February 24, 2008
Garry Dixon 1:11:52
Shona Macintosh 1:19:04
No. of Finishers
If you wanted a quiet weekend away, you probably wouldn’t choose Blackpool, but the Great North West Half is usually an opportunity to see the more contemplative side of the resort, run out of season on a Sunday morning.
This year, though, the Las Vegas of the North threw plenty of drama at the race organisers: the stricken ferry Riverdance, grounded off the beach north of the city centre on part of the usual route, meant that just days before, the local police were suggesting the event should be cancelled.
Veteran organiser Ron McAndrew quickly came up with a plan B that satisfied all concerned, though it may have left some returning runners confused, as it meant facing the opposite way at the start.
Running south instead of north along the promenade, before turning back for a quick loop along the usual quieter route, the improvised three-lap route still offered a great opportunity for PBs. The smooth promenade is flat except for the ramp to the upper level at the turn point.
The weather is not always kind along the Lancashire coastline in February, but this year the cool grey conditions were perfect for running (though there was sufficient sea breeze for several runners to receive en-route showers from waves crashing over the wall).
The RUNNER’S WORLD pacers returned for the second time, leading groups from seven-minute miling (led home by Neil Tillott in 1:31:10) to run/walk (Chris Treble in 2:37:12).
As ever, organisation couldn’t have been smoother. Next year the race will have a new route, keeping the south-facing start and running along the Golden Mile – barring any more maritime disasters.