First Timer Tips -
Race Day Tips – from our Bath Half runners
Are you doing the Bath Half for the first time? We recently asked our Facebook and Twitter crowd who’ve run the Bath Half before to give us their top tips.
So here they are –we’ve included some from last year too – we hope you find them useful.
Thank you to everyone who contributed.
Before the race
“Have your name printed on the front of your running shirt. It's great to have the crowd call your name, cheering you on when you’re running!”
“Get there in plenty of time so you can relax before the start.”
“Wear an old pair of trainers until ready to race. It can be muddy before the start!”
“Have an old jumper to wear to the start line which you can throw off afterwards - waiting around can get chilly!” [No bin bags please]
“It can be chilly so wear something that you don’t mind ditching at the start.”
“Make sure you follow the instructions carefully to secure your timing chip on your trainer. I didn’t and mine fell off, posted a ‘Did Not Start’!!”
“Boys – make sure you wear a quality t-shirt or else you will have very sore nipples.”
“Agree cheering and meeting points in advance with your friends and family so you can look out for them, because it will be very crowded.”
“The toilets are all very busy just before the start of the run and doing a Radcliffe is not acceptable, even for the lads!”
“Try out the sports drinks that will be on offer in advance while you’re training to make sure you’re ok with them.”
“Try things in training first – don’t eat or drink anything on race day that you don’t normally have when you’re planning a long run.”
“Take a little bit of loo roll with you – just in case!”
“Take a few jelly babies with you to see you through the last few miles.”
“If you have a target time in mind then pick up a couple of free pace bands at the Lucozade stand (as you enter the Runners Village) and stick to that.”
At the start
“At the gun don't go out too fast. Take an extra 30 seconds for the first mile. “
“If you are in the 'also rans' like me, just go with the flow for the first bit of the race, don't waste energy trying to overtake people, there is plenty of time for that along the Lower Bristol Road!”
“Remember it’s downhill at the start so be careful not to go off to fast– and remember you have to go back up it at the end!”
“It's really crowded at the start so use it as an excuse to start slowly don't waste energy weaving & ducking the crowd soon thins .”
During the race
“Find a group running at your pace and join them. They will keep you going without you pushing too hard or beyond your ability.”
“There is water and Lucozade on offer as you go round but don’t drink tonnes of it – drink as much as you normally in training. Drinking too much can be very dangerous.”
“Hydration is important - don't get tempted to over drink because it sloshes around in your tum; on the other hand most people will need to take on some fluid during the race. Best thing is to not change from whatever rehydration regime has worked for you during training - even if you find it hard to ignore the free drinks on the way round ;-)”
“Always run at your own pace – don’t try and compete with anyone around you.”
“Try to relax and enjoy the crowd, and the runners around you – watch your speed as you’ll probably run faster because of the adrenaline.”
“There’s loads of support all the way round – even if you walk a bit, finishing is really fantastic – Good Luck!”
“Try a smile as you’re coming down the home straight – it will feel great!”
“Love the Heart FM stage at Churchill Bridge and the steel band in Queen Square – they really motivate you!”
After the race
“Don’t forget to stretch afterwards – it’s so easy to forget in the excitement of finishing.”
“Allow extra time to get out of Bath afterwards and check the race Twitter feed for updates on traffic.”
See you on race day everyone!
Race Day Information -
Race Day information Blog Post 20 Feb
Thank you to everyone who has asked us race day related questions this week via Twitter and Facebook or who have telephoned Bath Half HQ.
This is a massive post - we’re aiming to answer as many questions as possible and we’ll pick up any others in next week’s race newsletter. That way we hope you will be totally up to speed and ready to really enjoy your race day – which is just over a week away!
Our Bath Half mobile site is now available – we hope that runners and spectators with smart phones will find this a useful resource. The mobile site address is http://www.bathhalfmobile.co.uk or you can find the mobile site via our main site (you will be asked on arrival whether you would like to view the mobile version).
