First half marathon - cut off time concern

Hi all!

I have just entered my first half marathon in Chester which is about 40 days away.  It's not much time to train but my fitness has improved since the beginning of the year through a fitness trainer.  On Saturday I wanted to get an idea as to how I would cope in a half marathon and just about managed 21k myself - which I was pleased with.  My concern is that it took me 2hrs 50 mins (snail pace I know!), which is very close to the 3 hrs race cut off time for Chester.

I know I'll be devasated if I manage to complete the race and then I am not considered to have finished as I missed the cut off time. So my question is - do you normally find that your time is slower in an official race because you have crowds to deal with (dodging around slow people like me) or do you normally find that your speed picks up with people around you / adrenalin kicks in?  I guess I have got a bit of practice time between now and then, not much.

I realise that most you can probably walk faster than I will do in this run, but it is a big achievement for me - at the beginning of the year I could only run 5K.

Any advice much appreciated!




  • If you ran faster than the cut off in training - why would you run slower on the day in an actual race ? I'd say you've nothing to worry about.

    I never hit race times in practice.
  • Thanks - that's good to know.

  • Wendy, although it wasn't advisable or necessary for you to run the full race distance in advance (assuming you've never run anywhere near that far before) the fact that you managed to complete the distance by yourself after minimal training suggests you'll be absolutely fine on race day. If you felt fairly comfortable afterwards, then I'd suggest you'll probably smash that time in the race. Most people will run their fastest times in races, not training.

    Don't overtrain between now and race day, but do get some more long runs under your belt (not as long as race distance). If you can do that and stay injury free, you'll be absolutely fine on race day.

    Good luck!

  • Great - thanks for that.  I wanted to see what it felt like, which I realise wasn't particularly sensible considering I hadn't run more than 10k.  Slight knee stiffness but apart from that no problems, although a bit tired amittedly.

    Will follow your advice re training between now and then, sounds wise and manageable.

    Thanks again,


  • PG3PG3 ✭✭✭

    A few things

    - you know you can do the distance so dont worry about that.  Just keep running regularly and do some shorter but faster runs too.  These will build up your speed.

    - i am not sure how strict they are about cut offs.

    - you'll go so much faster on the day.  For example, i recently ran a 1h54 half marathon.  If i went out and tried to run more than about 4 miles at this pace, I would probably convince myself that it was impossible to run 13 mile at this pace.

    Good luck!

  • Thanks Pip, 

    Well done on your great time!  

    Yes, shorter but faster seems the way to go - I'm not sure I'd actually have the luxury of time to go on runs for 3 hrs at a time anyway.


  • What is the race cut-off time?

    The race cut-off time will be 3 hours. The road closures will be lifted from each section in turn based on a 3 hour finish time. Marshals on the road will be stood down and normal rules of the road will apply.  You will be expected to become a "prudent pedestrian" once road closures are lifted. Times for runners who finish in over 3 hours will not be listed in the final results.


    Taken from the race website, So you know you will have finished... Isn't that what counts ?

  • you will be won't be slowed down by slower runners as the majority will be be running ahead of you.........

    remember to try and not get carried away with the crowd the first few miles and run too fast.........if this happens then just slow down and get your breathe back and then try and go again at a comfortable pace....

    i never run in training as fast as i can in a race.the adrenaline and other people really help.

     good luck

  • Thanks Seren image  yes, I'll probably be the one running along as the road closures are lifted.

    I do feel much better after all the responses - most say they run faster during the race than training, and will just need to pace myself.  Suspect I over paced myself the other day because I didn't know if I could run the distance.

    More excited now!

  • you will be fine

    in one race I was behind the cut off time, but the marshals stayed anyway, the finish line was still there, I got my time listed in the results and got the backpack that was the finishers' memento for the race. I did have the timing van behind me most of the way, and when they went past me and said they had to go ahead as I was behind the cut off, they were very nice about it. That was a 2:30 cut off time

    if you have done the distance in less than the cutoff in training you will be fine on the day - just try not to go off too fast to start with. 


  • you'll be fine , you already ran it in under  the cut off time as a trial , 

    my training runs for the 10k i did were no where near my finish time on the day 

    get some steady practice in , don't forgot to rest before the event day and enjoy it image

  • Thanks everyone for the helpful replies, time to get some training in now I think image

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