This year I had a goal to reach. Last year the Swansea half marathon was my first half marathon, so it was all about the finishing. Now this year I was going in with a focus and a time. Sub 2 hours. The Swansea half is an amazing race. This was the whole reason I started running. I also wanted to see how far I have come from a year ago. When I woke up I never been so nervous, more than any race so far. Just thinking if I didn’t reach my time, it would be a failure. I travelled down with a friend from Gi Joe’s, Helen.

It was her first half marathon so I made sure she was comfortable and put her mind at ease. Her goal was just to finish. She was so excited and slightly nervous. I also met up with Lauren, a great friend and someone who inspires me a lot. She also had a time in mind, but had suffered a few injuries so just running it was an achievement for her.

It started to hammer down at first, everyone had a slight panic. Thinking this would be the weather for the day. Then suddenly as if it was planned, as soon as we set off the sun came out. The weather was on our side and it was stunning to see so many runners. There were thousands. So much more than last years. So time for me to get started, so I knew from working out my pace and expected time. I need to hit each mile at 9 minutes and slightly under. This sounds easy but for 13 solid miles it would be a tough ask.

First mile came, now this one is quite hard to pace and control yourself. Because of the sheer amount of people it’s hard to mannover around people, so any gaps you see you spring for room. Just until the wave starts to spread out. First mile complete 9.32. So now next mile I have to shave 30 seconds off. It was a long 2 hours of catch and chase seconds. Mad when you look at it now, then it was do or die stuff. First few miles started to get comfortable and hit each time under. Was lovely to see so many people I know.

Some I knew were running, some I was surprised to see. There were some awsome fancy dress as ever especially the angry bird. The costume by the way. The volunteers did an excellent job looking after us and supplying us with gels and waters. Was a hot day so we needed more than normal. Thank you guys. Mile 8 came and I was doing really well. Felt comfortable at a fast pace, amazing support by the crowd helped a lot.

Just 5 miles to go. Mile 10. Now it’s going to be very close to finish. I have 27 minutes to complete 3 miles, I’m starting to feel tired now. The heat has been hard to deal with, legs getting tired now. So close. 1 mile to go. I gave it everything I had. The wind street cobbles slowed my down, I’m dripping in sweat from the heat. I am so close. I can see the finish line. The crowd cheering and roaring as you get closer.

I hear my parents shouting, few of my friends shouting. Finished 1:57:58. I’m nearly sick, so happy. Never had this rush before. An amazing feeling. All that focus, sense of achievement. I managed to get it under 2 hours. Super pleased. This time last year I hit the time 2:12:29. I’ve knocked off 15 minutes.

What a difference a year can make. Last year I was just finishing, now I’m chasing PB’s.

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