Northampton Half Marathon, 3rd September 2017
13.1 miles, 1hours 45 minutes
Being a true Northamptonian, entering this race was a no brainer. Logistics for the race were straightforward. They had registration open on Saturday which I took advantage of which meant there was little to do on race day other than get myself to the start and drop my bag.
The race was well attended and I was even surprised they had a few pacers (1:30 / 1:45 / 2:00 / 2:15 / 2:30 were the ones I noticed, perhaps more). I must admit I hadn’t studied the route much in advance. All I knew was the first few miles were a tour of the town centre and then the route headed over to an industrial estate (Brackmills) so I wasn’t expecting an enjoyable and scenic route.
However, I was pleasantly surprised. The start was outside the neo-gothic style Guildhall, one of the nicest and most imposing buildings in an otherwise architecturally bland town center. It was nice to see there were so many spectators there to cheer us off. The early miles took in the Racecourse, covering part of the local parkrun route and as the roads were closed for this section it was pleasant enough. The route then headed down to the river and along a nice gentle tow path which was very pleasant.
We then headed over to the industrial estate which wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. I tried to spot a few companies I had done the odd holiday jobs with, one packing Christmas cards into boxes in mid-summer and another cooking, freezing and packing bacon…yum! The route didn’t stay long here before heading up the toughest hill on the route, about half a mile long but at a steady gradient, before heading off into the Northampton countryside.
That’s one thing that can be said for Northampton, it is surrounded by lovely countryside and some pretty villages. After a few more rolling hills we headed back downhill and through some wooded areas back towards town. The Final few miles involved a short run alongside a dual carriageway before heading alongside a gold club and into the back on the Delapre country estate, where the race would finish.
The nice scenery through the second half of the run had distracted me a little and having already climbed most of the hills I noticed my pace was pretty good. I upped the pace further for the last few miles and was able to shave nearly 2 minutes off my PB, something I wasn’t aiming for at the start so that was a nice bonus.
The finish itself was in front of the newly refurbished Delapre Abbey and with large and noisy crowds at the finish line, made for a really nice finish.
All in all, the run really impressed me. The route was rather pleasant, the start and finish were outside probably the 2 nicest buildings in Northampton, we got a great running tee (in a lovely shade of pink), a nice little medal at the finish and with a PB to boot it was a pretty good mornings work.