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Are you ready? Your guide to race day
February 27, 2014 // Rachel Ellis
With just a couple of days to go to race weekend – this blog post is well worth a read so that you can feel as prepared and as relaxed as possible before you arrive at the Runners’ Village on Sunday morning.
Keeping in touch on the day
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). We will also be updating our Facebook and Twitter pages throughout the day and will post any important announcements on these pages and on our website and race day mobile site.
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 seems to be lots of nasty bugs around at the moment – 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. We can then offer you a guaranteed place for 2015 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 and we have put together a blog post about hydration
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 come to the information tent at the Runners’ Village at the weekend – Saturday from 10am-4pm and on Sunday from 8am-4pm. Saturday will be less busy. 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.
Make a plan for your support team too – knowing where to look out for them on course will give you a real boost, and pre-arranging where to meet them afterwards is a good idea as often at large events, mobile phone networks can become overloaded. We’ve written a blog post detailing some top tips for spectators.
Arriving at the race
Travelling into Bath
The disruption to transport in the South West has been well publicised in recent weeks and we have been liaising with First Great Western and the Council’s Park & Ride providers who are providing services on the day. We urge all runners and their supporters to check transport services with their provider before they travel. If you’re driving we suggest that you use Park & Ride, getting their early, and checking city centre car park locations in case Park and Ride is full when you arrive. For more information about travelling into Bath, please read this separate post
Remember that you’ll be in good company – nearly 12,000 of you will be setting off from Great Pulteney Street at 11am and the atmosphere in the runners’ village beforehand is great. Arrive early to have chance to soak it up – and please bring some warm clothes that you don’t mind discarding as you start the race. Many of our runners arrive at the village by 9am. Our help desk will be open from 8am. At 10am we will open the start pens and begin the task of getting you all into place ready for the start.
Despite some drier weather the last couple of weeks the Runners Village, which is one grass playing fields, is still very wet, and further showers are forecast. We have had to reduce the number of marquees in the Village this year to minimise construction and foot traffic on the more vulnerable areas and to prevent damage to the pitches. As we mentioned in our last newsletter, this means that we regrettably cannot offer general massage or retail facilities this year. Although we are still able to offer race merchandise in our Information tent, and charities which are offering massage within their own marquees are also unaffected.
We have laid pathway on all the main pedestrian routes across the Village, and we are confident this will keep the mud at bay, but we would ask you please to keep to these pathways, and to keep well away from any boggy areas on the grass which are fenced off for your protection – and to safeguard the pitches. As an option you may like to bring a second pair of shoes to keep your racers clean.
Further rain is forecast through the end of this week, so as a fall-back position in the very unlikely event that ground conditions seriously deteriorate we may have to make the decision to exclude spectators from the Village before the race start. This will be announced on our website – we have a mobile friendly version for race day – and our Twitter and Facebook feeds, and by stewards and public address announcements on the day.
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.
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. 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 1 March between 10am -4pm and on Sunday 2 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.
You made it!
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.
We hope to get race results up on to the Bath Half website by the Sunday evening (2 March).
Bath Half 2015!
Entries for the 2014 Bath Half will open on Monday 3 March 2014!