This race has become a contender for the winner of my favourite half marathon! (Currently Wilmslow half is ranking number 1)
The race route isn’t very exciting, it’s an out and back with a loop on the end, because of the loop you don’t get to see runners, faster or slower than you running in the opposite direction. The route goes down country roads bordered on both sides by farms and stables and occasionally houses as you pass through the villages. It all looks very similar! The only real landmarks that stood out were the hills – if you can really call them that, 2 bumps, one that you run twice and one that you only run once on the last mile. The hills are only really noticeable because of how flat the rest of the course is! For every up there was an equal down so they didn’t really impact on the overall speed.
The brass Monkey has a reputation for being very icy however this year they organisers had hired a private grittier to prepare the course. The rest of the country may have been experiencing snow but we didn’t have any adverse conditions over foot.
The marshals did a great job and were very encouraging. Although a lot of people came out to support the race, there were long stretches where the only non-runners you would see were the marshals. Their shouts of encouragement were very welcome on these sections!
One of the things that helps make this race great and drag runners out on such a cold day – other than being so flat and well organised– are the facilities, because the race starts and finishes at the race course there is plenty of room for all the runners to wait inside in the warm at the before the start. There is also not a part-a-loo in sight! The toilets are nice, warm and clean and the most importantly queues are short and fast moving! After the race the awards presentations also take place at the Ebor stand, with hot drinks and sandwiches on sale to thaw out the frozen runners and supporters.
This was a really good race which I would recommend to anyone looking for a half PB. Perhaps not the ideal race however if you are running your first half as the course is very bleak and the majority of runners seemed to have their head down, focusing on getting a good time. There isn’t the same exchange between runners that you perhaps find at other races. However if a PB is what you are after then this is the race for you!
See you there next year?