Race Date Sunday 20 May 2018. Report by Adam McAuley.
This isn’t a race that makes economic sense to most Striders – a ten hour drive and a fairly hefty price tag would put most off. However I was in the Westcountry for family reasons so it seemed an ideal opportunity to tick my home-town event
Now in its second year as ‘Britain’s Ocean City Half Marathon’ or perhaps more accurately, the Plymouth Half Marathon, attracts a decent size field (a little short of 4,000). It’s a well organised event – as it should be with a £32 price tag (more for unaffiliated runners). The start and finish are on Plymouth Hoe; there can be few more spectacular places to start an event on a fine Spring day. The route is a bit of a mixed bag – the first couple of miles wind along the Hoe and through the Barbican, some of Plymouth’s prettiest and oldest parts, but there are also fairly dreary stretches along dual carriageway that have limited appeal. The other highlight on the course is the long steady descent through the Saltram Estate, a National Trust property that also has an excellent Trust10 event each month. The course undulates a fair bit too; 230ish metres of climbing, according to my watch, including a fairly brutal climb in the last mile to get back to the Hoe.
My race was a little disappointing; I’d hoped to at least match the 1.37 I’d achieved at Sheffield earlier in the season, however the heat got to me (mentally as much as physically I suspect) – despite an 8.30 start it was hot out on the course by 9.00 – and I ended up looking over my shoulder for the 1.40 pacer for the last couple of miles.
It’s a pity that this year’s Plymouth Half Marathon seems to have become mostly well known because of the stupidity of one impatient car driver; it’s a well organised and well supported event, though perhaps but one for the 2019 Striders’ Road League.
The male winner was Ben Neale in a time of 1.13.13 and the first female was Katie Synge in 1.22.07. The first (and only) Strider home was me, in a time of 1.39.15.
Full results here