossing the line, I took a few minutes to soak up the atmosphere and catch up with fellow runners, before making my way back to the race village, picking up a race goody bag and medal on my way.

Having found my Mum and brother waiting for me outside the rugby ground, we had a few post-race photos together, before heading over the Pulteney Bridge onto the Grand Parade, and into Bath to find a well-earned Sunday roast!

Bath Half Marathon was a brilliant event, and it was a pleasure to be able to run another race for RP Fighting Blindness. I’m now looking forward to running the London Marathon wearing the RPFB vest, and am hoping for just as favourable conditions for that run!

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