My First Half Marathon: Handy Cross Runners Wycombe Review

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My journey with running started earlier this year, when for a reason unbeknownst to me, I decided to enter myself into a 10K run.

To be honest, there were a few reasons I wanted to run it. I had decided to start taking blogging more seriously in January 2016 and hadn’t done much exercise over the Christmas period. I decided that I really wanted to step my fitness up a notch. I have always enjoyed setting myself challenges and thought this was adequate enough to keep me motivated.

In addition, my fitness enthusiast and blogger friend, Timea, recommended the Richmond 10k to me as it is a flat course and great for beginners. I loved running along the Thames and the route was wonderful. You can read my post on my 10k here. After enjoying the 10k and rejoining the gym, I felt ready and fit enough to endure the half marathon.


Park-runs! These are free runs held in parks all over the country, on a Saturday morning at 9.00.  Fantastically run and well managed, these events actually make running… Wait for it… Enjoyable!! “Gasp” yes, I actually discovered that I enjoy running and look forward to the 5k distance every week. You feel so accomplished for the rest of the day while you wait for your race time to be emailed to you! My current personal best is 31.18, after three trials, although I’m certain I can reduce it to under 30 minutes now!

It was my theory that if you have a standard level of fitness with training by running 5ks, a 10k and going to gym classes regularly, you will be able to complete a half marathon. That’s not to belittle the amount of training you need to do, just merely to say that you could get by on little training, granted you may not get a very fast time! Although my theory was proved right, more training would have made it substantially easier and more enjoyable!

There is also a couch to 5k program which I have heard about and there are lots of tips and training advice on Runner’s World.


My outfit consisted of Nike black shorts, with a zip pocket in the back great for storing nutrition gels or Mp3 players. In my case, I ran with an iPod Nano & Apple earphones, which I use a Nike black sweatband to hold in place whilst I’m running. I also wore a very lightweight, black, breathable top from Nike and Nike running socks (I swear by them!). Lastly and most importantly, were the shoes. I went with my Nike blue running shoes. Yes maybe I do have a little bit of a thing for Nike!

Nutrition: on the morning of the race, I had a banana, a bowl of crunchy nut cornflakes, a coffee and a chocolate cookie :/ not sure that’s allowed but hey !

During the race there were about four water stops. I didn’t want to stop for long so I missed the first two stops and then had a cup of water at the last two water stations.

About three quarters through the race, I had a caffeine gel (SiS GO Gel + Caffeine Cola Flavour 60ml) which was great! I’ll definitely be using these again. I think it’s best to have more than one since I could have done with another one for motivation nearer the end.

Race Day

The race started and ended on Sunday 10th July, in Adams Park in High Wycombe, home to the Wycombe Wanderers football stadium.

The first stretch was pleasant until the first hill came a cropper, and I realised this wasn’t going to be an easy couple of hours. At the top of the hill came the divide where half marathon runners run left and 10kers run right. This was time to separate the men from the boys . Well, that was the prevailing thought in my mind, although secretly I was toying with the idea of rebelling and running the wrong route. How would the computer chip timing chips cope?

After an hour and a half, my iPod stopped working, so I ran the last stretch without music. Motivation for me is very important when running so I just sang a few songs over and over in my head. It made it more difficult but not impossible to keep running at a faster pace.

The last 5k I found very difficult as there weren’t many signs saying how long you have left and once you come out of the course which was mainly in the woods and the grass, it became quite monotonous running along the roadside. I began to become quite emotional near the end of the race and I think it may have been due to exhaustion as this is not usually like me.

Overall I definitely wouldn’t recommend this course for beginners, but I still enjoyed it and I think the hills made reaching the finish line all the more worthwhile!

At the end of the race, as I ran into the Wycombe Wanderers stadium, having people cheer you in as you run into the stadium was amazing. You then receive a goody bag, including food, mars bar (which didn’t last long), a banana, water and a t-shirt amongst other things.



After the race, I did some light stretching before driving home although I think I should have stretched for longer. The day after my legs were quite stiff and it took me a few days to feel back on top form. Overall I’m happy with h0w the race went, although for the next one I’d do a few things differently! (More gels, longer training period, iPod working with better playlist! to name a few.)


  1. Timea
    7 Aug 2016 / 2:18 pm

    Welcome to the ‘club’ of half marathoners! So what’s the next challenge? 😉

    • 7 Aug 2016 / 10:16 pm

      Thank you! Feels good to be in the club.. hmm Still deciding.. watch this space 😉

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