Leicestershire Half Marathon – 17.2.19

Race Report by Alison Lowe.

When I started planning my long runs for VLM training back in the autumn I noticed this run was great timing for a 13 mile run. In chatting to other Massey runners however, they said they had found this race really hard in 2018 due to a really boring route and bad weather. Others who had recently run a 10km at the same location also said the same about the route. However I needed to run the distance so, with a Black Friday discount, entered anyway.

As it turned out the weather was the complete opposite to last years, forecast to be unseasonably warm. I set off dressed more for a spring event with a short sleeved  t-shirt under my Massey vest.

The event takes place at Prestwold Hall to the east of Loughborough. The event details said to arrive an hour beforehand – which I did – however so did everyone else! Despite ample parking it took half an hour to actually get onto the site, so I was only parked up half an hour before the race start. On getting out of my car it felt cold and very windy so then wondered if I should have worn a long sleeve top. It was then a 10 minute walk to the Event Village where there were really long queues for the toilets ! I gave up on that idea and tried to find Anne-Marie, Dave, Phyllis and Jason, the other Masseys I knew were running. We all managed to get sorted and lined up just before the race was started.  

The route starts on a gravel path in front of the hall, then onto rough paths before finally tarmac paths and onto the Everyman Race track back near the car park. This wasn’t the most scenic part of the course especially as the track was surrounded by large solar panels rather than vegetation. The track wasn’t totally flat however for every small incline there was a downhill the other side. We then did one half lap of the track – just before the first water station there were a few toilets of which I took advantage of as this time there were no queues! We then followed quite an uneven path which took us out of the estate and onto the roads surrounding the estate. These were really quiet and flat, and we ran through the pretty village of Wymeswold, before then heading back towards the entrance to the estate.  Just after 7 miles we then went back into the estate near the car park entrance and back on to the race track.

The cold wind that I had first noticed in the car park hadn’t been noticeable in the race up until now but as we started a longer loop of the track we were running straight into the wind. At that point as well I was running out of energy – I had had a few of the Lucozade Jelly Beans I was trying from a free sample but realized I needed to eat a lot more so ate a large handful of them. At that point the paths crossed and we could see the runners ahead of us and a shout out from Dave got me back running again after a walk break and inspired to head for home. We then repeated the earlier half lap where we got to the 11 mile marker – by now the jelly beans had kicked in and I felt stronger for the last 2 miles. We ran out of the estate back onto a road running alongside the estate before going through the main entrance back to the hall. I had had Phyllis and Jason in my sights for some time and overtook them just as we went back into the estate – Phyllis was running it having won a free place for coming first in her age category last year – I assume she had paused to make sure that didn’t happen again this year! Then it was back on the gravel path to the finish – where Phyllis and Jason stormed past me for a sprint finish!

We then were rewarded with a lovely medal, t-shirt , water, banana and a couple of snacks, before attempting the long walk back to the car.

Given I had taken this quite steady as a training run I was pleased to finish in more or less the same time as my last half at Kenilworth back in September.

So in good weather this is a good event and being relatively flat could be a pb course.  Whilst the race track sections with solar panels are slightly boring they are flat and broken up by the more scenic village sections in the middle.