Nina reports on music and running in Leeds.
A cancelled and rearranged gig meant I was in Leeds for the weekend after my birthday. Having looked last week at what else we could do over the 2 days I spotted Leeds Half Marathon which is organised by the same people as York marathon. So I signed up without really reading any more about the route.
The gig was on the Sat night so I adopted the Richard Slack pre race carb loading by having several beers over the night. This was mopped up by a couple of vegan pizza slices also available at the venue.
The hotel was an 8 min walk from the start so after a leisurely breakfast I walked to the start, following lots of other runners heading there too.
The race was split into 4 waves with the first 2 waves heading off at 9.30. The 3rd (mine)and 4th zone were held around the corner and after a quick warm up we walked around to start around 9.45.
Chatting to a couple of runners who’d done it previously there was mention of a hill at mile 4 which went on for a mile and then a bit of an incline in the last 100 metres. I thought that sounded ok. At least the big hill was out of the way early!
I started around the same time as a 1.50 pacer although he seemed to be going out very slowly and was obviously pacing a negative split race. As this goes against my strategy of starting out at the pace I want to finish and hoping I can keep it up, I soon passed him once we’d got up the first little drag up from the start.
The route starts in the city but like York marathon heads out into the countryside so I was enjoying the sights and all the support.
Mile 2 became an uphill drag until mile 4. Maybe that was the hill. Well at least that’s over I thought.
The support was brilliant and the villages we passed through all seemed to have embraced the race passing through with kids offering jelly babies and high fives while there mum’s dad’s and grandparents handed out oranges and held signs proclaiming that pain was only french for bread!
After a nice downhill stretch mile 7 sneaked up on me as another decent climb and so on the route went. The later miles weren’t as hilly as the first few but still tested the legs and there were runners hobbling off right and left to stretch calves and quads. Mile 13 started heading back into the familiar territory of the city and soon the start gantry was in sight so the finish in Millennium Square wasn’t too far but yes another cheekily little incline which scuppered my sprint finish.
Over the line was a bottle of water and a goody bag with t shirt and some treats in then I was presented with my medal and a pint of alcohol free beer. On offer in the event village was free medal engraving and free massage for those who wanted it.
All in all not a bad road half. Ok it’s not the GNR but was a fair bit cheaper, still had all the support and bands on the route but with only a 6th of the number of runners there was plenty of room to run but with still enough people around for company.