I’m always going to make an effort to support local races and with it being a tough course I was very familiar with and in support of a great local charity, I was looking forward to this one.
The weather was excellent for running too and my aim for the race was to run a sub 1:40 and despite this being way faster than anything I’d run before, I don’t see much point not at least aiming high!
As I knew the course, I knew in advance where I’d be able to push and where I’d be likely struggle to keep within the 7.30/mile pace as the course starts a big 1.5 mile climb almost from the start and doesn’t really go downhill until you’ve done about 6 miles and you get a seemingly welcome (the reality is more knee pounding) mile downhill into Meltham followed by a flat but fast mile and then a climb into Netherton.
It’s not the hilly half for nothing. I took a gel at about 8 miles and it did give me a little kick but I was very much running on adrenaline.
Despite the worst being over, the last 3 miles through Netherton village and into Lockwood were slightly undulating and punishing at the pace I’d set.
Getting cheered over the line by Ally & Felix I’d clocked 13.43 miles in the end and at a pace of 7.19/mile, way better than I’d hoped for and aided by going out fast and clinging on despite fading and being passed by a few runners in the last 3.1 miles, I finished in 21st place and will hope to break into the top 20 next year and perhaps get close to 1:30 in a flatter half marathon.
Endomondo tells me I did cover 13.1 miles in a PB time of 1:35:57 so that’s a nice bonus.