Report from Tash Whitaker:
Blackpool, 28th April
Having not covered the half marathon distance since September and a bit of a gap from races due to a dodgy foot, I needed a target to give me a bit of a boost…and Blackpool Half was the answer. I entered this just a couple of weeks before following a conversation with Hugh and Anne on a club training run who had done this one previously. I really liked the idea of running along the seafront where I’d spent many a happy hour as a kid and now I take my own children there.
After blowing an absolute gale the day before, the wind had dropped considerably and we set off from the middle prom for a one lap course at the same time as the Marathon runners who were taking on a 2 lap course (It was only after I finished I found out that Phil Robinson was doing the full Marathon!).
The first few miles were with the sea breeze behind us heading past the tower and along the Golden Mile in the direction of Lytham. We then turned at the end of the tram line back towards the tower and out towards Bispham on an uphill that I wasn’t expecting and seemed to go on for a while. However, once we turned back towards the tower we were rewarded with a flat last couple of miles along the lower prom in the sunshine. My time was 2h.35:46 around 5 minutes faster than my previous Half so was pleased with this, had loved the route and was very impressed with my medal!
Leeds 12th May
I wasn’t planning to do another half so soon but when I got an email the Tuesday before saying there were places still available, I just couldn’t help myself!
I must admit during the hilly first half I was questioning my decision but was really impressed by the support along the way – things that stick in my mind are the slogans at the top of the ring road after the big climb to make you chuckle, particularly that pain is just the French word for bread! Also the number of people giving out food along the way – there was a road in Horsforth covered in oranges that had provided welcome refreshment to runners. As I was a late entry, my name was not on my number, but I was wearing my Otley AC top so lots of people were shouting ‘Go on Otley!’
The last 4 miles or so mostly along Kirkstall Road do seem to go on forever but at least you can dig in knowing you are on the home straight and with a big welcome and final shouts of encouragement to come once you get to the Headrow.
I was the last of the Otley contingent over the line in 2h.36:46 but very consistent in my timing, (only a minute different to Blackpool), and once again felt that buzz of finishing a big race.
Well done to all the other Otley runners – Andy Webster was the first to finish and I know for some it was the first time doing this distance so a fantastic achievement– see separate post for Otley AC times