Before the race
Please listen to your body
The most important piece of advice we can give at this stage is to listen to your body. If you’re injured or are unwell (with a fever or vomiting or diarrhoea) 7-10 days before a race then you shouldn’t take part. This is always the hardest thing to say to runners, and it is the last thing that runners want to do, but it is a really important health message and one that should be taken seriously. There are lots of nasty bugs around at the moment – we’ve been suffering here at Bath Half HQ – and some viruses can cause serious long-term health problems if you push yourself for endurance events like half marathons
If you are faced with this decision and decide to pull out then please let us know via our online cancellation form and return your race pack by race day. We can then offer you a guaranteed place for 2014 at the discounted early bird rate - guaranteed until the end of August
What to eat and drink
We’ve had quite a few questions about this and so our main point is not to do anything different for race day than you would when you do your long runs in training. There’s some great information about nutrition and hydration over on the Runners Medical Resource website which is well worth reading
Race numbers and timing chips
Please check that your race number matches the number on the front of the envelope and timing chip. If not please contact the event office email: email@example.com or phone 01225 422255. The IPICO timing chip that you have received records your race time – if you don’t wear it you won’t be recorded in the results. Tie the chip onto one shoe using the tags provided – see the diagram provided with it. Do not wear or carry your chip anywhere else or it may not work.
Arriving at the race
Trains & Buses
First Great Western has informed us that there will be extra services provided on race day, although these will not show on published timetables or be pre-bookable. They have provided us with a timetable that we have added to our website
We are also very pleased that there will be additional park & ride buses in service from the Lansdown, Odd Down and Newbridge Park & Rides. The Lansdown and Odd down sites have been expanded with extra capacity this year. Park & Rides are a good option for runners but please be warned that the more popular sites at Lansdown and Newbridge are often full by 8.30am on race day.
Bath Racecourse have also let us know that they will be running their Premier Park & Ride Service on race day. You can find out more details from their website.
Road Closures & Parking
There is no parking available at the venue but all Park & Ride sites will be open. In previous years these have all been full before 8.30am so get there early and expect to have to queue to get on the buses. Have a quick look at your race map and identify alternative city centre car parks in case you get to the Park & Ride and it’s already full.
You have all been sent a race day map in your packs (it’s small enough to bring with you on the day). This is also downloadable available on the Bath Half website. City Centre car parks are indicated on this map. You can also view this map on the mobile version of our website.
There will be over 12,000 competitors plus an estimated 30,000 spectators converging on Bath at a similar time so please plan ahead. Be aware that road closures and parking suspensions will operate on streets adjacent to Great Pulteney Street for the entire day, and on the course route from 9.45am to about 2.30pm.
Further parking suspensions will operate on designated access routes for ambulances and buses in Oldfield Park, Bathwick, Walcot and Newbridge. All affected areas have been clearly signposted in the weeks leading up to race day.
So once you made it into Bath be sure to make use of all the entertainment that is provided in the Runners Village. To reduce congestion at the Runners Village there is a one way pedestrian system in operation with footpath closures on some streets around Great Pulteney Street. All access to the Runners Village and the start pens will be from the back of the Sports Centre on North Parade Road.
Follow the red signs to the Runners Village – via North Parade Road.
Follow the blue signs for spectators to the start
Please check your race day maps and plan your route to avoid frustration on the day. Diversion signage and stewards will be in place to assist. There will be toilets in the Runners Village – some for spectators and some for runners. These do get exceptionally busy and you will need to queue. There is a church service in the Runners Village at 09.00am. Changing facilities and the baggage tent are open from 09.00am.
Race Weekend Help Desk
The help desk in the information tent in the Runners Village will be open on Saturday 2 March between 10am -4pm and on Sunday 3 March between 8am and 4pm.
Luggage Tag for Baggage Tent
If you want to leave your kit in our baggage tent please tear off the detachable tag at the bottom of your race number and thread through the end handle of your bag. All baggage is left at the owners own risk and the organisers cannot be responsible for any loss or damage caused by the use of these facilities
Start of the race
To get over 12,000 runners off to a flying start and to reduce congestion at the start runners are seeded our according to their estimated finishing time with the faster runners at the front and slower ones at the rear. There will be seven numbered start pens in three colour blocks– white, green and orange. The pen you have been allocated will be on your race number. Each group will enter their start pen from a different exit off the Runners Village so please take time to look at your map.
