Watford Half Marathon

“Certainly not a run for the fainthearted; a challenging, beautiful and brutal half marathon.”

My first half marathon of the season took place on closed roads during a chilly day in Watford. The gloves were on, numbers collected and two starts set for action (this race doubles as the Hertfordshire Veterans Championships). Nearly 2000 runners along with a good crowd of supporters and volunteers turned up for a race that was described as, “Hell!” by a friend and previous competitor!

The race started in Cassiobury Park along wide footpaths, quickly moving into the local estate, up past the woods, beautiful villages and The Grove. With inspiring road names like “Deadman’s Ash Hill”, there was a lot of challenge in this race through a very undulating course. Thankfully the ground underfoot was solid and the roads wide enough to overtake as the inclines took their toll on a number of runners. The hills were hard but the views were impressive, that’s if there was time to really appreciate them. Downhills were fast but hard on the knees.

There were a number of pacers out on the course, which was well marked and marshalled, and the distance was accurate on the Garmin. Even with the hills, it was a speedy surface with a number of club members crossing the line for PBs.

Facilities wise there was a busy bag drop, some toilets (though the condition of them was pretty nasty) and a nice warm tent with changing and lots of seating. At the end of the race there was water and fruit juice to hand – perfect! Water was also on hand at regular intervals during the race itself, with many enthusiastic volunteers, including singing children, to hand. There was lots of parking available nearby including the tube station within 800m of the start at less than £2.

The bling was simple but super: a beautiful die-cast medal; a Day-Glo technical running top with the race logo on; and no bag full of leaflets and junk that I’m not going to use. Excellent!

Overall? This is certainly not a run for the fainthearted; a challenging beautiful and brutal half marathon.

Personal running stats

Chip time – 2:06:31 (PB by 31 seconds)
PBs – Best Half Marathon, 2nd best 10 miles/15k/20k
Report – Sped up during the race having stuck with propacer Danny for the first 7 miles.

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