The race used the ‘Hollycombe steam in the country’ park as a start and finish, which was a picturesque old rail station with good facilities. It was easy to find and no problems parking.
I went with a friend and we had both entered the half marathon, I was nervous not because of the race but because the guys at Tribe had asked me to take the race warm up! So it was I found myself looking at 550 eager runners on a chilly November morning with a microphone. I like to think it went well, I kept it simple with the sole aim of getting the legs warm and the old engine fired up plus some very basic stretching of the hamstrings and hip flexors. Had a few people say it was an enjoyable warm up, so happy with that.
After taking the warm up everyone turned round and I found myself at the back of the pack! So when the start came I was weaving my way through the crowds getting to the sharp end, this didn’t slow me down too much and before long I was settling into my pace and enjoying the scenery. It definitely ranks as one of the most scenic half marathons I have done, I would say 80% was forest trails. I did my usual practice of missing tape and running down the wrong turns to be shouted back by the bloke behind, so I added a bit on to my mileage, totally on purpose. Ahem.
The end saw some big hills to traverse and by 24km I was looking at my watch and thinking ‘where is the finish line?’ But sure enough after a sharp corner I saw the end and finished with a strong push to cross the line in 1:57 for 24.4km.
This saw me 20th out of 300, a good result but also laughing at the fact that looking at my friends race he had run about a km less than me and my pace was 10s faster per km. He was 13th! Really need to get my chin up and look out for those course markings. Plonker!
Still very happy with how I ran and the race was a great bit of training for my next big outing ‘the Cheviot Goat’ in December. After the race the organisers had fire pits out, the Sun was shining and pizza was getting cooked. Everyone hung out chatting and it was a really great atmosphere. This is how every race should end. What a great way to spend a Saturday.
Highly recomend this race, superb organising and a really cracking route. Watch out for those hills at the end!