Race Report by Alison Lowe
I hadn’t originally intended running this race as I had heard quite a few people last year saying they hadn’t enjoyed it. However, having decided not to do Ashby, I still wanted to do a long race so decided to enter Warwick and find out what it was like for myself.
The day started a bit grey, damp and chilly after overnight rain as I headed off to Warwick early, not quite sure where I was going to park. I needn’t have worried as the town centre was very quiet and I easily found a pay and display car park with free parking on a Sunday. I followed other runners to the racecourse where the race started from. The race village was well laid out including t-shirt collection, bag drop off and loads of toilets! There was only a small Massey contingent today – I found Jonathan, Kelvin and Daniel before the start and had a quick chat with Maggie on the start line.
By 9am the sun was beginning to appear and we were soon off and out onto the roads. We went north heading up to Leek Wootten where I knew Katie Kingston would be waiting with jelly babies (even though I was carrying my own) . From the start I could see this was going to be ‘undulating’ . Throughout the whole course it was not any particular hill that was a problem more that there were so many – and on every downhill you could always see the next uphill! From Leek Wootton we then joined the Kenilworth half route – not that I really recognised it as its mainly country lanes. I soon realised I was not going to beat my Coventry time (my PB) so decided to make the most of the spring sunshine and scenery and take it steady. The miles passed and there were small pockets of supporters in various locations cheering us on. At 9 miles we got to Hatton where there was a large water station which I’ve since learned had chocolates and doughnuts on offer – not that I could have stomached either at that point! We then turned onto the Warwick Road which I knew from driving down it earlier had a nice downhill stretch. The sun was out fully by this point so it was warming up but it was good to see so many supporters along this stretch. What I had also spotted as I had driven past earlier was that just after the Shell garage we turned right – and uphill again! This was the hardest part of the race as not only were we going uphill for what seemed like forever but it felt like we were running away from Warwick. Although the miles passed quickly earlier in the race the last 2 miles felt very long – but with the temperature rising I did not feel able to push the pace any harder. Eventually we crossed the M40 back into Warwick and the finish was in sight. I was pleased to finish in just over 2:15 which although slower than Coventry was just under my Kenilworth time from last year.
We were met over the line with a medal, water and some dried fruit bars, which I don’t normally like but I was desperate for something to eat. The race village layout meant that it was again easy to pick up my bag and meet up with others before heading back to the car.
The undulating course makes this pretty tough and probably not recommended as a first half or for anyone who has not done enough training , but if taken steady can be an enjoyable enough run.