Event name: Run Liverpool Half Marathon
Date and Time: 18/03/2012 @ 0930
Location: Queen’s Dock, Liverpool.
Races: 13.1 mile Half Marathon Road Race
Price: £28 Aff. £30 Un Aff.
Web site: http://www.runliverpoolhalfmarathon.co.uk/
Incentive: I’ve been living in Liverpool since 2009 and never really taken part in the local sporting events either due to work commitments or travelling home to the south coast on my rest days. This year I’ll more than likely return to my roots on the south coast so I’ve been looking into a few events that define living in Liverpool in a sporting sense. The Run Liverpool Half Marathon is one of those events.
Organisation: I entered the race online a couple of weeks before the deadline and promptly received my race pack through the letter box. Using the website I was able to see what was expected on the day in terms of timeliness, administration and most importantly the route. A comprehensive map was available for me to pour over and develop some sort of race strategy.
I was privileged enough to be able to walk a short distance to the holding area for the start of the race but I noticed that there weren’t any issues with parking at the Queen’s Dock, although I thought charging people to park their cars was unnecessary and could have been included in the race fee.
There was a reported 6000+ race entrants so the starting area was heaving especially as many racers were accompanied by friends and family. That said there were no real issues with overcrowding and the race started more or less on time. The stand for supporters to use was a nice touch and provided the race with an air of authenticity.
Along the route there were hundreds of volunteers manning water stations, route marking and providing medical care. It’s obvious that without these people the race is a non starter so thank you to all those that gave up their time and effort. It was great to see youth organisations like the Army Cadets out in force and helping out. With obesity on the rise it’s important that children are included in large scale sporting events in their local area to highlight the importance of sporting activity in preventing youth obesity, after all prevention is better than cure.
The route was well marked out along the way and anyone that knows the city shouldn’t have experienced any navigational problems due to the iconic landmarks that the route encompassed. Places such as the Albert Dock, Sefton Park, Otterspool Park and the River Mersey promenade. With the final few miles of the half marathon being relatively straight anyone with local knowledge will realise that on arriving at Otterspool this is the time to dig deep and maintain their pace or even kick on safe in the knowledge that the pain is nearly over.
Coming into the final few hundred metres it was nice to be met by a cheering crowd making the most of the stand provided by the organisers. The noise they were making definitely spurred me to a sprint finish and I think the same applied to the majority of runners.
At the finish line we were ushered along to a tent with multiple lanes where we were presented with refreshments, a medal and a tee-shirt and the opportunity for a sports massage.
PB Potenital: This is difficult for me to comment on as it was my first half marathon and therefore my PB. Due to the gradient at the start and in places around Sefton Park couple with the strong breezes that runners face along the promenade I’d suggest that this race isn’t ideal for a seasoned runner to chase his or her PB. Although in my opinion it may not be the fastest half marathon out there, you can rely on the chip timing to validate the time you do achieve.
Scenery: The landmarks dotted along the route are iconic to the city of Liverpool. I’ve already mentioned the areas that the route dissects all of which are worthy of a sight seeing tour bus route. It’s only when you run the race that you are able to fully embrace the architectural brilliance of buildings such as the Anglican Cathedral, the superb landscaping at Sefton Park, and the inspiringly expansive views across to the Wirral offered along the Otterspool promenade.
Atmosphere: I ran the race with a couple of friends and this appeared to be the case for a lot of people. As I’ve discovered over the years, the people of Liverpool are a warm and friendly jovial bunch with an enormous sense of pride for their city and its heritage. The same goes for the organisers at Run Liverpool. They made great attempts at the start (Kris Akabusi entertaining),all along the route and at the finish line to ensure that everyone was safe, motivated and enjoyed themselves.
Overall: My affinity for the city means that this race would need to have failed spectacularly for me to not have enjoyed it. Putting my subjective views to one side, I can truly say that this event provided everything that I seek in a running race and has the potential to become one of the great half marathons of the calender. I look forward to the next one in 2013.