Leeds Half Marathon


I have considered doing a half marathon on and off for a couple of years. There are lots of good reasons not to do it though: for example it’s really hard, hurts a lot and requires a lot of training. And all you get out of it is the feeling that you have done, which isn’t that amazing, because it’s only half a full marathon.

However, with a less intense flag football season this year, being on a fitness drive, and this being my last chance before a tiny human started cutting into my free time, it seemed like a good year to go for it.

Half marathons are a whole new level from 10ks. 10k is pretty easy. If you run regularly, which I do, you don’t really need to do that much training. When I’m going through a good period, a 5k and a 10k is my weekly programme. Half marathons are a step up. After 10k my knees start to go. I get back pain. Things start to chafe and bladder control is put to the test.

Being on the 8th of May, this meant I was doing most of my training in March and April. If you will remember, April was really cold. I did most of my training in the early morning or evening, in not much above freezing.


Roll on May, and a week before the marathon it suddenly becomes incredibly hot (for Britain) and everyone is scrabbling around for barbecues. Including me. On the day in question, it was 23 degrees. I had done all my training with my leggings on, to help support my knees, so I didn’t want to change it for the day. Which made for a warm experience.


I had put my target time down as 2:15:00, but quickly had to re-evaluate this when I realised I had not factored in all the hills (I run up the canal in training, which is relatively flat). Then again when it suddenly hit 23 degrees. In the end, I ran a 2:28:00. I think I would have been disappointed to slip over 2:30:00, so this was fine. And sure, there were people who ran it in less than half of that time. But how many children did they high-five? I mean, anyone can win the slalom if they don’t go round the flags.

I was so tired by the time I finished. I found a patch of ground in the shade and sat down to take a drink. After a few minutes I got up to go find Elina, only to realise I was going to have to sit down again and eat some snacks from the goodie bag before I was going to be in a position to walk anywhere.


Luckily, once I had regained the use of my legs, my beautiful support crew was there to greet me with more drinks and snacks. We took 17 photos, the one below was the best we could get.


The advantage of living in town is that I could go home, have a quick shower, and then go back out for lunch. As we walked out again I passed a number of other runners who were very confused by my combination of jeans and finisher’s t-shirt. We ended up at Blackhouse, where I highly recommend the t-bone as recovery steak, and the ribeye if your pregnant wife needs a well-done piece of beef.

One thing I like about the Run For All series is how well organised they are. I’ve only run the Leeds 10 and Abbey Dash, so I don’t have a huge range of comparisons, but Run For All seem to do a good job: clearly-marked pacers, easy to access water stations, start on time and you get your result within seconds of crossing the line.

Has this experience inspired me to run a full-length marathon? Dear god no.



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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 21st, 2016 at 10:54 am and is filed under Sport. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.