BTR Liverpool Half Marathon
Three of us made our way to Liverpool on Sunday morning for the BTR Half Marathon. The weather was perfect, the race was well organised and Mark Duerden, Graham Denney and I all finished with huge smiles on our faces. PBs all round and a good time was had by all.
As usual with the city events, there was plenty of encouragement all the way round the course, including one chap sitting about a mile from the finishing line singing out the names of everyone who went passed - he must have been hoarse the day after as a 10 mile race was going on at the same time!
An emergency loo stop just before the start left Graham and I way back from the start line. We crossed the line over four minutes after the official start and I knew that hunting down the two hour pacers (they started two and half minutes in front of me) and staying in front of them would give me a PB.
As we went into the first of the three lovely parks on the route, I wiggled past the two hour pacer, and when I passed the 1:55 pacer with a mile or so to go, I knew I was in business.
But hold on a minute, something had gone wrong, all three of us checked our watches and all three of us came up short, my watch registering at 350 metres short.
Some of the start had been adjusted because of roadworks and, apparently, some of the stewards might have sent everyone down the wrong road somewhere near Sefton Park. So we return to the age old question: when is a PB not a PB?
As far as I am concerned my 1:50:03 - almost eight minutes quicker than my previous fastest effort in Manchester last year - is a massive PB. If I had run the extra 350 metres it would have taken me to somewhere around 1:51:52 and I would have been overjoyed with that time as I was trying to pace myself to 1:56.
But Strava doesn't see it. Strava gave me personal records for 15K, 10 miles and 20K but not for the half marathon distance and I should have known something had gone wrong when I didn't see a 13 mile marker board as that was when I anticipated going for my version of a sprint finish.
However I have the print out of the results and I have the text message from BTR with my finishing time, so I'm claiming it. I was comfortably within the first third of the field and easily within the top 50 in my age group (V55).
Fully armed with water, bananas, energy drink and T-shirt, I mingled through the crowds and found Mark and Graham. Mark, flying feet very much in evidence, recorded 1:33:19 for a top 20 finish in the V50 category.
And Graham went under 1:50 for just the second time in over 100 half marathons for a new PB of 1:46:44.
A good morning's work and an event I will probably run again, but will it be long enough for Strava to care?