Sheffield Half Marathon, 7th April 2024

A belated report from Paul Bastow:

“A race that started next to The Crucible in Sheffield city centre, then out in to the countryside climbing 1125ft (according to my Strava) giving great views of the Peak District, and back again.

The race also incorporates a ‘triple test’ giving entrants a chance to be crowned Peaks Challenge winners in a timed hill climb, and then a timed 10K downhill sprint section.

The forecast was rain and winds gusting up to 49 mph, rough enough for the organisers to tell participants that a decision would be made at 6.30am as to whether the race would go ahead. But conditions lightened such that the race could go ahead, and I was joined by 5000 other runners to brave the course.

Whilst the headwind, combined with the steep climb, meant elements of the course were like running up The Travelator from Gladiators, all in all it was an enjoyable and scenic course, with some quite respectable times being posted. The first male finisher 1hr 08 min and female finisher 1hr 21min, with myself just slightly behind with 1hr 39 mins.

Although a sub 1hr 40 time was always my aspiration, I have only achieved this a couple of times previously and thought it may be a bit too ambitious when I took 41 mins to get to the 5 mile point. However, the Sheffield half is certainly a race of two halves, and after mile 5 to 6 was relatively flat, the course went in to 6 miles of well appreciated, steep descent with tail wind that felt like someone was giving you a push! At the 10 mile point, where I’ve previously ‘hit the wall’ I was welcomed with a 260ft descent, making it my second fastest mile of the day.

The final mile had a small climb to encounter, which caught my jelly legs a bit by surprise, but thankfully I had enough left in the tank to maintain a good pace and get round under my desired target time.

I doubt many runners get a PB at the Sheffield Half, but it is a unique event and one I would recommend to those who fancy a hill challenge.”

Laurie Johnson -
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