Surrey Half Marathon 2023

Race Information


ASub 1:38No
BSub 1:40No
CPB (sub 1:42:30)Yes




Had trained well going into this using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 Plan, setting 5km and 10km PBs. I had been concentrating on running my slow runs below a HR of 143 and that had been working well for me. This was my second 1/2 marathon and I was looking forward to it after really enjoying my first one.


I was away travelling with work the week before the event, not sleeping so well and eating and drinking badly so maybe that had a little impact, although I felt fine on Friday and Saturday. The HRV training app I use also showed I was in a good place on Sunday morning.

I had a piece of toast at home, and made a flask of coffee then headed over to the event around 7.20. I had a banana and a flapjack bar on the way to the event, dropped my bag and visited the bathroom several times.

Weather was mild, no wind and conditions were really good so I was looking forward to a good run. I had a chia caffeine gel on the start-line and set off.


From the start I was about 100m or so behind the 1:40 pacer flags but I thought if I just keep them in sight and them aim to overtake them before the finish I should be good for a sub 1:40 time. In hindsight this was maybe a mistake and I should have got with the group and stayed with them. I wasn’t able to find a good group to sit with during the race and ended up flitting between pacers. I had some good stretches running side-by-side with various people but missed that consistent group to run with.

I felt a few niggles during the run but nothing serious. My heart rate was worryingly high at above 170 though, and I couldn’t really get into the audiobook I was listening to. The pace was good and I was still in sight of the pacing group so all good.

Then I got to about 15k in and the wheels started coming off. This was when I was expecting to start getting my next wind, but it wasn’t happening. I had a caffeine bullet and changed onto some high-tempo music but there were a lot of people going past me now.

Legs felt incredibly heavy, I kept thinking should I stop and walk for a bit but I managed to keep moving forwards. The last 5k was really a slog, with none of the runner’s high and euphoria that I experience last time! I was also thinking that the race was 21.3k rather than 21.1 for some reason which didn’t help. Towards the end I just wanted it to be over, and I finally got across the line in 1:41:03, completely spent.


So missed the A and B goal but still a 90s PB. My 5k and 10k times suggested that I should have been faster, so I don’t know if it was the week of travel or something else but I couldn’t have done any more. I’m a bit disappointed with the performance as I really felt that based on my 5k and 10k times I was in with a chance of going sub 1:38. But only my second half-marathon so still a lot to learn.

I probably went off too fast, and should have tried to accelerate from a 4:45 min/km, rather than from a 4:40. Last time out I ran 5:00 min/km and then killed the last 5k and that was a much more enjoyable experience, although I probably left some time out there. I wonder as well if I would have done better being in the pacing group, and then just relaxing into it rather than wasting mental energy thinking about pace and who to run with.

Learnt a lot though, and I really enjoyed the training and the post-run beers. Now to find another half-marathon to do in the next few months and see if I can get under than 1:40 mark. Pretty sure I’ve got it in me with some better race-day tactics and a less-stressful week beforehand.

It’s a great event though and will definitely be back again