On Sunday I ran my second half marathon in the Haweswater half marathon. This is a race that is really local to where my parents live, it’s less than a 10 mile drive from their house to the start. I signed up for this half marathon after I entered the ballot for the London marathon knowing that I would need a half marathon in the build up. In the end I wasn’t successful in the ballot but am running the Edinburgh marathon and my plan called for 13 miles on Sunday.
I left pretty early because I wanted to make sure I was at the venue early as I knew that it’s not the most accessible place and that parking would be pretty limited. On arriving at Bampton village hall, where the race ha was, I was very pleasantly surprised with how well organised the parking situation was. We were parking in the field next to the village hall, luckily the dry weather of the past couple of weeks meant that even with some rain on Saturday there was no issue. There were 6 or 7 marshals manning the parking and the thing that stands out about the race as a whole was how well marshalled and how many marshals there were. It was a lovely day when I arrived although there was a bit of a chilly wind.
At about 11:15 everyone made the 5 minute walk from the race hq to the start. I started a bit slow as I was quite a way back in the pack and the roads being as narrow as they are it’s a bit difficult to pass people. Having seen the profile of the course I knew the first couple of miles involved a fairly steep pull up hill. My intention was to take the first 3 miles pretty easy and then build into the run from there. I managed to do that pretty well and then picked up the pace in the 4th mile.
At this stage I was feeling pretty good and was reeling in the people ahead of me. The 5th and 6th miles were another uphill pull and about 5.5 miles I started to struggle a bit. After 6 miles we hit a downhill section and I tried to keep under control down to the second drink station which was the turn around point. This was then where I began to really struggle. Mile 8 felt truly horrible, I’d gone into this hoping I’d get close to going sub 2 hours but at this point I thought I had no chance.
Once I was through 8 miles I knew the rest of the race was mostly downhill with few rises thrown in. Miles 10-12 made mile 8 seem glorious, I don’t think I’ve struggled on a run as much as I did at that point. My calf started to feel really tight and at this point I was thinking why on earth did I decide to put myself through this.
Once I got through 12 miles I had a quick glance down at my watch and realised there was still a chance of me running sub 2 hours. I decided I was going to give it my all to beat 2 hours as long as my calf allowed me to. This resulted in what has to be one of the worst race photos ever (see above). I managed to come in at 1:59:03 and given the struggle of the second half of that run I’m delighted with that time and also because the heavens opened within about 5 minutes of me finishing by which point I was back sitting in my car. My hope was to go sub 2 hours but with the lack of training because of illness I. The last couple of weeks and the elevation of the course I didn’t think I would make it.
Overall I was very pleased with the run. The event comes with the highest recommendations. The organisation and marshalling was first class. It is a beautifully scenic course for a half marathon, although a tad windy on Sunday next to the reservoir, and with it being in the Lake District it is obviously pretty hilly. Given from how far and wide the entrants came from this s obviously a race with a good reputation and it is very well deserved.