Race Recap // Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon 2018


Original Photo Credit: OSB Events / Saucony Cambridge Half FB Page
This past Sunday was my first race of 2018. The Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon! After 16 weeks of training, I almost didn't think it was going to go ahead with all the snow we had. Races were being cancelled all over the place.. but luckily OSB Events(Race organisers) were adamant that everything would be A OK for race day.. and it was!

Before I get started with the race recap, I just want to say a thank the Organisers, Marshalls and anyone else involved in the setup for race day and making everything go so smoothly. I know it must have been a stressful time for you with the weather uncertainty but it's definitely appreciated!

We travelled down the day before race day, just in case we got delayed in traffic and stayed over Phillips Mums. Roads were completely clear, no delays at all and went really smoothly.

The Morning Of..
I rolled off a blow up bed at 7AM, I've been Intermittent Fasting, so decided not to have breakfast but didn't want to completely go without, so took a small banana to have an hour before the race. The 4 of us(Me, Phillip, Phillips Mum and her friend Tony) left the house at 7:30 and arrived at Milton Park & Ride just after 8AM.

We didn't want to make the same mistake as last time and go too early, so this was the perfect time. It wasn't busy in the slightest and we walked straight onto the bus with no queues. We didn't arrive too early at the race village too early either, so we weren't standing in the cold too long.

First stop was to drop off the bags, which we were sort of dreading based off last year but it was an absolute breeze, no queues at all. Thank god they sorted that out - if you read my race recap from last year, it was a mess.
We grabbed some foil blankets on the way over to our second stop - these were much appreciated for the wait after we ditched out bags and there were plenty to go around. I took the time to have my banana too.

Second stop was the toilets.. which wasn't quite a breeze! The queues were long, but they went went quickly.. however, upon getting to the front of the queue.. I heard many people saying there was no toilet roll, which is NOT good for those with race nerves.. Im sure you know what I mean. A lovely lady let me have a tissue and luckily.. I didn't need to go(but subsequently was then freaking out that I would need to mid race).

After the toilet stop, it was just in time to start getting into the starting pens, there were 4 of them, so it wasn't massively busy and each pen started in a wave that led out onto the main road. Some people did ditch their throw away layers and foil blankets right in the middle of the pens instead of putting them out to the side.. so that was a bit inconsiderate and a bit of a hazard.

The Race..
The race started well, a little busy to begin with but it always is when you first start and then it thins out. The course is a one lap loop with some parts of the route being in reverse for the way back. The race starts on Victoria Avenue with Midsummer Common as the race hub.
Photo Credit: OSB Events / Saucony Cambridge Half FB Page
The course heads through the center of Cambridge, past Kings College(which if you haven't seen before, it's stunning!) past Fitzwilliam Museum and out of the city along Trumpington Road, through Grantchester and then heading back into the city along Barton Road and The Backs before heading back through the city to the finish line, which was the start line.

Running through the city during this race is my favourite part and you get to experience it twice! The architecture in Cambridge is just stunning, there's parts of the route that look out over the river too which is really lovely. Part of the route does have traffic on the opposite side, so roads aren't completely closed and which means you can't wear headphones unless they're bone conduction.

I must say, the support on this race is by far one of, if not the best I've experienced. The people of Cambridge really do know how to show their support. The course in the city center was packed full of supporters with complete strangers shouting out your name. Even the more rural areas were still amazing with for support and there was music blasting out, kids holding up 'power' signs and giving high fives.
My race started well. If you've been following my training both on here and my social media, you'll know that I was running this race with Phillip for support to try and get me my goal time of 2 hrs 10 minutes. He reminded me as we started not to go out too fast. I didn't want to pay too much attention to my watch, so just ran with what was comfortable and keeping Phillip in my sights(or rather him keeping an eye on me).

The temperature was not what was expected and it was quite a bit warmer. By about 2 miles, I was rolling up my long sleeves and passing Phillip my gloves and ear warmer. I was boiling! Thankfully, there were 4 drink stations(and gels) on the route at 2.3 miles, 5.1, 8 and 10.8 and the cold water was SO refreshing. I was so hot that I was pouring the water over my head. Anyone would have thought we were in summer!

I was feeling good up until about 6 miles, where I felt like I was slowing, but turns out, it must've been in my head as my pace was still perfectly fine and spot on for the time I wanted to finish in. At around 9 miles, we clocked Tony, who seemed to be doing well(it was his first half). It was around this point that I felt like I had a blister coming on just below my big toe.

My legs were starting to fatigue but I kept pushing on. The support back in the city was absolutely incredible and made me feel so emotional! My legs were dying by mile 12 going into 13 and there's a horrible hill we crossed at the beginning that we had to get back over - whilst it doesn't seem like much, on 12 mile legs, its brutal! Mile 13 was my slowest mile coming in at 10:08, surprisingly, I'd managed sub 10 min/mi for the rest of the 12!
It was then just a case of getting to the finish. Phillip tried to grab my hand at around 500m from the finish to pick up the pace, the eager beaver. I told him I couldn't go that early. I picked up the pace ever so slightly at 100m to go, just because I wanted it to be over!
Crossing the finish line with a sigh of relief, my legs seized almost immediately after stopping and as usual I started to cry, even more so after seeing my time on my watch.

I'd done 2:10.. and gone a bit further getting myself a time of 2:08:17! Woop Woop! I'd bloody done it! :D That's a 7 minute PB and I was super stoked!
Overall Thoughts..
The race, was again, fantastic from start to finish. The race was very well organised, I really can't fault them with that one.

Only minor quarms to mention: No toilet roll which I mentioned earlier and the fact that there were no mats or anything at the end in the mudbath that was midsummer common. I'd be very surprised if a runner hadn't slipped over, it was awful, especially on tired legs.

What to commend OSB For? Listening to the feedback about the sh*tstorm of a baggage area from last year. They completely re-did it this year and nailed it. No queues whatsoever getting out bags, we literally just had to wave at a volunteer at the baggage tent as we were heading to get bags and they already had them! Thankfully, no standing in the cold for ages this time round! Good Job guys!

Medal as always is beautiful. I love it when a medal incorporates the city into it. The goodie bag was great too - containing a foil blanket, bottle of water, chocolate milk, quavers, nut/seed bar and protein balls - they also had optional Alcohol Free Beer and Razors(I'm not sure what they were thinking with this one..xD).
Value for Money: I figured I'd bring this up since it is important when it comes to races. Entry was £38, which is quite steep. Add to this £4 per person for Park & Ride and £2 each for Posting Race Packs out if you couldn't get to the city the day before to pick it up.

Ends up being £46 including everything.. which is quite expensive for a race entry. There was no merch included in the entry. You could buy a Cambridge Half T-Shirt(or they had other items available too).

This year did include free race photos. Any photos that were captured on race day, you could share to your FB page and then download - if you wanted higher res photos, they're £14 from SportsCam. I actually loved this. I never buy race photos as they're ridiculously priced, but it was a nice touch to get them for free.

However, whilst I totally get that there are fees for the organisers, the entry fee is very steep for what you get. I've ran shorter races that have fully closed roads, goodie bag, tshirt and a decent medal and free race pack postage for cheaper than this.

That being said, I would do it again because I like the race so much. I'd just be nice if it was a bit better value for money!

Race Vlog..
If you've made it this far, congrats and thanks for sticking it out. If you want to see some of the race in video form, I did do a race vlog on the day which you can check out below:

If you're interested in finding out more about the Saucony Cambridge Half Marathon, I've left links below for you to browse :)


Question: Have you ever visited Cambridge Before? What races have you got coming up? How much are you willing to pay for a Half Marathon?

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