Greenway Challenge Half Marathon Report

Another day, another race report – it doesn’t seem long since I was writing my race report from my marathon last weekend.  Most sensible people wouldn’t be running another race the week after their first marathon, but sensible, I am not!

This was such a local event, I would be silly not to enter.  In its second year, the Greenway Challenge is a mostly off road half marathon around the perimeter of Letchworth Garden City.  I deliberately didn’t enter last year, as it was within 2 months of my first half marathon.  Only a year later, I was running it, and only a week after my first marathon.  Menthol!

Weather wise, it was pretty much perfect for running, cool, still and dry.  I was expecting it to be colder, so felt a bit over dressed in my tights, compression top and t-shirt over the top.  I did keep my cap and gloves on for the whole race though.

At the start of the race, I overheard the organisers were saying that it was a challenge, rather than a race, so that’s how I decided to run it – the challenge was to complete it, without slowing or walking, but not to race.  My legs agreed – they still weren’t on speaking terms with me after what I put then through last weekend!

I spotted an old school mate at the start, Jon Wilson, and had a little catch up – it’d been a long time – 19 years since I’ve left school.  Jon’s an accomplished athlete, and has ran a some tidy races, including this years Brighton marathon in 3:17!  I didn’t expect to see him again – he’d be home, showered and tucking into his lunch by the time I’d completed the challenge!  It’s good to catch up with people though!

Here’s me in the field before the race:

Me in a field

Me in a field

This was a small event, with about 170 entrants.  I’d seen the results from the race last year, and it’s a pretty quick field.  I’d reckoned on coming well towards the back, and estimated at being within the bottom 5% of the pack.

We lined up at the start after collecting our race numbers.  As this was such a small race, they didn’t bother with chip timing.  I put myself towards the back of the pack at the start, and this is what was in front of me – fit looking people, most of them in running club gear:

Fit people!

Fit people!

The klaxon went off at 10am sharp, and off we went.  The first couple of miles went quickly, and saw the first horrible hill come and go.  Being such a local race, my lovely wife, Sam, rode her bike out to see me at the 2.5 mile mark.  Here’s me in action:

Me in action

Me in action

The next couple of miles were mostly uphill – 160ft gain over two miles  – I must say that it didn’t really feel that much uphill.  Thankfully, the following 4 miles were all down hill, taking us to about 9.25 of the 13.1 miles.

There were a few ups and downs towards the end of the run, but chatting to a few lovely people made the distance seem pretty easy.

I wasn’t particularly going for a time during this challenge.  My personal best for a half marathon race was 2:13:38.  My PB for the distance was 2:06:30.  I didn’t really feel like I was in PB condition.  However, I completed the Greenway Challenge in 2:08:41, carving almost 5 minutes off my race PB, and just a couple of minutes over my distance PB.  Pretty good really, considering that I hadn’t really recovered from the marathon.

At the end of the race, there was cake all around, compliments of the race organisers:

Cake!

Cake!

There was also a memento from the challenge too – a very practical trolley coin:

Memento

Memento

All in all, a fantastic day out, a small and friendly event, and very well organised.  I will be running this again next year without fail!

Here’s the all important Garmin data for you stat fans:

http://connect.garmin.com/activity/175303529

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