Road Fixture 3 Blackpool Half - Race Report
Sunday was an important day for running, not just due to the London Marathon (very well done to those members who completed that one though) but also because it was the third road fixture of the year. New for the season was one of the Blackpool Festival of Running Events – the half marathon. The weather at the weekend had been simply awful. Saturday was windy as and was a washout, in total contrast to the weekend before. Given that Blackpool is usually blowing a gale on the front at all times anyway, I was slightly concerned that this new event may just go down like a prosecco drought at the Christmas do but I was also optimistic that the worst of the weather should be out of the way and knew that everyone who had signed up would turn up anyway. Fortunately, the wind seemed to have dropped quite a bit and it wasn’t pouring down on Sunday morning when we travelled over, much to everyone’s relief. We picked our numbers up from the registration area where it still was a bit breezy and there were several complaints of people being cold so we all went to shelter in a hotel reception for as long as possible. Just before 9.30, we finalised our clothing arrangements and got in line – the marathon starters (including club member James Love) facing the tower and those of us in the half facing north.
So the route started the north end of Blackpool and started near the sea wall. 16 A&T-ers ran further north briefly before turning up to turn right to run on the closed road and then took our journey south with the odd tram passing by for company. Past all 3 piers, the tower and the pleasure beach and conditions felt just great. At around 4 ½ miles we turned around through some houses and then started to head south and this is where the wind kicked in and certainly my times started to slow down for a few miles. The route to Bispham is actually up an incline also which, isn’t exactly Everest but combined with the wind it did make this stretch much more challenging that the initial outwards section. We had this to contend with until we dropped down to the sea wall and took a left to run back to where we started. This bit was fortunately sheltered which, was helpful for the last 3 miles or so. Out on the route, marathon and half participants blended in together and there were quite a few observations from others about the presence of blue vests and enquiries into where Malc was from his marathon buddies and recognisable faces from his Gin Pit events.
Once back where we started, an excited Phil greeted me to share the good news that he had got yet another PB (he had also beaten Brendan – Paul Basnett is now old news). Further PBs rolled in also from Joanne and Dave who have both recovered brilliantly from Manchester marathon and are now knocking out great performances. Lynn and Andrea also managed to impressively shave some time off their previous best half marathon times.
The podium places from the event were as follows:
1.MARK COLLINS 01:27:54
2.PHILLIP GRIFFITHS 01:31:58
3.SHAUN MORAN 01:32:39
1.STACEY MAMOUN 01:45:25
2.NICOLA SCOTT 01:50:12
3.JOANNE GIBSON 01:53:51
Everyone was awarded with a Freddo, a really nice medal and T-shirt combo with a tower/wheel design. Most of us then went back to the hotel where we sheltered earlier for a coffee and a chat. Overall, the race was well organised, a good size and atmosphere however, Blackpool could do with some better brunch facilities.
Thank you and well done to those that turned up and hope you all had a good day beside the seaside (I think you did).