Frome Half Marathon 2016
This year's return home was a smaller family affair as only I ran from the Meagor's.  I was joined by Chris Britton (of various previous challenges) for his first attempt at this course.  Chris first words on arriving on the race morning were "it's a pretty flat course?"  It seemed my mention of hills hadn't been digested!  Chris was in for a bigger challenge than he anticipated!

At the start I was delighted to bump into a friend from my youth, Andy Platt, who was running the 10K.  Andy and I were at the same youth group but haven't seen each other since  the 90's.  We wished each other well before the start at 10am.  The race is always warm - but this was the coolest I'd known it (just 21C!) with some cloud cover.  As ever, the first mile was fast and Chris and I sped round mile 1 - nice and flat - without any problems.  

In fact we got through the first 6 miles in a good time, despite some climbing included.  But you're climbing at mile 6 and Chris had moved ahead of me as we headed towards the village of Nunney and its historic castle.  Mile 7 and a short steep climb out of the village and a brief walk - before a slightly flatter mile 8 which includes a section where you return along the same road and pass other runners - giving Chris and I a chance to cheer each other.  Whilst it was the coolest I'd known the route, it was still warm as we gently roe into Whatley before a faster 1.5 miles into the valley before the 11 mile marker and worst climb of the event - Egford Hill.

Chris was now out of sight as I passed my brother John and his children, Tegan and Joseph at the foot of the hill - a nice bit of encouragement but I still walked part of it - I wasn't feeling the need for speed! The bonus is you get a nice mile downhill afterwards into the town centre before climbing up to the finish by the football ground.  After last year seeing so many faces I knew there seemed to be a lot less on route this year - but I ran it over a minute faster.  Chris was round in 1:36 and my time was 1:42:17.  I also got to catch up with good friend Esther Doel afterwards, who was helping with T-shirt distribution.  Chris has certainly found it a challenging course - and, like me, isn't a fan of running in warmer conditions!  Despite this course being such a challenge I'll no doubt return again as it's my home town and I enjoy being on home turf.
Left - with some support team - John, Joseph, Lucas, Chris, Tegen and Josh
Right - with friend Esther
Below - Lucas & Chris with medals
With Kris after we’d finished with our finisher mugs


Just after the start in Frome - Chris on left(Number 134)

Yorkshire Wolds Half Marathon

6 days after Frome I headed into the Yorkshire Wolds with Kris Hopkins to run one of the few local races I'd yet to do since loving to Kingston upon Hull.  Like the Frome half at the start of the week - it was to be a hilly race and even warmer.  The things I do on a Saturday morning!  Kris enjoys a hill which is why he'd suggested it.  

The race is part of the Bishop Wilton show and starts by the showfield at the top of the Wolds.  This meant a fast first three miles as we dropped down into the valley below.  I ran some of this with fellow Beverley AC runner (and a member of Team 40-40-40) Mark Dalton before Mark moved ahead as we began the first of many climbs.  Much of the first 5 miles was flat or downhill with the first long climb just before the half way point.  At this stage Kris came past me - not something that happens often! However, he is a hill specialist! (anyone who uses Strava will understand his fascination with trying to get a good placing on Strava sections).

I finally passed him again after the long drop down through mile 8.  The route at this point does a loop to make the course a figure of 8.  8-10 miles are back on the flat as you head out of the village of Millington  and loop round to come back through it between miles 10 and 11 - actually crossing the course from earlier. (Unusual in race as this could have the potential for runners to need to cross each other's route).  As we completed the loop we started on the long climb to the finish - complete with a message written on the road reminding us of what was ahead!  I hadn't anticipated quite how long the climb was!  Kris passed me again but I managed to get past him a short time later - both now feeling the heat a bit.  At mile 11 was the final drink station and an opportunity to have a brief walk to drink out of the cup. Kris didn't loiter as long as me and regained the lead.  I duly followed up the never ending hill but couldn't catch him.  Instead I was losing ground, with other runners passing me.  The hill got the better of me with some more walking.

Whilst it did level off a bit from mile 12, there was still some mild climbing involved as we covered the final mile to the finish on the show field (a hazard in itself being quite rutted!).  Kris has beat me - I'd lost him massively on the final mile - he came in in 1:44, I arrived 3/4 minutes later!  However, it was a good run to do as training for what will be a challenging marathon course in October around Snowdonia!

Yorkshiree Wolds Half report