Race Review: Harewood House Half Marathon (No 2)

You know that feeling when something is SO GOOD you feel sure that doing it again may be a disappointment? Well, the British Heart Foundation Harewood Half Marathon was every bit as good on its second running as first time round.

I won’t repeat everything from Harewood Half 2015 but it absolutely delivered again, in every respect. Following are just a couple of additional thoughts.

It struck me that one of the things which is just right is the size of the field. I don’t know


Credit: Yorkshire Evening Post

how many run but it must be in the hundreds: this – and the fantastic organisation – make it feel like a big event, but not so much that you are lost in a sea of runners. You may find yourself on your own for stretches of the course, but with a runner 20m or so in front not so much as to feel alone.

Also the nature of the terrain makes it feels like an event for real runners. You hear people puffing and blowing, and there are comments between people about how tough it is… but they all keep going.

For me personally it was another one of those special runs: tough enough to have to find

Harewood16 Time

I wasn’t actually THIS quick!

something deep inside yourself but joyful at the same time. I didn’t push my heart as hard as last year but I did keep a good strong steady pace, right on plan. Steady. The kind of steady where you let people stretch away, content that you know how hard it is further up, and then overhaul them later. I think the expression is “Boom!”

I ran the whole way keeping in mind that there was the bastard hill at 12.75 miles to come: along the lakeside then up the vicious steep bank to the left corner of the house and across to the other corner only to drop back down again before the final climb. Then as I ran the long grassy stretch after 12 miles (“It’s 12milescoming….Breathe; it’s coming”) I saw ahead that the course had changed and went straight up the lane to pass the house and finish. Half of me was relieved; but the part of the runner’s brain which enjoys pain was actually disappointed.

My Garmin measured the course a little short which may have been it failing to track the twists and turns of the wooded areas, or maybe that last missing hill, or possibly the unintentional shaving of a corner here and there on an open grass trail. (I think maybe BHF need to consider a line of tape on the inside of a turn: eg at the 12-mile point the runners made a curve some distance in from a marshall who stood on his own presumably at the intended turning point.) It didn’t matter though, I wasn’t chasing a PB or a championship. In any case, on this course, you really would have to be an olympic-class curmudgeon to feel short-changed in any way.

Oh, and just in case you think I’m biased because this run is practically in my back garden (not in the same way as the Earl of Harewood, obvs!) have a peek at @VeggieRunnersUK race review.

Well done, BHF, very well done. See you again next year; and you’re on a hat-trick. No pressure then 🙂


About johntleeds

In amongst the perpetual juggling of work, family and things on my mind, this is MY time, MY escape. Any this is what my mind comes up with when it has time to wonder, as I wander on the trails... twitter @johntleeds
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