Humber Bridge Half Marathon 2012
I have now run this every year since moving north. It is traditionally hot and given the soaring temperatures of 2010 and 2011 the start was brought forward to 9am. I headed over with Alex, whom had nearly opted out of running the race until I twisted his arm! Beverley AC had a dozen runners lining up for the challenging course on what, for once, was a cool and drizzly morning. The biggest issue would be the wind.
Alex and I ran together to start and took in a leisurely 15 minutes for the first two miles – a bit behind the target of 7:10 minutes a mile. This isn’t a course for PB’s, but you have to have a target. At mile 3-4 we passed Julie Donald, indicating we were progressing back to a better pace and into mile 5 which takes you up steep climb off the A15 on the slip road to Barton upon Humber. Despite the steep climb we ran the mile in 6:52! By the 5 mile point we were back on pace having gained ground for a few miles. More remarkably we maintained this pace beyond the half way point, as we wound round Barton and under the bridge. Both Alex and I noted that after 8 miles we usually flag on this course, so it was great to reach mile 9 with the pace maintained.
You then climb what’s known as cardiac hill – due to its tough and challenging gradient at the 9-10 miles into the race. Whereas I usually crawl up it, I carried on at the same pace as I had up until now – losing Alex half way up. Amazing myself, I reached the top and through the 10 mile point with 22 minutes to get a PB. Still a challenge, but still not impossible. Alex caught me up as we headed down the steep drop back onto the bridge approach and mile 11. I lost him again – though not massively but I now had a target to aim for.
The bridge northbound was also wind bound with a noticeable head wind to battle against. That coupled with the long gradual climb to the middle meant mile 12 was hard going. At the 12 mile marker I had around 8 minutes max for a PB still. This was going to be a close call as the head wind wasn’t letting up even if the hill was finished with. It’s the first time I’ve ever constantly overtaken people this far into the race and in fact I hadn’t been overtaken in the entire race.
Grit and determination won through as I pushed myself through the final 1.1 miles and into the finishing area to clock the unexpected – a PB of 1:34:18 on a course I never thought such an fate would occur. Alex was 20 or so seconds behind me in the end. I was delighted – especially as it means I’ve PB’d every distance already in 2012 (apart from 5k). The weather clearly was helping as many more of the club recorded their best times on this course with at least one more getting a PB of over 2 minutes. And the weather was well behaved as the sun came out shortly after the end in time for an afternoon BBQ!