When I ran the Tewkesbury half marathon last month, it was my 12th half marathon. I thought it would be interesting to look back on how my half marathon times have changed in over 20 years.
I ran my first half marathon in 1995. Yes, 1995. There were no times on the internet, email or text. I would have looked my time up in the newspaper the following day – on the shelf in the newsagent because I couldn’t afford to buy my own newspaper.
Fast forward 15 years and I was running at the same pace as I’d run in my early 20s. For a while, my half marathon times were a few seconds either side of the two hour mark (with one big blip in Bristol 2011). Then in 2013, my time got down to 1 hour 55 and it never went back up to two hours again.
That’s one of the many good things about half marathon running. While in many sports, I would be declining, at 44, I’m still in my prime and still getting gradually faster and stronger.
So this is how my half marathon times have changed over the course of more than 20 years:
- Nottingham 1995 – 2 hours (there would have been some seconds too, but I don’t remember what they were!)
- Nottingham 1996 – 1 hour 57 minutes (Ditto re the seconds)
- Bath 2011 – 1 hour 59 and 54 seconds
- Bristol 2011 – 2 hours 6 minutes and 46 seconds (my blip!)
- Bristol 2012 – 2 hours and 12 seconds
- Forest of Dean 2013 – 1 hour 59 minutes and 34 seconds
- Cheltenham 2013 – 1 hour 55 minutes and 13 seconds
- Cheltenham 2014 – 1 hour 51 minutes and 55 seconds
- Cheltenham 2016 – 1 hour 55 minutes and 24 seconds
- Cheltenham 2017 – 1 hour 52 minutes and 8 seconds
- Stroud 2017 – 1 hour 49 minutes and 52 seconds
- Tewkesbury 2018 – 1 hour 49 minutes and 33 seconds
So without any special training, I am running a half marathon 11 minutes faster at the age of 44 than I did at the age of 21. And if the last few years are anything to go by, I don’t think I’ve necessarily run the fastest half marathon of my life just yet!
If I can do it, anyone can. It’s never too late to start running.