You can move back to a slower start pen if you want to, but not forward into a faster pen. We will start calling runners to the start at 10am – it takes us quite a while to assemble all 12,000 of you!
Whichever start bay you are in you will receive your own personal chip time. Bring an old hoodie or jumper to keep your warm, you can discard it at the side of your pen just before the start, and these will be recycled by one of our race charities. Please do not bring plastic bin bags to wear – we have had runners who’ve tripped over these and badly injured themselves. They also just end up in landfill.
All runners will be asked to show their race numbers included your next of kin and medical details on the back of your race number before entering your start area. It’s a good idea to complete this information before travelling to the race.
2-lap race and the headphone issue
The Bath Half is the only major half marathon in the UK that has a 2-lap course which makes us a little different. Most runners will be lapped by the lead runners – overtaking from behind running three times faster than you. We therefore need our runners to be able to hear our marshal’s safety instructions as the lead runners and escort vehicles approach. You will not be able to hear them if you are using headphones - if you must wear headphone please leave one earpiece off. It’s really important
Bath also is home to the Bath Royal United Hospital– a major hospital serving a wide catchment area in the south west. Occasionally we have to issue instructions to our runners to give way to emergency vehicles. Again, you need to be able to hear our marshals to assist them in helping the emergency services.
There is lots musical entertainment, cheering stations and so much support from spectators as you make your way around the course and we hope you will enjoy this – we get really great feedback from our runners about the atmosphere at the Bath Half.
A major concern for runners is often around being able to use the loo – there are toilets provided on the verge in Green Park just after the 1 mile marker and then at every first aid post and drink station around the course (approx every two-thirds of a mile). Many runners drink far too much on race day – which is unnecessary and can be dangerous. Try to moderate your fluid intake – do as you would do on a training run – you don’t need special treatment on race day.
The exact measured point of each mile mark will be spray-painted on the roadway, but these marks can be difficult to see if you are running in a large group. Signs will also be fixed on the nearest lamp post – but these can be several metres away from the mile mark itself. There will also be digital clocks displaying the ‘gun’ time on the start/finish gantry and at the 10K point.
And of course some race day tips for your hard working support team too...
There will be two signposted meeting points plus a meeting point for children after the Fun Run in the middle of the Runners Village. These are good places to arrange to meet your supporters after the race, avoiding some of the more crowded locations. Look out for the meeting point banners and don’t rely on mobile phones at the event to make your arrangements – at peak times during larger events mobile networks are often overloaded due to the volume of calls.
The Bath Half is well regarded as a family friendly race, and for its fantastic crowd support from local residents and visitors alike. The most popular places to watch the race are at the start and finish in Great Pulteney Street and more accessible points on the course, particularly at Churchill Bridge, Green Park, Park Lane and Queen Square. To get a good viewpoint at these locations you will need to arrive 45mins to 1 hour before race start, and at peak times the pavements may become too crowded for infants, elderly or the infirm.
As an alternative there are some great family friendly viewing spots at quieter locations around the course (for instance the Royal Victoria Park playground) adjacent to facilities such as toilets, cafes, play areas for children and parking. A number of churches on the course route will also be staying open during the race to offer refreshment, shelter or a meeting point for spectators and runners – and to support their own runners. Facilities on offer vary with each church – some include play areas for children, tea, coffee and toilets.
The race venue, city centre and central car parks will be very crowded on race day, so allow extra time for your journey, to get into and out of the Runners Village, for the toilets and to get a good viewing point.
For safety’s sake, spectators must follow marshals’ instructions in crossing the road. Do not encroach onto the carriageway or obstruct either the runners, race officials or the medical team. Please do not smoke near runners or other spectators. Please respect local residents and take your own rubbish home with you or use the bins provided! The toilets in the Runners Village, at first aid posts and drinks stations are designated for runners’ use. Separate toilets are provided for spectators in the Runners Village, but expect these to be busy, particularly before the start of the race.
Crossing the line
The digital clock on the finish gantry will show your provisional ‘gun’ finishing time. The IPICO timing chip on your shoe will automatically record your start and finish time as you pass over the timing mats on the start line, plus your intermediate time at the 10K point, from this we can calculate your actual ‘chip’ running time published in the official results.
