The Eden Hall Middlebeck Newark Half Marathon, to give it its full title “ is a flat, fast and scenic summer race. It is limited to 1,500 entrants with a fun run and entertainment for all the family in support of our Newark based charity partners: Beaumond House, Child Bereavement Centre and Mind. The setting is historic Newark with its castle and civil war museum.
The race starts and finishes at the Sconce Park, site of civil war battles, passes the Ice Age Journey dig, where our ancestors settled over 13,000 years ago, skirts East Stoke, site of the bloodiest civil battle through Elston, birth place of the Darwin family and then back to the Sconce Park. The route is flat and fast and mainly on closed roads.”
That’s the blurb. This is the 3rd year in its current form; the race had a few years out but was resurrected in 2016. So how did we find it? Read on viewers……
From Market Deeping, my chauffeurs of choice, the fabulous Team Turner drove to Bourne, across on the A151 to the A1 and then straight up to Newark, took about an hour to the car park. Obviously if you’re coming from Peterborough you would go straight up the A1, which would probably take the same amount of time. Navigating to a car park was quite straight forward.
Race HQ and parking
There’s no official parking at the Race HQ, but there are plenty of car parks to choose from. It’s worth doing a bit of research on this, checking where the nearest long stay is. Not many signs for the one we were at, but spotted other runners and had directions for our 15-20 minute walk to the start from a very friendly local who was warming up at a ridiculous rate of knots. At this point we saw the castle nearby, which for some reason we assumed we would see on the course, but more on that later.
Picking up the numbers was very straight forward, even if you couldn’t remember your number, and the toilets were plentiful, yes there were queues but they moved quickly. No changing facilities on site however, and not much shelter about, which this time of year wouldn’t be a problem, though we did have some rain at the start. But hey, that’s what disposable rain macs and bin bags are for.
There was also a secure baggage area in a gazebo that was supervised throughout the race.
Somehow, we were under the impression that we would be running round or near the castle, one of the reasons we chose to do this race (that and the t-shirt and medal of course!) But this was not the case, and we were a little disappointed in this. There was a 5 minute or so walk to the start on the street, and the course took you out into the countryside from the edge of Newark. There was a 2 mile stretch out to a loop that took you over the A48(?) and back again, through a couple of villages and along some long flat stretches. The course was also closed to traffic, which made a nice change. Oh, and that bit about a fast, flat course? Well, being contour challenged around these parts, there may be some who would dispute that fact, but there were only relatively gentle inclines and only 3 or 4 of them. Nothing like Folksworth hills for instance.
There were 5 water stations and a sponge station, based on feedback from the previous year, and that would certainly have been very welcome on some of the weather we have experienced this summer, especially as there wasn’t much shelter about. However, the weather gods had looked upon us favourably this weekend, and the rain even stopped before we started, so conditions were good. There were also toilets at 5 miles if needed.
The course was very well marshalled with enthusiastic and encouraging volunteers along the way, and plenty of signs where not manned. There was also a cyclist checking on us biking backwards and forwards with words of encouragement too, and a couple of St John ambulances along the way.
The last 2 miles retraces the route back to the park, then a section through a housing estate and a sort loop in the park to the finish, which is on grass, but not too taxing. The race is chip timed on the number. You cross the finish to be greeted with a medal, beautiful light pink t-shirt, bottle of water and a small goodie bag containing a couple of snacks and some leaflets…oh, and a banana, but I politely declined.(ok I pulled a blueeergh face and said no thanks)
Reasonably priced at £23 considering you get a medal and t-shirt included.
Friendly. Well marshalled.
Well organised and plenty of toilets
Flattish course, if you like that sort of thing, with PB potential
Quite a trek back to the car if you don’t have local knowledge of the car parks.
Now here’s the strange thing, can’t really fault it as an event at all. Was a bit disappointed in the course as I thought it would include running past the castle but we didn’t see it at all on the route. Could be we just misread or misinterpreted the website, but hey ho. Nice to have run somewhere different for a change, but wouldn’t necessarily run it again. I wouldn’t put other people off running it though.