A great and welcome report by Tash Whitaker
In these unusual times where we can’t run together and we are all in the house a lot more, I thought I’d do a report from the last Half Marathon that I’ll be doing for a while I reckon!
I’d booked the Retford Half as a training race for the London Marathon as I’d done it a couple of years ago and know that it’s not too hilly so perfect preparation! It’s also a smallish one in terms of numbers and it’s good to have a bit of variety in contrast to the huge ones like the Great North Run.
Having stayed the night close by, I arrived in good time with my support team (husband and daughters) and bagged a parking spot less than 100m from the start/finish line at Retford Oaks Academy. After all the bad weather on previous weekends, conditions for the race were perfect. The sun came out as the route took us out of the town and onto the country lanes. I chatted with a few people along the way including a lady who was, like me, due to run London Marathon for JDRF having been diagnosed with T1 Diabetes 2 years ago, and there was a lot of talk amongst other runners around if it would be cancelled!
About half way the route goes out for about a mile to a turning point and it proved a good opportunity to say hi to some people heading back towards the finish that I’d been chatting to before the start. After the turning point it’s a long, fairly straight road back towards the finish (one of those that seems to go on forever) before turning onto the main road back towards the Academy! I knew from last time that the last quarter of a mile or so was a punishing uphill section so I’d left some in the tank for that. As I turned the last corner towards the finish, I heard a loud shout of encouragement from a female voice to the effect that she was proud of me as I could have had a relaxing Sunday but I had chosen to do this, and I realised as I passed that it was Reverend Kate Bottley who was about to embark on a trio of Triathlons for Sports Relief.
I was pleasantly surprised by my time as I crossed the finish line which was officially 2:31:47 (my best Half in 2 years). Before I seized up, I added on another mile for my Marathon training which turned out to be my last long run before it was announced that London Marathon had been cancelled! All in all, this was great friendly event with 854 runners completing the Half – my husband and kids enjoyed the Fun Run which took place just after the start of the main race.