The finish line in the Bath Half is busier than the landing runway in an international airport, with over 150 runners crossing the line every minute at peak time! It is also the most likely place for collapse and serious medical problems. It is not the place to wait for friends or enjoy the view. It is essential we keep the finish area clear to avoid runners backing up across the line behind you, and to allow us space to identify and treat casualties and collapsed runners around you. Highland Spring bottled water is provided 50 metres from the finish line around the corner in William Street. Bottled water in the finish area is for medical casualties only.
If you feel sick or unwell at the finish move to the side of the finish area and ask for assistance from the marshals and medical team who are on hand and trained to help you. Otherwise please leave the finish area immediately after finishing the race, and do not linger in the finish area or goody bag area. Runners will not be allowed to re-enter the finish area after collecting their goody bag – and will exit via the Lower Gate into the Runners Village. We recommend that you pre-arrange to meet supporters and fellow competitors at one of the designated meeting points in the Runners Village.
Goody bags will be handed to half marathon in Runners Village just after the finish area. In addition to the medal and an event t-shirt for all half marathon finishers you can purchase other official half marathon race merchandise on the day from the Information Tent.
Post race massage
Enjoy the benefits of a pre or post event massage at this year's Bath Half by visiting the Massage Tent in the Race Village. In return for a £5 minimum donation to local event charities you can just drop in (no need to pre-book) or you can choose to ‘fast-track’ your post-event massage by registering your details and making your cash donation before the race. Our assembled team of 40 experienced masseurs will be ready to give a relaxing 10 minute sports massage (mostly legs) in a comfortable and friendly environment.
We hope to get race results up on to the Bath Half website by the Sunday evening (3 March).
Bath Half 2014
Entries for the 2014 Bath Half will open on Monday 4 March 2013!
Hydration for Runners -
Hydration for Runners - 1 February 2013
We’re often asked questions by our runners, particularly those who are new to running half marathons, about how much they should be drinking on race day, and sometimes we’re asked about hydration in training too.
So much information
A quick Google search will show you that there is a lot of advice out there - what to drink, when to drink and how much to drink. We thought a blog post might help cut through the overwhelming mass of misinformation and also help runners begin to think about practising their hydration strategy throughout their training; discovering what suits them so that they can feel confident they know what their body will need during training and on race day too.
A balancing act
Hydration is a balancing act and something that is obviously personal to your own body, and the weather conditions on any particular day.
Extreme dehydration isn’t a desirable state, but it is quite normal to experience mild dehydration at the end of a training session or race, and this can be easily rectified by taking on fluid.
On the other hand drinking too much can (rarely, but still it happens) lead to something called Hyponatraemia (low levels of sodium in the blood), which in extreme cases can be fatal. There sadly have been fatal incidences of this at UK races in recent years, including half marathons. In milder cases it can still make runners pretty unwell – which isn’t really something you want while you’re training for or running a half marathon.
A rough guide to drinking
With all that in mind how do you know if you’re drinking too much or not enough? The Runners Medical Resource website (which BATHALF and other leading UK races created to support our runners) says the following:
Fluid lost in sweat must be replaced; otherwise your body will become dehydrated (short of water) and less efficient. Alcoholic drinks and drinks containing caffeine – such as tea and coffee – can be dehydrating. Take plenty of non-alcoholic drinks with you when you run, especially when training in hot weather. Drink enough to keep your urine a pale straw colour. Also, drink plenty of liquids after training – especially after long runs – and practise drinking during longer training runs. You could also try drinking sports energy drinks in training to see if you like them.
Drink plenty of fluids and preferably no alcohol in the two days before a race. DO NOT drink excessively before, during or after a race, as you may get hyponatraemia
Don’t turn up at the gym or go for a run dehydrated, you should be fully hydrated prior to taking any exercise. Dehydration is easy to detect, when you pass water make sure that it is as clear as possible. The darker the colour of your urine, the more dehydrated you are. Also the frequency with which you pass urine can indicate whether you are drinking enough, if you only pass water once or twice a day it’s time to consider drinking more fluid.
So what should I drink when I am exercising?
