Race Report: The Great Eastern Run

This was to be my first half marathon, and for that reason alone I thought it would be impossible to be disappointed as long as I got to the end and crossed that finish line, but it wasn’t to be.

I never started.

In fact, no one did.

For reasons beyond the control of the race organisers, the race was cancelled. It was on the advice of the police, and there is no doubt that the correct decision was made. Nothing else could be done. There was too much risk, too much at stake. It was worth disappointing over 4000 runners if it meant keeping them safe, and I agree completely with the decision.

Still, it was crushing.

I started training for this half marathon three months ago. It was to be my first race in a long, long time. In those three months I suffered injury, ran more miles than I have ever ran, and learned a lot about my own body and about what suits my needs as a runner.

Perhaps more importantly I enjoyed my running more than ever.

The training, even without the race at the end of it, has not been a waste.

It was frustrating standing there in the pouring rain in the starter pens, the ground beneath our feet turning boggy, our bodies turning cold, but as we waited others scrambled to ensure our safety. In the end it could not be ensured.

The race had to be cancelled.

There will be more races.

My plan post-half was to pivot towards 10ks, whilst building a solid base of miles over the winter months to allow me to assess my situation in the new year and build towards something new – another half marathon in another country perhaps. This plan will not change. I intend to run two 10k races in November, and to continue the slow increase in miles that the half-marathon training has honed my body for.

It was a wet, frustrating day at the end of a very successful, albeit difficult, 12 weeks of training. This period has not come with the great challenge and fanfare of the target race, but I have always been a great believer in Murphy’s Law: anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Eventually.

It did all go wrong on the 13th October 2019, but it does not negate the 12 weeks that came before, and it will not ruin whatever follows.

There will be more races.

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