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Worksop Halloween Half

27 October 2019

A crisp, fresh morning and the bonus of having had an extra hour in bed - I set off to this popular half marathon to arrive at 9am, an hour before the race start.  Race HQ was at the Outwood Academy Portland, a great location though parking was not allowed on site. I chose to park on the estate adjacent to the academy, a nice and quiet neighbourhood, swamped with competitors' abandoned cars!

Registration was swift, find your number on the posters, queue for it - collect race number and chip, exit the hall, done.  Outside there was loads of portaloos, a great atmosphere, DJ and as I headed for my warmup, the beautiful tones from a junior female vocalist, what a treat.

I was aware of three other Harriers taking part and among the 3,000 runners lining up at the start I managed to locate Richard Wade and Elaine as I joined the pens.  Unfortunately I couldn't advance so settled where I was at the "1:50" zone. The weather was perfect and after a few words from the local councillor at 10am prompt we were off.

I'd entered this race soon after completing the Ironman; a habit I have is to enter a race after a long endurance training stint as a focus and motivation to stave off any marathon/training blues.  I wasn't expecting any miracles.. after months on the long/slow stuff, I'd been trying to increase my pace and after completing the Holmfirth 10K at 7:06 pace, I'd estimated around 7:20 pace/1:38:00 for the half.

I was aware the race was a little bumpy and almost immediately after the start,we started to climb the first, and probably the longest hill.  It was a bit of a pain negotiating the slower runners, ducking and diving in order to make progress; I only had myself to blame, though after a couple of miles I started to settle in and work my way up the field.

worksopT

Goodies.. t-shirt and unique medal
for finishing

The route was on closed roads, undulating with long steady climbs, rewarded with long steady descents. The course was runnable for us Holmfirth types, just one issue around four miles where there was "puddle"; stretching wide across the road and being calf deep it was energy zapping.  As I started to climb the next hill, it made me feel heavy and sluggish. It was the same for everyone, squelching shoes and all I could think of was those Nike shoes used by Kipchoge - could they have given me the edge?

I ran strong and only lost one or two places throughout, maybe that was due to the slow start position, but I ran alongside some very capable club runners and kept picking them off one by one.  I kept my head down, ran my own race, kept an eye on my pace but with the undulations, pace was not consitent, I ran to feel (I sound like I know what I'm talking about.. I might not be the fastest on the field but do have a good sense of what works for me).

Up, down, flat, up, down, flat, that's pretty much how it went, along local roads and lanes and a looped section within the grounds of Clumber Park. At mile 12 we entered the grounds of Worksop College, at this stage it felt like the race should end but I knew I had a mile to go - I pushed the best I could, out of the grounds, onto the road and turning right for the finsl sprint to the finish line.. I struck the air, 1:36:59!

I collected my medal, acquired post race refreshments and my t-shirt then headed to the finish to support Richard(1:49:15) and Elaine(1:55:31) - both came in happy with their performances.  Fastest Harrier on the day was Neil Thornton in 1:29:22, with the race winner Stuart Spencer (Notts) in 1:08:27; the 1st lady was Phillipa Williams(Sheffield) in 1:17:09.

Results: http://www.sportsystems.co.uk/ss/results/Worksop%20Halloween%20Half%20Marathon/4154

In summary a good race, not too far away, well organised, marshalled and supported.. cetainly one I'd recommend, and with a nice t-shirt and medal too :)

Written by Matthew Rose

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