When you are exercising for less than an hour; water or a hypotonic drink such as Lucozade Sport (a drink providing more water than carbohydrate) is the best to take. This is recommended for people who are at the gym or running for less than an hour. If you are unsure about whether you have had enough fluid before you exercise, try to keep a ‘drinking diary’. This will help you remember to keep hydrated and maintain your fluid intake throughout the day before you exercise.
Drinking on a race day
Start a race well hydrated by slowly drinking up to half a pint (250ml) of water or Lucozade Sport in the half hour before the start. Do not be greedy and take extra drinking water from drinks stations during the race to pour over yourself, as you may be depriving slower runners of much needed drinks. Only take water if you need a drink. If it is unduly hot, additional water will be provided and showers will be set up on the race course – so use these to cool yourself, rather than using drinking water.
Although it wasn’t hot enough for cold showers to be set up for last year’s BATHALF it was a surprisingly warm day which affected many of our runners. Although runners are currently battling snow and ice to do their training, the weather could be much warmer come March and you will need to make sure you have an idea of how much fluid you should be taking on board in warmer temperatures.
Your drinking needs for a race will vary according to your build, your speed and above all the weather, as these affect how much you sweat.
Faster runners (for example, runners who are aiming to run at 8min mile pace or under) on a warm day may need as much as a litre of fluid per hour (two pints). Slower runners should need less – particularly on a cool day – and should not drink more than 500ml per hour.
There will be frequent water stations on your race route, but YOU DO NOT NEED to drink at each one. Instead, just swallow a mouthful of water occasionally. If you like Lucozade Sport, and have tried this in training, have one of these instead of or as well as water.
At the BATHALF we alternate our drink stations Highland Spring Water: 2 miles, 5 miles, 8 miles, 10.5 miles, 12.5 miles Lucozade Sports Drinks (orange flavour): 4.5 miles, 10 miles. Further water and energy drinks are provided after the finish of the half marathon and fun run
Please try to safely dispose of your bottles: drop them onto the roadway along the side of the kerb away from other runners and leave the caps off as this helps the clear up. If you can, drop them at the next drink station. Don't throw them into hedges, verges or gardens – throwing them can also injure volunteers & runners.
After finishing a race, DO NOT drink large amounts of water. You can only rehydrate (replace lost fluids) gradually over the next 24-48 hours. Eat some salty food as well as spacing out your drinks; by doing this you will not get hyponatraemia and will replace the water salt and glycogen lost when running the race.
Some of our runners on Facebook asked specifically about sports drinks. The really important thing to say is if you haven’t trained using a sports drink such as Lucozade Sport, then race day is not the time to try something new. What you decide to drink is a personal thing – many runners like drinking water alone where as others like to drink sports drinks some like a little of each. If you would like to try using drinks other than water then please do try them in your training.
Lucozade have done a short video about hydration and nutrition featuring Liz and Martin Yelling, who are this year’s BATHALF official training partners.
We hope that you’ve found this information useful – looking forward to seeing you all on race day.
Surviving Christmas - guest blog post from Martin Yelling -
We're delighted to have a guest blog post this month from Martin Yelling of Yelling Performance, BATHALF 2013's official training partner. Martin is a former elite athlete with a PhD in physical activity and health promotion who is the founder and co presenter of the UK's number 1 running podcast 'Marathon Talk'.
With the festivities and frolics of Christmas nearly here it’s about time you had a think about how, when and perhaps if your training for the Bath Half 2013 is going to fit in. The festive holiday period usually means a little extra time off work but more time spent travelling, shopping, wrapping and worrying about oven times than run times! It’s important to acknowledge the change in workload, family commitments and social engagements and tweak your running to find balance with everything going on without losing a grip on your training, your goals or your sanity! Here are a few tips for staying on top of your training for the Bath Half next year.
Plan. It may sound dull but identifying a time to run in your week will definitely help you protect your opportunity to run. This might not be the same time you’d normally run at. It may involve getting up extra early so you can get your run done and your final last minute shopping in, or fitting in your run around family and other festive commitments. Be flexible though and don’t panic if you miss a run here and there.
Party on. Holidays, office parties, family gatherings and other social get-togethers are perfect germ swapping occasions. Being ill over Christmas is not good in anyone’s books. Washing your hands regularly, staying well hydrated (with water not alcohol!) and not getting over stressed or over tired will help you combat the dreaded festive lurgy and help you stay on top of your running.
