Retford Half Marathon 2019

April 18, 2019 2 By Stuart

Thanks to the Doctor I have potential cause and solution to the issues mentioned in the last post, so fingers crossed I’ll be firing on all cylinders again soon

So time for a quick recap of my last good run, Retford Half Marathon 2019 edition

Mrs BeestonRunner got the running bug as well and wanted a target to push for after Couch to 5k and then on to 10k. With some holiday commitments and my original plan for Boston Marathon, Retford Half seemed to fit the bill nicely. Not too pricey, plenty of places, reasonably and close enough to drive there and back. The route looked good as well, mainly closed country roads and just one small section of out and back.

Conditions in Nottingham didn’t bode well on the morning, as this greeted me when I went out to check the car:

The forecast had predicted a bit of wind and some drizzle, so snow and frost wasn’t what I was expecting. And usually Beeston escapes the worst of the weather.

Things did pick as we headed north, still quite a bit of wind and not much warmer. Found some parking on a side street about 5 minutes walk from the start. Bit of hanging around in the sports hall wondering when to take off hoodies and trousers to acclimatise. No registration, and a simple bag drop for a donation to a local hospice.

Start time rolled around and we made out way into the pen. There weren’t any time markers so I went to where I though the 1:40 mob would be. Plan was to take it easyish as this was just another long run for the training plan. Maybe push the pace past marathon pace a bit for the first 10k and then see how the last half went on tired legs

And we’re off. There’s pretty much an instant bottleneck as the route goes into the school grounds and around a tight mini roundabout. Quite a few people are up the front who aren’t ready for the surge so there’s some blocking as well. But TBH unless you were really going for it it’s only 15 seconds of slightly slower running

Once we were out of the school ground things opened up as we had half the road to spread out into. Heading out of Retford there were plenty of people waving us on. Gradually the houses filtered out and we were surrounded by fields

Fell in a with a bunch of runners from a club I can’t remeber, but they were being paced round at about the pace I wanted, 7 minutes a mile. Felt good, breathing wasn’t too heavy and testing my marathon ‘nutrition’ strategy seemed to be going well. I say strategy, I mean remembering to shove Clif Blox in my mouth every 20 minutes.

The roads were quite wet from previous rain but were mostly OK. There was one particularly large puddle where where we all ran on the verge. A bit slippery with road shoes on, and I expect it was even worse for those further back in the field after everyone else had been over it.

Close to the turn point we saw the front runners heading back. As I was feeling good I left the group and picked up the pace a bit to see how things went. The drizzle started about here and i was glad I’d decided to wear a cap for a change. We had a long steady climb back up to the finish from about here.

With 2 miles to go we hit the main road back to the finish. This wasn’t closed so it was running on the pavement. This made overtaking a bit more difficult, but I could see that sub 1:30 was on the cards so put a spurt on. Think years of road cycling helped here as I’ve gotten used to quick lifesavers over the should so hopping on and off the pavement wasn’t too scary

A last downhill stretch, a left hand turn and 200m along the school driveway and the finish line was there

Chip time of 1:28:35 which I was well chuffed with. 5 minute improvement on my PB from Worksop 2018. Didn’t feel dead at the end so could have pushed a bit harder from the start.

Overall a good event. Do need to get there early if you don’t want to spend time hunting for parking. The course is fast (well I would say that!) and not too built up. With the large puddle it’s not guaranteed to be dry if there’s been a lot of rain in the run up to it. I’d run it again for sure.