This race is potentially one of the hardest local races! Gruelling hills for 20 miles on open roads. The race is very challenging but achievable; the course is quite loopy, running one of the worst hills twice! The race also takes in some nice views along the way if you can tear your thoughts away from the incline and take a look around.
This year was made slightly hard by the Sun deciding to make its first appearance of the year! I even managed to burn my shoulders running in my vest whilst the marshals stood round wrapped up in big coats and woolly hats!
The marshals did a great job again this year but this can be quite a lonely race with minimal local supporters. (Although one lovely old lady did stop to cheer me and offer a shortcut through her garden… needless I didn’t take it…!) There are long periods where you don’t come across anyone, not even another runner, as the field is so spread out.
So why is it, a race that everyone seems to complain about so popular?
The controversy last year may of certainly helped raise the awareness of this local race however aside from that it does have its plus points appealing to hundreds of runners each year:
Timing – It’s perfectly placed as for spring marathon training, 6 weeks before London this year and 4 weeks before Manchester.
Distance: There are not many 20 mile races around.
Hills: The hills are hard and horrible and… hard, did I mention that there are lots of horrible hill?! Strangely this almost adds to the appeal of Spen 20, it’s more interesting than a pancake flat run but it also presents a challenge.
Water stations are limited on this course, considering it’s 20 miles. There is one water station which you pass three times offering water in plastic cups. I would recommend carrying a water bottle especially on a warm day.
See you there next year?