Firstly, thank you to anyone who’s started to follow the blog recently – I’m terrible at checking the admin side of managing my blog and when I see those who’ve enjoyed what I’ve written about, I truly appreciate it! And on this occasion I’m a little later in getting my post out than I would have liked. But here goes.

For about four weeks after the Blackpool Marathon, I chewed over what I might do to improve my prospects of achieving a sub-3 hour marathon, to myself, my wife, family, friends and fellow runners. But greater priorities in life took hold. I finished my job in the city of Leeds to start afresh, much closer to home. OK, effectively a like for like job, but in terms of the commute, much, much better. I got back into my training routine and opted to look forward instead of back. There will be time to analyse the marathon I ran when it’s right. Ultimately, my next big race began to appear over the horizon – the Halifax Half Marathon. And so my focus on the marathon is, at present, firmly at the back of my mind.

Indeed, this week is quite a busy one race-wise. The main race I have is the half, on Sunday June 30th, but prior to that is my club, the Halifax Harriers’, annual Summer Handicap 10K, on Tuesday June 25th (which has already happened). I normally race this event flat out, but with the potential to do well at the half, I had to be considerate as to how I raced on Tuesday evening. In the end, I raced flat out, like I always do, but my 10K PB remains at 37:08. I was a bit off my PB last year but it was a sweltering evening. This year, the forecast brought some summer rain beforehand, and thankfully it was a bit cooler. I raced a much more even paced race in the first 5K and it paid dividends up to 8km. I was grimly hanging on to my pace at that point, but I kept to my target and it only really dropped on the final climb back to the finish. I went through 10km in 36:46, which would have been a new PB, had the course, as it always is, been long. And so my time this year was 37:35 for 10.15km. I basically shut down after 10km, somehow thinking I was saving myself for Sunday, but truth is I raced my nuts off, only to ultimately not get the reward of a PB, but at least confirming I’m capable of running sub-37 for 10km, which bodes well for later in the year. And everyone got free pie and peas afterwards, so all’s good!

Racing the Halifax Harriers Summer Handicap 10K, 25/06/2019 (cheers to Michael King for the photo)

The Halifax Half Marathon is an event I believe I can do really well in. I last ran the event in 2014, which took a different route altogether, spoiled by one farmer’s chagrin at an arrow sign being placed near his farm on public land, no less, and a scary pass underneath a dual carriageway, the Lüdenscheid Link in Brighouse, with some runners actually using the overground crossing, which wasn’t closed! These days it heads north into the villages of Mount Tabor, Mixenden and Ogden, before heading towards Queensbury, Boothtown, and back to Dean Clough mills in Halifax. I reccied part of the course just last week (the perks of working in a job in the right location) and, while it is challenging in places, in terms of climbs, it does feel like I can run a decent time on it. Not a PB course, by any stretch, but it feels similar in nature to the Liversedge Half Marathon, a race I’ve always done well in, and so with that I have good reason to believe I can be competitive and pull off a good result. That said, I don’t envy anyone doing the full marathon! There’s small and big climbs everywhere on the route, each one bound to be more punishing than the last.

One of the sights of the Halifax Marathon course

After this weekend I’ll look back once more at how it went and then look ahead to what I’ve got planned for the future, whether that’s another marathon or anything else. Fingers crossed in the meantime that I can build on my 10km run from days ago and make it two great performances.