Initially the omens were not good for the Robin Hood Half marathon as it had poured down in Leeds from 3:30am. As I drove to Nottingham the clouds looked thick and ominous but as it turned out the weather was great, cool and breezy at first then hot with a lovely sprinkling from a light shower at about mile 12, just when we needed it most!
Because I turned up a bit late for a race, barely half an hour to go but I had managed to accidentally park next to the cheerleaders! I ended up right at the back of the 4th wave and it took us 20 mins to get through the start line but everyone was in good humour including the 26 week pregnant lady and her friend and it’s not many races that can say they start with several coxless pairs of rowers training on the river Trent next to them.
The first 3 miles were far hillier than any of us had expected as we ran through the park grounds and out into Nottingham and at about 6 miles we were treated to what looked like an all-girl group made up of St John’s Ambulance people all with blue gloves and hands extended to offer Vaseline to anyone in need – it’s funny the things that catch your eye in a race. The route eased up for a while until it hit about mile 6 going through Wollaton Park and a long windy hill up and through the park with some lovely tree lined avenues to give a bit of shade and a loads of spectators with kids lining up to high five and hand out jelly babies.
By mile 8 we were well on our way home and passing other runners on their way towards the park – little did they know what was coming up. Crowd support was great throughout and the roads were excellent for a speedy run home as the congestion eased and you could hit a steady pace. The water stops had packs not bottles and they were a bit of a marmite thing – to drink them you had to squeeze them which was often like getting sprayed by a high pressure hose and for those that needed it there were a few Lucozade stations and the sweet citrus aroma was enough to make you run faster.
Before I knew it mile 12 was looming ahead and I tried to make sure I secured a few extra places as I aimed for a sub 2 hour half: just making it in 1:57:46; coming in number 2361 out of 6303 finishers; which was great as my training had gone a bit of the rails due to a chest infection in early September.
In all it was a great bustling city marathon, with a start and finish set in a beautiful setting; very friendly and helpful marshals and vocal spectators throughout. And not forgetting a fantastic medal as a lasting souvenir.