Race report – Clowne half marathon, 26 Nov 2017

It was an easy 90 minute drive from Peterborough via the A1/A57 Worksop to Clowne in Derbyshire. There were three well signposted car parks just a short walk from the race HQ where we collected our numbers in the large sports hall. Plenty of toilets were available, including portaloos outside, although it was a very chilly day so we preferred to queue indoors.

The race start and finish lines were quite a distance apart. However after you dropped off your bag it was transported to the finish ready for collection – pretty slick planning for such a small race. As we assembled ready for the 09:30 start there was a good PA system so you could actually here the announcements being made. Then once the gun fired the London marathon theme was blasted out as the 850 runners made their way across the chip timing mat. I think the race director has serious ambition!

The great organisation continued on the course with ample marshals and local police officers lining the one-lap route. We knew from the course profile that it was going to be hilly. The first few miles were quite gently up and down and then at around 4 miles there was a fantastic downhill stretch which seemed never ending. But of course what goes down…

After 8 miles there was a brutally long and steep hill which was followed by a series of others right to the finish line. Then at about 11 miles it started raining. By this point I was no longer having fun and no amount of beautiful scenery was going to brighten my outlook. There was nothing to do other than dig in and get to the end.

By the time I reached the finish line, an applauding crowd was pretty non-existent and the free flapjack had run out. The former could be attributed to the bad weather. There was plenty of food and drinks to purchase, plus a very popular stall selling bobble hats to near-frozen runners and supporters. The only other negative was that apparently the 2nd and 3rd water stations ran out towards the back of the field. There is no excuse for that on an established race.

I thought that running a mere 13.1 miles to earn a hoodie was going to be a breeze. Nothing could be further from the truth (although it’s clearly an easier option than Ashby 20).

If you love hills then this race is a must for you. If you’re looking for a PB then think again. Personally would I run it again next year? Quite definitely maybe.