For once I felt fit & ready for a challenge after my April marathon. Leeds ticked all the boxes. It's a great challenge of a course for the half marathon distance with some tasty hills meaning a PB was never on the agenda but meant my training would increase my hill running so would be long term beneficial. It's a well supported race in terms of number of participants & the hotels aren't booked up immediately so a family room a mile from the start/finish was not costing the price of a football season ticket. My only issue came or more to the point never came which was my running number through the post. I would say at this point I contacted the organizer a few days prior to the start & they were more than helpful & the situation was resolved by me collecting the number on the Sunday morning pre race from the office tent. My problem is the night before any race I worry whether it a 10k or a marathon. I never sleep well & constantly develop negative thoughts about how badly the run will go or how I will overlay my alarm so with no race number I spent a night of sleepless stress (for no reason).
The race itself & after collecting my number I left my bag at the tent & then joined a long toilet queue. I missed the official warm up but that didn't concern me too much. I climbed in the pen as I had no idea where the entrance was & suddenly noticed I was starting in the red pen & not the blue pen like a few years back. I did notice people with other different coloured numbers in the pen so that side could do with tightening up as they arrange the start really well with breaks between each pen so you don't get the free for all through the first mile. I was at the start line within 5 minutes of the race starting & the first 2 miles were spent getting as much time in the bag as possible. It was a slight down hill start & I passed alot of people having to swerve & duck in & out but managed to get a good start behind me. Around 2.5miles in I knew what was coming hills!! The first is a long climb & then just when you think it's over you turn a corner & bang there is a shorter but steeper climb. When I did this event in 2015 the hills beat me mentally for the next 11 miles but this time I knew what was coming & got through them with relative ease. Between mile 4 & 7 it is a little boring as you run around the ring road so up a hill & then down with few crowds about although some funny signs stuck by the road side made me giggle. You then head back into the city & around mile 9ish you are heading back on a long flat straight. There are crowds about & the last 4 miles are pretty flat. It was hot & this part was open to the sun but i'd had enough water from the stations so I felt fine (Take note Brighton). The finish was really loud as plenty of support & as I turned the corner into Millenium square I saw my family which is always good. I slowed in the last few miles which finished off any hope of my first ever sub 90 minute half marathon. My finish time was 1 hour 31 minutes 21 seconds. A special shoutout to the 95 minute pacer who had stopped just before the finish & was encouraging everyone to sprint the las few steps. The finish is nice & spacious & well arranged. I declined a free beer (First time for everything) grabbed my goody bag & medal. The finisher shirt is good & the mars bar went down well. If anybody is looking for a good value for money half marathon that is well organised & you can have few travel worries then this is the one for you without a doubt. If you are looking for a PB course then look elsewhere. My opinion is not every run is about achieving a PB & i'm glad I took part in this race again. Will I do it again? Probably so I give it 8.5/10 for the whole experience.