It’s now or never

By on 22/09/2009 in Blog

harte---hartwellA regular on the blogging scene, Digital Birmingham's Dave Harte reflects on his EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon preparations.

We're heading into the final straight of half marathon training and for me at least I'll be glad to see the finish, or rather, start line.

Not that I haven't enjoyed training but I never really got fully into my stride. Those early morning Sunday runs were usually thwarted by a glass of wine too many on Saturday nights. I did get plenty of shorter runs in though and a lot more sprint work than usual.

But now we're almost within sight of the run itself the time has come to consider some race tactics. First off, as exciting as it is to have Paula Radcliffe running with us in Birmingham, don't try to keep up with her. She's rather fast and as her race starts at 9am, she'll have a bit of a head start as the rest of us head off at 10am from Broad street.

Paula famously has a simple race tactic: run fast and lead from the front. For those of us without strength and stamina I'd advise holding back a little during the first half of the race. The route from the centre of the city towards Stirchley is largely flat but as you hit mile six you'll be greeted with the first of the few hills on the course.

From the bottom of Maryvale road up to Bournville station isn't far but can be a testing little climb. This could be a chance to use some of that energy you've been holding back and overtake some people.

For the next two or three miles it's a little undulating and as you corner Bournville Green there's another uphill stretch which could sap the energy of those who went out too quick. But if you've kept your head and kept something in reserve then you should power up it.

From there on in it's downhill or flat back to the city centre. I plan to use whatever energy I have left on this stretch and hope I have enough left for the final uphill section on Granville street before turning into the flat of Broad St for the finish.

Whether you're new to running or experienced taking some time to think through how you plan to run the race adds to the excitement. With the short time left for final training why not run along some of the route so you get a feel for it? Living in Bournville I know the twists and turns only too well and I plan to use that knowledge to my advantage.

Dave Harte is Economic Development Manager for Digital Birmingham and runs for Bournville Harriers

The deadline for entries to the Birmingham Half Marathon has been extended to 25th September.

To enter the EDF Energy Birmingham Half Marathon, log onto

Entry costs £23 or £21 for members of athletics clubs, students and the over-60s, plus an online entry fee for each entry. There is a minimum age of 17.

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