Race Date: 9th September 2018
The Vale of York Half Marathon returned for it’s 5th edition on a day that was a far cry from the blazing heat theme we’ve seen for a large portion of the year. Starting and finishing on Sherburn-in-Elmet (But whose helmet?), this flat course looked on paper to be ideal for any high flyers chasing PBs.
Humming the Dambusters theme tune as we took off down the runway I soon discovered my fellow runners didn’t appreciate me doing the arm actions to match and so I focused instead on making my usual far too fast start. The first few miles see runners wind their way out from the airfield to the “main” road and I was lulled into a false sense of security that despite lack of any real decent training I might be on for a good race.
This illusion was soundly disabused when we took a sharp right and what had been a lovely tailwind soon became a very apparent cross wind. The dawning realisation that this meant at least 4-5 miles of the run home was going to be into a fierce headwind didn’t help matters. Still us Striders are bred to be hardy and not worry about such things. This is what I kept telling myself as we carried on into the most scenic part of the course, a lovely few miles through some woods that was very reminiscent of the Worksop half.
Coming up to halfway I was still just about at PB pace but knew from the leaden feel in my feet that I wasn’t going to be able to maintain for the 2nd half and began the salvage operation. Then we hit the wind….
Starting with a 2 mile drag back to the words after the turn around point, which only offered a brief respite before the last struggle home, I can safely say it was one of the biggest mental challenges I’ve faced in a race. The slow sapping of your effort and pace really takes its toll as you fight every stride to push forward. The downside of a flat and open course on a windy day all too apparent. It’s been a while since I’ve been as happy to see a finish line.
The 1st male home was Kev Jeffress of Sunderland Harriers & AC in a very respectable 1:11:48 with 1st female Sarah Lowery of Rotheham Harriers & AC in 1:19:52.
12 Striders on the day took part with a special mention to Arif Ali who obviously is a secret windsurfing expert as he ignored the conditions to set an amazing PB, ably paced by Stuart Jones. A great example all round from both. Striders’ results in full:
|123||Kevin Sibley||Steel City Striders RC||M45||01:27:33|
|135||Tim Holt||Steel City Striders RC||M40||01:28:27|
|308||Alex Green||Steel City Striders RC||MSEN||01:37:28|
|337||Hal Roberts||Steel City Striders RC||MSEN||01:38:55|
|338||Helen Burgess||Steel City Striders RC||FSEN||01:38:55|
|342||Jeni Harvey||Steel City Striders RC||F35||01:39:17|
|362||Sarah Bates||Steel City Striders RC||FSEN||01:40:10|
|395||Stuart Jones||Steel City Striders RC||M55||01:40:45|
|405||Arif Ali||Steel City Striders RC||M35||01:41:08|
|420||Kimberley Bateman||Steel City Striders RC||FSEN||01:42:03|
|732||Laura Fletcher||Steel City Striders RC||F35||01:53:47|
|1054||Louise Cousins||Steel City Striders RC||F45||02:05:37|
Full results can be found here.
On a final note, as a warning to anyone thinking of entering next year. There was quite a few issues with exiting the airfield after the race with quite a few runners reporting that it took them longer to escape the car park than it did run the race. In defense of the organisers, it wasn’t an ideal situation for them as the usual parking area was not made available to them this year, but if the parking is again on the airfield next year, be warned you’re in for a wait to get out!