Annette Conroy at the Bristol Half Marathon

Annette Conroy at the Bristol Half Marathon

I decided that my 3rd half marathon would be in my home town of Bristol and that I would aim for a PB and a sub 1:45 finish. The course description was fast and flat so the challenge was on. 

 I followed the club’s marathon training plan so that I would get plenty of mileage and build strength during July and August. Training went great with a 5K parkrun, 10K and 10 miles PB achieved in the lead up. Despite that these results would make my goal time a challenge. 

 Race weekend arrived and I received a text early Friday evening from Ryanair stating that there were flight cancellations and to check my e-mail. There was no e-mail so I was on tender hooks was I going to make it across to race. I finally got the e-mail 2 hours later and could breathe a sigh of relief when it was my return flight that was cancelled.  

 After an early morning flight to Bristol I headed into the city centre to collect my number from race HQ. I didn’t open the envelope containing my number for a few hours and was shocked to see that I had been put in the second wave which had pacers for 1:50 and 2 hours!! So had to head back into the city centre and was given a revised number to start in the first wave. Valuable lesson learnt to check race number / wave start on number collection!  

 Weather was as was predicted dry, bright a light breeze with temperatures of approx 12 degrees – perfect running weather. Headed into the city centre with my cheerleading squad. Got myself race ready – took off my layers and applied some lip balm. A woman came over and asked if her male friend could have some for his nipples. My friends were in hysterics as had no ideal why he needed it.   


Headed to the start area where there was a group warm up and I was constantly keeping my eyes peeled for the 1:45 pacer. I finally spotted him and I took my position behind him. The Lord Mayor of Bristol started the race; I crossed the start line about 2 minutes later.

The first 7 miles was along a dual carriage which is along the river Avon and took us under Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. I got water at the first station just past 2 miles and just before the 4 miles marker  there was a loop in the road to head back down the carriageway towards the city centre.  The next water station was just past mile 5 and the pacer Alan kindly picked up my water bottle. It was great hearing fellow club members giving shout outs along this section of the route and I was thinking of the comradely that fellow Dunboyners would have given each other. Just before 8 miles there was a runners shower to run through. This was refreshing and the next water station was just after this. Alan again picked me up my next bottle and even tucked it away in his bag carrying the pacing sign, I was given gold class service by the pacer. We had now arrived into the city centre and I was expecting to see my supporters. They spotted me and I called out – I’m bang on target!!  That was a great boast. This part of the course was now involved a few twists and turns and there were a few roads with cobblestones. I had now hit the 10 mile mark and checking my garmin I had achieved a PB of 1:18. Alan shouted, only a parkrun left that was music to my ears, the end was approaching, another water station and another shower. On reaching 12 miles and I was feeling strong so I pushed ahead of Alan. As the finish straight was in sight I could hear the crowds roaring us along and my friends had made it there and heard them calling out to me that I was nearly there. Crossed the line and stopped my garmin with 1:44:05 registering. I was delighted my hard work and training had paid off, a PB of just over 3 1/2 minutes. I collected my finishing bag which contained a drink, protein bars, my medal and finishers t-shirt. Joined my friends in a nearby pub where a few celebratory drinks were had.  

 I would highly recommend this race to anyone; for the course, organisation and facilities. I would like to thank everyone for their support and guidance during training in and for all the well wishes before and congratulations messages received after the race. Also thanks to the race pacer Alan.  

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