Haweswater Half Marathon 2015

[Tue 3rd Mar] 


The first race of the 2015 Grand Prix season was attended by only 4 of the 35 runners who have entered this year’s competition, plus Darren ‘Ironman’ Noble who was racing for the second time in a week after his good showing at Snake Lane the previous Sunday.  No doubt the reasons for so many absentees are many and varied, including injury and fitness, and it is worth noting that the Harrier league Cross Country the previous day had a good turnout.  Well, whatever their reasons, a lot of our runners missed a chance for plenty of easy points to start the season off with.

The weather was not the cause of the poor showing as all of those who pre-entered from Blyth turned up, and there was a desk for entries on the day that was still doing some business despite the weather actually being rather poor.  OK, when I say poor …..  The severe gales of the night before had at least calmed to some extent, so that the snow, sleet and hail showers occasionally even came down at something close to the vertical.  To be fair, the worst of the weather seemed to save itself for just before and – even more so – just after the race.  It was not too cold once we got running and although t-shirts were the order of the day, those with more clothes on soon regretted it.

As ever, the tiny village of Bampton put on a good job of hosting the race and there was plenty of support at the start and finish despite the fact that those supporters must have longed to be in front of the log fire in the local pub.  The course was the same as always, with the bulk of the race being out-and-back along the reservoir with impressive views of the bleak Far Eastern Fells, made quite forbidding by the partial coverage of snow near the tops.  The first half was mostly into the teeth of what was still a very strong wind and was a properly tough run, not helped by all of the overnight rain and snow having flooded the road in several places.  We all finished with very wet (and very cold) feet.

As for the race itself, there were over 500 finishers, many with times well outside their usual best, so all of our runners can be satisfied with sound performances, and we were all well inside the top half of the field.  As ever, this not an easy course to judge your pace on with the miles being so variably hilly (although very evenly marked, according to the Garmins being used!) and was made even tougher by the strong headwind in the first half.  The downhill-with-the wind-behind nature of much of the last five miles did create an opportunity to recover lost ground for those who got their effort level right, though.  A special mention should go to Rob MacDonald, who was first Blyth finisher in his first race as a Grand Prix competitor and did very well to place 60th.

The usual hot mug of tea and flapjack at the finish were more than welcome and then it was back to the warm and dry in the car, avoiding the vehicles that were getting stuck in the field and away off home (OK, some of us might have stopped for a pub meal in front of a log fire) with some good points banked to start the season.