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Race Reports

Larne Half Marathon - Simon Knox

Larne Half Marathon 2015 - Simon Knox


In August 1983, at the age of just 18, I completed my first marathon in 3hrs 33 minutes. That was called the Antrim Coast Marathon and finished in my hometown of Larne. 
I had only really started running at school about a year beforehand when I realised I was never going to be good enough to get into the school’s 1st XV rugby team. Just 9 
years later, in April 1992 I ran my fastest ever marathon in 2 hrs 46 in London. Then for some bizarre reason I stopped running – I think I got bored!
So, moving forward another 22 years, to early 2014, I got bored again and decided to go out for a run! A few months later, in April of last year I joined DRR and I found my 
mojo again. With family back home in Larne it was an easy choice to coincide a regular visit home to coincide with the town’s half marathon last weekend, to be run on the 
same roads where I trained hard all those years ago in the 80’s.
For me, this past year at DRR has been great. New friends, new rivalries, new challenges and best of all, lots of fun and great banter or “great craic” as we Irish call it.
At the moment training is all geared towards the Manchester Marathon next month, so last Saturday’s half was a great opportunity to gauge progress. I had in my mind 
that 1hr 36 was a good target. Race day came and I was up early last Saturday, wishing I hadn’t had that sticky chilli chicken and chips last night!
I got down to the race start early and within 5 minutes I had met several friends from back in the 80’s that I had trained and raced with as a member of Larne Athletic Club 
and North Belfast Harriers -it was great to reminisce.
So down to business, 11am start and 1500 runners set off. Good crowds at the start and keen to get into my pace early actually saw me go through the first mile in 6.37 – 
my target pace for the race was 7.20. Too fast, slow down! 2nd mile 7.03. Still too fast, but I was in a small pack and going well. 3rd mile, 6.59 and feeling good. I 
eventually went through half way in 46.54 so the 1hr36 was well on, and we were to have a slight tail wind on the way home!
But, a one mile climb just beyond half way slowed me down and runners started to come past me. I was tiring, and tiring fast. Back onto the coast road and the 4 mile 
home stretch along the coast with a slight tail wind should have been comfortable but I was struggling to keep up with those around me and was to lose over 60 places on 
the home run, eventually finishing in 1:37:19
So just outside my target time, but not too disappointed. It was a glorious day, the sun shone the whole way. The crowds were encouraging and it was fantastic to hear the 
occasional “Come On Simon” from friends and family and the more frequent “Come on Dundee” from those who identified from my running vest that I had come some 
distance to take part.
So, the lesson for me from this race. Start slow, ease your way into the race, stop being paranoid about my Garmin and finally, probably best to avoid sticky chilli chicken 
and chips the night before a race.

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