As part of my Tokyo marathon preparation, I took part in the Victoria Park Half Marathon, to gain an idea of where I am pace wise, and as away to help me prepare a race strategy for Tokyo.
Firstly I’m going to start with a race review, and secondly I’ll then review some of my SOAR running clothing, worn in the chilly 2°C temperatures.
Victoria Park Half Marathon Pros:
- Well organised race.
- Despite the cold, the race marshals were enthusiastic and supportive.
- 4 laps around Victoria Park. Once I became familiar with the course, I could use course reference points to help me stay in the moment, and this helped me focus on what particular mile I was in during the race.
- The organisers emailed the official results on the day.
- Flat course which is good for PR’s.
- Accurate course, my GPS Garmin watch and the distance markers were in line.
- Not to busy, so it was easy to run my own race from the start.
Victoria Park Half Marathon Cons:
- This point is impacted by the weather. If this is your first half marathon there weren’t many crowds, and if you may need crowd motivation this will be tough, as there are long stretches when your running alone.
- The cups at the water station. I can’t run and drink from a cup without the water going everywhere, bar my mouth.
- The course is shared with the public, which can be frustrating at times due to the dodging and weaving.
- If this is your first half marathon, there are no official photos taken during the race. The organisers do state this prior, they take photos of the winners, and general ones of the warm up. However I think they could revisit this policy.
- The medal quality isn’t great. It looks abit cheap and the half marathon text is very small and the print quality had partially faded on my medal.
Would I run it again?
Yes. It’s a great event to go and run a PR, it’s not crowded and the marshals were great.
Overall race thoughts:
The first mile I ran very conservatively, and this extended into the early and middle sections of the race. I was quite negative in my thinking, on one hand I was aiming for 1:30ish finish but this was in debate with a feeling that I’d hit the wall and struggle. However the wall never came and I had a really strong finish, with the last mile being my fastest, as I pushed to try and get in the 1:30s territory. It’s frustrating because I know I could of pushed more, and played it too safe.
The lesson learnt is if you don’t fully believe in something you definitely won’t achieve it. Whereas if you do believe, your more likely to achieve it, even if you don’t achieve it at least you tried.
My official time was 1:41:35, considering that I’ve had such a short marathon training build up, as I’ve been managing injuries before Christmas, I’m happy with the progress and now it’s about moving forward and building on the progress, in Tokyo and beyond.
Race kit review:
For this review I’m solely focusing on the top half of my kit where I wore the SOAR running men’s base layer top and the Softshell Jacket.
SOAR men’s base layer top:
In colder weather, it’s a vital piece of kit that I wear under a top or jacket etc. I find it’s really comfortable and it keeps me warm due to the compressed fit. Alternatively it can be worn as a stand alone item in warmer weather.
It’s made using quality materials (merino wool and silk knit). Basically this means that compared to synthetic materials it helps wick sweat away quicker from the body, which helps keep me cool and dry whilst running. The benefit with the bonding detail comprising of flat-locked seams helps reduce chafe.
Also merino wool is naturally antibacterial, and it smells fresh run after run.
SOAR Softshell Jacket:
This is my go to jacket when the temperature drops. Despite the cold weather during the race it doesn’t allow me to overheat, keeping me at a comfortable temperature as the fabric draws sweat away quickly, whilst keeping me warm. However if you do get too warm, there is the extra feature of the two zipped under-arm vents which can give you more ventilation.
There are two rear pockets, which snugly hold my iPhone and keys comfortably. The pockets are nicely fitted so there is limited bounce whilst running. Overall the jacket fits very comfortably and is my staple running jacket in colder weather, however you can wear the softshell jacket next to the skin in milder conditions.
Also I like the fact it has integrated built in mitts, so I can keep my arms fully covered if wearing with gloves.
I’ve covered a small selection of the kit, which is much broader for both Male and Female sections, however if your looking for quality performance running clothing, have a look at the website www.soarrunning.com