Race Report: Leeds Half
This past weekend, I headed North to take on my home town half marathon – the Leeds Half. Ironically, though I started my running career in Leeds, since moving away, I’ve raced in London, Paris, Berlin and San Francisco, but never actually done one on my home turf. It was time to see what the Leeds Half had to offer. So, what’s the verdict?
Received my race pack a couple of weeks before the race with number, timing chip, race map and all pertinent info. Timely and straight forward.
I’m not sure if there was one – I was in London until two days before the race – but if there was, I’m sure it was splendid!
Right slap bang in the middle of the city centre, there’s no way you can get lost. However, definitely worth some vigilant planning of how you’re going to get there – road closures galore, bus diversions and the like can make it all a bit hairy, so leave a little early to ensure you don’t miss the 9:30am start.
Well, if you’re a fan of hills, this is the race for you. Leeds is a hilly city and it’s pretty hard to run anywhere thee without having to face an incline at some point. The first six and a half miles of this course is all uphill. In fact, the race starts on a hill, just to let you know what you’re in for. Stonegate Road is a heartbreaker of an incline that goes on for a while, followed by what I referred to on my training runs back in the day as ‘the ring road of hell’. Once you get past the ring road, there’s a bit of glorious downhill and the rest is pretty plain sailing flat from there. Visually, it’s not a very pretty route, it must be said, but it’s challenging and gets the job done. Once gripe, if I had any, would be that the mile markers weren’t clear enough at all. I barely saw any. If I wasn’t wearing my watch, I’d have had no idea how far there was left to go.
Sparse and fairly quiet throughout, which was a little disappointing. Part of that may be due to the route though – some parts of which are not necessarily easily accessible. There were a few points which had good crowds going and the finish line was crowded, making you feel like a true champion crossing the line.
On Route Drinks and Snacks
Water stations were around mile 3, 6, 10 and I think 11.5. All very well placed, not overcrowded, plenty of people manning them and there was never a big surge of runners blocking the table. All pretty smooth sailing. At a couple of points they had water stations on both sides of the road too, which saved people making a beeline from the other side of the street. I noticed one type of sports drink being handed out at the water station, but couldn’t see which it was. No snacks being handed out either.
Official T Shirt
One day, someone will design a nice race T Shirt. Today is not that day though. Functional, yes, but it will not be floating down a catwalk anytime soon.
Nice and colourful – bright yellow lanyard and a nice splash of yellow on the medal too. People will not be able to ignore your awesomeness with this around your neck.
Crossed the finish line and was filtered through smoothly to pick up the post-race bag which included the T Shirt, a medal and a glorious Toffee Crisp, among other things. I didn’t check a bag in to the baggage area, but it looked like that was all going smoothly. While crowded, it wasn’t overly so and leaving the area wasn’t troublesome.
Marks out of 10: 7/10 – with a slightly more exciting route, this could go up.