I do like the Sheffield Half Marathon and I did like the old course but there is something rather beautifully masochistic about the course change they introduced three years ago when Run For All, the legacy organisation for the late Jane Tomlinson, got involved and decided to embrace Sheffield’s inner hilliness.
It’s possibly the way they quietly ratchet up the intensity as they take you out of the city along Arundel Gate and onto the long stretch that is Ecclesall Road, which all takes place on a slight incline. Then the slight gets less slight and much more significant as the road rises skywards, getting gradually steeper and steeper. Until by mile four you are on your hands and knees crawling up the one mile stretch that they call the 'King\Queen of the Hill' before eventually you can kiss the tarmac at the top of Ringinglow. From where you look forward to plummeting down... the scenic flat bit.
Allegedly, after the scenic flat bit, it’s all downhill to the finish, only it isn’t. It remains frustrating undulating and deliciously painful right up to the finish line.
Plus there is an additional nuisance factor this year, a dose of very unseasonal Yorkshire weather. Obviously in Sheffield in April you expect wind, rain and maybe hail or possibly snow, or all four at once but this year Sheffield is struck by a heat wave which really wasn’t that welcome.
I survive though and cross the finish line where I am bested by last year’s time by a three mere seconds but you still can’t beat it as a location for your Sunday morning jog and they’ve even given us a wearable t-shirt this year.
My only wish is that they would put as much effort into the mile markers as they do the km markers that map out the last 10k, for which there is an additional prize. These are all nice sail banners whereas the thirteen mile markers appear to be an assorted collection of whatever was lying around at the back of the race director’s garage.
Once I have been reunited with my legs, I head off to track down L who is now touring the country by Puregym as well as by Parkrun and has been checking out the Sheffield branch.
Unfortunately there’s no time for a rehydrating beer in Sheffield, that will come later, as I have my White Van Man booked for 2.30pm to move Daughter’s big stuff and anyway, I will need my wits about me to put her bed back together.
I suppose I do have a rehydrating beer because they are handing out the Erdinger AF. Do they ever actually sell any of that? It’s an acquired taste anyway as you can see from how much of the stuff gets donated to the local tramps.
After we’ve moved Daughter’s stuff, L and I crash out (well I do) for the evening in the Horse & Jockey in Stapleford.
(Sunday 9th April)