Lisburn Half Marathon 2106

Northern Ireland, Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Jonathan Hamill

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council host what is considered one of Northern Ireland’s largest sporting participation events (~6,000 runners), offering a mid-week Half Marathon, 10k, and 3K Fun Run.

Lisburn Half Marathon 2016

I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express at Queen’s Quarter, Belfast, adjacent to Botanic train station, which is also a popular choice for Belfast running events. A half hour train journey to Lisburn places you within walking distance of the event.

Lagan Valley LeisurePlex provided ample changing and locker facilities. I completed my final preparations, carb-loading at a nearby café with a runner friendly banana crepe. Basking in the intense sun, I started to wonder if the inclusion of the famous Belfast Crown Bar in my hydration plan the evening before had been a wise choice.

I caught up with old friend Andy McClean and Team McClean, who run with seven-year-old Ethan, using a Hoyt running chair. Ethan has the terminal and life limiting illness Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Team McClean enable Ethan to enjoy as many running events as he can, and you can read more of his story here.

Before long it was time to proceed to the holding area adjacent to the start, where local radio station Cool FM, and the Mayor of Lisburn provided their encouragement.

I had opted for the Half Marathon option, lured by the ‘Flat & Fast’ route. I think ‘Flat’ would fall foul of the trade descriptions act! The route begins in the city and then leaves to do a loop around rural Lisburn. There are a number of inclines, but nothing mountainous. What goes up must go down too!

The event is well marshaled, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland close the roads. Five official water stations are distributed from the 1k marker onwards, mostly operated by local Scout groups. The event uses chip timing, with a sensor also at the halfway point. In addition, local community spirit prevails and a number of unofficial water and jelly baby stations feature along the route, with local residents providing encouragement aplenty, “Go on, you can do it, so you can!” The 10K race set off and a few minutes later, we formed up to allow the wheelchair race to start ahead of us. And we were off!

A schoolboy error, and a glance at my watch confirmed I was a tad eager setting an 8 minute/mile pace over the first kilometer. I steadied myself by the end of the third kilometer and concentrated on my plan. I was pleased (despite the abundance of water stations) that I’d taken my own water (two small bottles on a belt). The heat took its toll on some but I soldiered on, using a gel after I passed the half way mark.

Who needs safety pins? I felt tired at 17k and mentally pictured running Durham parkrun to get myself to the end. There were a couple of naughty bits in the last 5k, including an incline with a twist in the final few hundred metres to round into the finish funnel. Hearing the crowd cheer, I knew I could achieve my aim of breaking 2 hours and I picked the pace up, giving it some welly across the line!

Lisburn Half Marathon 2016A slick effort through the line saw me collect medal, water and a couple of Cliff bars. After the race, I compared notes with some members of Springwell Running Club (who operate near my home town) and met the RD of Portrush Parkrun, Mervyn Thompson, before heading off to catch the train.

I finished in 591st position from a field of 1141 runners and achieved a PB of 1:58:14, with three other PBs (15k, 10 miles and 20k).

Results

Pos Name Cat Time
179 Stephen Duncan M40 01:12:22
591 Jonathan Hamill M40 01:58:14

1141 finishers

 

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