Birmingham and Black Country Half-Marathon

First timer after top tips

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08/04/2014 at 14:30
Anyone else doing this? It looks really interesting and I fancy it for a goal to get me back into running after a big break (last proper run end of October last year; Great South Run) I feel like I'm back to square one and I think this would be a good half to get me refocused and training again.

I normally run roads, and paths in my local park. Is it worth training on tow paths for this? How does it work with car parking etc? What's the deal with the tunnel?
08/04/2014 at 14:49

Sarah - its fab! I don't think you need to do anything different in training but it can be a bit muddy and the tunnel can be slippy

09/04/2014 at 12:37

I did this last year for the first time. Wasn't massively impressed but it was something different to the usual road race! You'll be fine doing your training on roads/park paths, it's not really much different to that. Parking, since it starts in Wolverhampton and finishes in Birmingham it's a bit tricky! I'd say park in Birmingham and get the train to Wolves for the start (the start is only a couple minutes from the train station), since it's a Saturday we don't have the usual issue with lack trains etc as we would on a Sunday, and that way you'll have your car ready to go home afterwards. Can't really comment about where in Birmingham is best to park as I don't drive.

I wasn't terrible impressed with the organisation last year. We'd be given times to start at but it just ended up being a free for all with everyone crowding around the start trying to get going! So this meant some faster people starting way too far back and doing loads of overtaking (overtaking isn't too much of a problem but it's harder to do that in a road race so this must have been annoying!). Also the day was mega hot!! So make sure you're prepared for running in the heat (if we get the promised heatwave) without any shade! 

09/04/2014 at 13:07

I'd echo the comments about last years event being a little chaotic at the start. But it was a fantastic event, and a great course, I'm toying with coming back up to Brum for it but the date doesn;t really work for me. Other than that I'd be back like a shot I loved it.

The tunnel is interesting, but no real drama. Last year there was a diversion that added to the distance as part of the towpath was closed but was unavoidable.

I used to live in Brum and there is loads of parking by the finish as it is next to the NIA and Sealife centre. And i guess you could park by New Street though I think that is a giant building site. At Wolvo it is a short walk from the station to the start and signposted from the station foyer. There are loads of trains on a saturday and it seemed that most of the train that I was on was heading to the event making for a quite social journey 

09/04/2014 at 13:42

Thanks all I'm a local girl and Wolverhampton is just 15min on the train from New Street so think I'll opt for that. 

FYI if you are driving into Brum DO NOT attempt to park at New Street station as above it is a huge building site and parking is a complete nightmare.  The race finishes at Brindley Place and there's is lots and lots of parking there, a few big multi stories and lots of on street parking too.

Are there locks along the course? 

I don't think overtaking will be a problem for me 

09/04/2014 at 14:00

There are some locks, but not too many. The worst bit is actually the few bridges towards the end which do take a toll on tired legs. I used to live in Oldbury so was effectively in the middle of the course and knew the towpaths well which is why I came back up. It's primarily flat and well surfaced, a lot of it is gravel or paved.

09/04/2014 at 15:27

Done this for about 4 years and wouldn't miss it! Seems to be clicked at slightly mire than a Half tho......more like 13.8??

09/04/2014 at 16:11

Bev I thought it was only long last year because of the diversion after the tunnel (and those f***ing steps) as they didn't move from the normal start and finish. Could be wrong though!

I had decided that I wasn't going to do this this year. It clashes with the tour de france starting in Yorkshire and also Sonisphere festival which is pretty much within walking distance from my home and I was already torn between those 2. But just posting a few times on here has reminded me just how much I enjoyed it...

09/04/2014 at 17:05

Yeah I agree, I think the problem with the course length was just because of the diversion last year, so hopefully should be back to 13.1 for this year! In the thread of last year's event most people's Garmins were reading about 13.6. I remember being at like 12.5 and picking up the pace a bit for a strong finish but then 13.1 came and went on my Garmin with no sign of the finish still!! 

Not sure if I'll do it again this year, I just felt like I didn't enjoy it very much, but I think that was largely down to the heat so maybe I'm not giving it a fair chance!

12/04/2014 at 18:14

I did this 2 years ago and i tnink it clocked 13.3m then, so I think it's long even without the diversion. I loved it, real character to it and very different. Planning to be back this year.  

12/04/2014 at 22:11

I've ran it 4 times it always clocks a bit long. I love the novelty of it and to finish iwith a drink in the canals of Brindley place what could be better?

13/04/2014 at 09:41

Ringo 100:    hear hear! I park at my local station and change train from new street to Wolverhampton where station is right near signposted start and end up having a drink in brindley place watching runners coming in. It's a highlight of the running calendar!! Yes, very very hot last year and people arrived early to get it over and done with ,resulting in a long wait in the scorching sun....the diversion was a bit challenging with the steps but.......all good fun!

13/04/2014 at 14:51

Hoping for a warm one this year and not a swamp mud feast like 2012

13/04/2014 at 20:40
This was my first ever half marathon in 2012, it's ok but if you're someone who gets a boost from supporters cheering, you don't get this at all on this run with it being on the canal. Also it was so muddy when we did it, it made it a bit more difficult. Nice enough though and flat
16/04/2014 at 14:38

Did this last year while still injured and had a torrid time - the heatwave and that ridiculous climb up what seemed like 200 steps didn't help, and the start was a farce frankly.

Please tell me the diversion won't be in force this year? I feel like I have unfinished business with this race but the thought of the steps (which added about half a mile to the distance) puts me right off it.

25/04/2014 at 10:54

anyone know how to get onto the bbchm website. it just takes you to some dodgy running advert page.

25/04/2014 at 18:47

Runners World events page......enter etc


27/04/2014 at 21:12

I emailed the guy who is organising it because the website is not right. it should be 

13/05/2014 at 16:48

I've also got unfinished business here. I've ran it the last 2 years. 2012 it was really muddy and I was fat and slow so did it in 2.01, last year it was too hot and I hurt my knee on the up and over so did it in 2.18.

This year all being well I should be knocking on the door of 1.30ish, unless they do that up and over again, or if it's in the 30s again.

I normally go on the train to New Street, change to the Wolverhampton train, have a beer in Brindley Place afterwards, then back on the train home.

Last year was a bit disorganised at the start. Didn't help at all.

21/05/2014 at 11:24

Done this for the past five years and it's a great event but I'm a bit worried about this year's. The thing is the towpath into the tunnel is closed on the Wolverhampton side with metal barriers across it. The Canals Trust say it is closed until further notice and say that work to reopen it isn't due to start until November:

A diversion to avoid the tunnel is possible but it would need to cross a couple of busy roads so would be tricky to marshal.

Also I don't think the event website has been updated since last year.

I emailed the organiser to voice these concerns but I got a bit of a shrugging answer saying that British Waterways (sic) hadn't told them of any problems therefore the event will go ahead as planned. I suggested that it may be an idea to double check in view of the  but didn't get a reply.

Everything may well be ok and I may be making a fuss over nothing but...


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