Stuff the turkey not yourself. Christmas may be a time for too many mince pies, a little wine indulgence, time with loved ones, family and friends and of course turkey with everything! Reaching for another sausage roll, savory bite or sweet treat over the festive period isn’t going to ruin your fitness or your waistline but might affect how you feel when you run.
Let yourself go. Try and put aside a little time each day to relax. With so much going on around Christmas it’s easy to keep piling on the personal pressure and burn the candle at both ends. As little as 10mins a day of relaxing downtime can help you meet the demands of a busy Christmas and feel more ready, focused and sharp for any running you.
Doing a little regular running over the Christmas period will certainly help you maintain some fitness into the New Year. Even a little running is better than nothing than at all but don’t stress if you miss running. Once January hits you’ll certainly be ready and focused for gearing up for the Bath Half in March. If you’re looking for some motivation then why not give the Marathon Talk spring challenge a whirl. Jantastic is free to register and will help you stay on track as you prepare for the Bath Half on 03.03.2013. Check out http://www.marathontalk.com/jantastic
Tips for your Bath Half fundraising -
Tips for your Bath Half fundraising
28 November 2012
As nearly 12,000 runners crossed the finish line on a gloriously sunny day back in March, they had more than just the completion of 13.1miles to be proud of - our amazing Bath Half runners had raised a staggering £1.5million for charity.
Since 2000 our Bath Halfers have raised over £11.5million making the Bath Half the largest single day fundraising event in the South West, second only to the Glastonbury Festival.
As well as money raise by our runners for their chosen charities, many runners also choose to make an optional voluntary donation to the Bath Half Marathon Fund when they enter the race. The Fund was set up through the Quartet Community Foundation in 2003 specifically to benefit smaller charities and voluntary groups within Bath & North East Somerset who lack fundraising resources to market their own places at the Bath Half. Thanks to our runners’ generosity plus gift aid and match funding from the government; over the last ten years we have been able to distribute just under £120,000 to more than 100 different local charities and voluntary groups through the Fund.
This year, our lead charity is Coppafeel, a breast cancer charity raising awareness of the disease amongst young people and aiming to reduce deaths from breast cancer. Coppafeel is inviting a ‘hundred hooters’ to run with them at this year’s Bath Half. If you’re keen, the get in touch with Maren Hallenga on 07585504255 or firstname.lastname@example.org
We are also supporting the following charities. All of their details can be found on our website by clicking on their names below:
Bath Cats & Dogs Home
RUH Forever Friends Appeal
Teenage Cancer Trust
So if you’re running for charity, here are our top five tips for successful fundraising - some of them we took from the Virgin Money Giving site, as they were too good not to include:
Set up a Virgin Money Giving page.
www.virginmoneygiving.com is the official fundraising website of the Bath Half Marathon. You can create a fundraising page and start collecting sponsorship in minutes. Virgin Money Giving doesn't take a penny in profit so they can keep their charges really low. That means charities will receive an extra £1 for every £30 donation compared to JustGiving. The page is then yours for life and can be used for the Bath Half and every other charity event you take part in.
Tell people your story
People will be much more interested in your fundraising if they know your story. So make sure you go into detail about what you’re doing why you've chosen your particular charity, both on your fundraising page and in any letters or emails you send out. Get your friends and family to spread the word too. Personalise your fundraising page – perhaps with a photo of you in your running vest, or one of you training.
Use Twitter and Facebook
Social media offers both charities and fundraisers a great way to promote their cause and the work or fundraising they’re doing. Not only is it quick and easy to use, it can get your message out to a large audience of potential sponsors. Virgin Money Giving has out together some useful guides to some of the most popular sites. We saw some very funny fundraising videos that some of our Bath Halfers made this year, which they posted on You Tube and linked to via Twitter and Facebook.
Get in touch with your charity
You’ll probably find resources on your charity’s website like logos and information about their current projects. You can use this when you’re talking about the difference your fundraising will make. Many of the charities that we work with at Bath Half can offer runners (not just those who are running with a charity place) support throughout their training and on the day.
Remember to ask people to tick the gift aid box – more money will go to your charity if they do this.