In short: Good mix of terrain, slick organisation and a challenging race In full: 14 miles of a variety of terrain, some road, mostly trail, cross fields, woodland tracks and rough footways. Challneging ascents with both short sharp hills and some long drawn out climbs.
Could have used one more water station around mile 8, and the narrow track ascent near the start was basically a queue. But these are minor points.
In short: My first time over the distance, I am glad I put the training in ! In full: I knew this would be my kind of race and I really enjoyed it, After some lusty singing on the start line, (Happy Birthday) and the a rousing version of the National Anthem we were off.
The first half hour consisted of up, down, stepping stones, up, along about 100 yards and down, followed by, purely for variety, an up.
Well I knew this was coming and had reckoned it to be the hardest first three miles, and I wasn't wrong, going past the three mile board just into the woods, my legs felt blown and was struggling.
Slowing down into the woods, quite a few people went by me, confirming that I'd probably gone off too quick... turning into the long run down to Juniper Bottom I felt much happier, five miles had gone by and although I knew my 2:10 dreams were a work of self delusion I felt a little stronger.
Puffing up the 180 steps to the ridge some loony shot past me going the other way, I was an hour into my race ..... it was quite a few minutes before the next one person ran past, but fair play lads, you were really moving.
A welcome drink at the turnaround, and by the time I reached the snowman, I was a little chilly, wet, my legs had started to pinch at the top of my hamstrings but otherwise I was ok.
As I puffed back up towards the woods, the cheering crowd of my parents, brother, wife and two kids really gave me a lift and I knew I would finish.
I entertained the idea of really pushing the boat out to get a 2:30 finish, but in reality I had nothing left to give, going up from the stepping stones for the last ascent is a real test of character as much as fitness.
The finish was fantastic, I felt really pleased with my 2:38 for my first half marathon, and there was TEA & MEDALS just like they promised .....