WORKSOP Guardian news editor Debbie Sansom popped along to East Retford RUFC Half Marathon on Sunday as a test run before her London Marathon debut in April...
I’ve only run two half-marathons before so I was anxious to see how Retford would compare.
My first race was Worksop in October last year. At the time it was the furthest I’d run, so I didn’t go into the race too confident.
Thankfully I headed off to Retford having got up to 18 miles in my training programme, so I knew I would at least get round this time.
I completed Worksop’s in 2.21 and was crossed the finish line quite strong thanks to a steady downhill at the end, but then I staggered home to my car and to bed.
Clowne Half followed that, which I found abysmal. It was cold, windy, hilly and I was at right at the back on my own for long periods. I’d also not sorted out my hydration and hadn’t planned my meal the night before.
I limped across the line in 2.29 and felt dreadful.
But I’m pleased to report Retford was a great run for me, I probably enjoyed it more than most races I have competed in, including 10ks.
The course itself was undulating with a few steady climbs out in the countryside. The weather was also on our side it was a beautiful day, I even caught the sun a bit which got me thinking about suncream for the marathon.
It was probably a bit on the hot side but I saw it as good practice for April, when it’s likely to be hotter. Last year’s London Marathon was held on an extremely hot day and the weather is something I’m a bit nervous about.
The atmosphere at Retford was great and I found plenty of runners who were going at my pace to chat to on the way round. They included a group of gals who seemed to all be breaking their own records, and a woman from Ripley who was running her first half having only gone as high at nine miles in the training. They were all doing brilliantly and seemed to be smiling.
Despite the fact that not many of the roads were closed the race was on quiet country lanes and most motorists were courteous and patient.
Since this was my last race before the big one in April my main goal was to come out of it feeling confident having enjoyed it.
For this reason I checked myself from the start, trying not to go above my 5.5 mile target pace. I pipped over it plenty of times but thanks to a long steady hill in the last five miles of the race I averaged about 5.4mph and finished just one minute slower than Worksop.
Not bad at all considering I actually enjoyed myself, and despite sweating buckets I was definitely far from on my last legs at the finish line.
Organisers should be pleased with the whole event, over 440 participants completed the race and it went without a hitch.
A big thank you for letting me come along for a test run and thanks to the marshals for their efforts and encouragement.
Well done to everyone who ran.