Oxford Half Marathon - 13th October 2019

Race Report by Kieran Hill

Recently I had the opportunity to participate in the Oxford half marathon, which was held on 13th October 2019. It was organised by Virgin Sport through a ballot system and took in a lot of the centre of the beautiful city of Oxford. The entry fee was a little expensive but with the promise of a largely flat route and the chance to run through the historic city it was something I did not want to miss. I was lucky enough to have a friend who is from Oxford and kindly came to support me on the day and it was great to have a little tour of the city the evening before the race!

It was a popular run with just over 6700 runners taking part and the winner posting an impressive time of 1:07.31. Being my first run of this length I had a goal time in the back of my head but was excited to take in the experience and run my own race to test myself. 

Unfortunately the weather on the day was pretty terrible with heavy rain coming down right from the start and at times it felt like we were swimming rather than running! Due to the weather conditions there was perhaps a little less than normal support from the general public around the route but those who did come out to brave the rain definitely spurred us all on! Jelly babies, water stations, ‘punch for power’ signs were on show and the cheers for us runners from strangers calling our names was really encouraging.

The route of the race started in the centre of the city and and made it’s way through the streets with a couple of loop backs making parts of the beginning of the route a little congested. It also gave a glimpse of the leaders as they came steaming past through mile 10 when I had just passed my mile 3 marker! The route was mainly road based and branched off onto a dual carriageway and out to a small village on the outskirts of the city, this was the quietest part of the run but was lightened by one of the sponsors of the race Michelob Ultra. Further to them rewarding every runner with a can of beer in their finishers pack at the finish line they had a banner announcing ‘Half way to Beer!’ at the midpoint of the race along the dual carriageway. The race continued back into the city before it came into the university parks for the only small off-road part of the course, this was made a little muddier due to the rain and was quite tough on the legs! The last 2 miles felt like the first 11 and as the route snaked out of the parks and back into the city I was greeted by great support and the rain had gotten lighter by that point. 

The Oxford Half Marathon is definitely a race I would recommend being flat and with great
 scenery to run the miles through. I was pleased with my time and with a t-shirt and a medal in hand I drank my beer on wobbly legs and began planning my next race!