Sheffield Half Marathon 2023 report by Anne Petit-Jean

Race date: 26 March 2023

Race report by Anne Petit-Jean

On a cold Sunday morning in March, a few thousand runners gathered in Sheffield city centre for 21.1km of road running, including an infamous climb in the first half. I had trained properly this time, I had a time and a plan in mind, I was ready.

First scare of the day: I had planned to catch the tram from Malin Bridge at 8.19, and when I arrived at the tram stop the screen was showing the next tram at 8.59! Ok, mild panic, what am I going to do? I start frantically searching the Stagecoach website to see if there was a problem on the line, nothing. A couple of minutes later, the tram arrives. Phew, disaster avoided.

I make it to town in time for the Striders photo on the City Hall steps, always a fun moment, and a chat with other club members. I make my way to the bag drop with Vicky and Jamie, there was already a queue, which kept growing and growing after we took our place in it.

The toilet queue was even worse, I was still in it at 9.30 when the race was supposed to start! My plan to run alongside the 2.30 pacer seemed to be disintegrating by the second, but when I finally arrived near the start line, I saw that everybody was still there and the start had been delayed. I find Chris and Zoe in the crowd and start chatting to the other Striders there. I’m back on track.

The race finally starts at 9.45, we pass the start line at 9.55 and I fall into pace with Chris. I start falling behind when the climb starts on Ecclesall Road, but I can still see him ahead of me, so I tell myself I’ll catch up after the Norfolk Arms when the downhill starts. I keep a steady pace and drink/eat when needed.

The support from the public is amazing, loads of people cheering, kids extending their arms for high fives, music (the best one was the brass band in front of a church starting to play William Tell’s overture just when I passed them by ^^). 

I finally make it up to the Norfolk Arms and catch up with Chris not long after. A few words of encouragement from him and I pick up the pace. As long as I keep ahead of him, I’ll make the time I am aiming for, which is under 2.30. I feel confident I can do it.

The downhills feel so nice after the climb, I’m really enjoying myself now and feeling strong. I make it down to Eccy Road and at some point before the Waitrose roundabout, I see the 2.25 pacers just ahead of me. I was so surprised as I really didn’t plan to catch up with them. I decide to pick up my pace a little bit and give a last push for the last few kilometres to make it under 2:25. I overtake them and keep going. The last small uphill feels hard but I dig deep. I arrive at the finishing stretch, I don’t feel like I can sprint but I try to go a bit faster. I keep looking left and right to see if I can find my husband and kids. At last I hear my son cheering me on “Go Mummy!”, I smile and go for it! 

Immediately after passing the finish line, I stop my watch and check my time: I made it in 2 hours and 22 minutes!!! I nearly can’t believe it, I’ve taken 12 minutes off my 2021 time! I catch up with a few Striders, we exchange fist bumps and congratulations, and I meet with my family before joining the longest queue ever to pick up my bag and then getting the tram home.

In conclusion, I had an amazing day and I wouldn’t have done so well without the training sessions put on by the club or if I had been training on my own. So a huge thank you to the Hillsborough Wednesday and Thursday run leaders for all you do, to other Striders for their support and encouragement, and to the club as whole. I joined last year in April/May and it was definitely one of the best decisions I made.

The race was won by Tommy Power from Hallamshire Harriers in an impressive 1 hour and 8 minutes. First female was Philippa Williams from the same club in 1:14:50. 

Full results here

(Striders results at


scroll to top