Race Review: Surrey Half Marathon

The Inaugural Surrey Half Marathon Race Review…

The Surrey Half Marathon is new, the first running was this weekend and it only appeared on my radar last month thanks to some Twitter chatter.

Inaugural races are pretty hit and miss based on my experience. The Edinburgh Rock and Roll last year was ok in the Half format, but they managed to screw it up this year to a point it was cancelled 3 months ahead of time. The North Carolina half was well done but only had a small field. As for the Surrey Half, I think it is here to stay.

The race was preceded by the bib and map being sent. As well as a free phone app. And we love free phone apps. Although this free phone app keeps sending you broadcast messages, so I uninstalled it.
The course was to be from Guildford in Surrey to Woking and back again on the other side of the road through the tiny villages between the towns. A there and back again Hobbit-esque route. And the field was about 6,000, so a good turnout in the race “village” greeted me.
Now the race village had the sort of thing you would expect, a really good number of loos, a sales tent, a baggage drop, those feather shaped flag things, tea and burgers. For me though, having had virtually no sleep the one thing the race village had that I did not like was undulations. It was not flat. The whole village was on uphills and downhills and sideways hills, so, no matter where I was facing my brain was lopsided and it made me feel a bit dizzy. No idea why.
A nice enough warm up prevailed and then we were off on the hottest day of the year so far.
The Race…
 

Ok, this was my 35th race in 21 months of running and I am coming up to 1000km alone since I started using my Nike + GPS Watch. I have run halves in five countries. I have seen good and bad. This was mostly good. If I can find fault, and it was quite obvious, the route going through country lanes meant there was too much bunching. There were bottle necks in quite a few places that even my Fartlek training could not deal with and it was easier to walk with the rest of the herd as you ran through country lanes as well as closed off B roads into the towns.

There was great support from the locals in the little villages and in the towns. The water tables were right where you needed them, or I needed them, and so were the toilets. It was a little hilly but not as hilly as Tunbridge Wells Half.

And the water was needed as it was hot. It was one of those sad races where a lot of people fall foul of the elements (in this case heat), maybe poor training, winter clothing including under armor and full length running leggings and definitely lack of water. As I said, it was hot and I drank 4 small bottles of water throughout and one when I finished. The St Johns Ambulance and other emergency services were kept busy. I do not think I have seen quite so many fallers and passed out bodies on the side of the road.It does make you feel sad, and grateful for an uneventful run yourself.

The bottle necks did slow the pace down a lot and I was 15 mins slower than normal. I was 20 mins slower than a fortnight ago.
The red was bunching
The end of the race was around the Surrey athletics club track and fun. The bling was pretty good. At least the right size for a half medal, rather than the microscopic and disappointing offerings of my last few races.
Bling with recovery snack

But there was no goody bag. This is yet another race where the goody bags are not given out at the end, or are given out somewhere mysterious that you have to travel to as it is not immediately obvious to those who just finished a race and now want to get their bag and go home.

There was also no free tech tee, instead a staggering £27 was demanded for one of these.

There is room here for the obligatory race pic, but the last few have been bad due to Xmas snacking so we shall see…
 

So to recap, this was a good sized field, and the bling and organisation and support was excellent. I would question the narrowness of several parts of the course for next year but would highly recommend you to try it. The start is a 20 min walk from the station, to be prepared for that. This race can only get better, and it was good to start with.

I would go enter now, to guarantee a place.

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