Milltown to Moors- Oldham Half Marathon

Focussing this week on my recovery from York; I took the whole week off of running. Thought about hitting the gym, but didn’t, worked through my week slow and steady, going in the hot tub and sauna on Friday. Didn’t really do much, hitting 1000-2000 steps per day. My legs didn’t feel anything like until Saturday morning, so I thought it best to skip parkrun. 

I’m kidding! I did look to focus on recovery runs though, so Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday morning consisted of runs around 7:15-7:30 minute miles, steady, racking the mileage up runs. My philosophy being that I would rather have a slower mile ache in my legs over a marathon that I raced any day! 

The plan Wednesday night was to flip a coin, heads was hills, tails was flat sprints. I didn’t get chance to do that, because I got a message from Scott Hinchcliffe, asking if I fancied a run. We took in some lovely hills around Darton, High Hoyland and Cawthorne; 10 mile later and my legs were what I’d call, back in the game. Awake and bored of full on recovery runs, 7 minute miles came; Thursday and Friday. 17:56 at Barnsley Parkrun Saturday, a 5 mile run after and another sub 20 5k around Kexbrough in the afternoon. 

24.2 miles- Monday

25.6 miles- Tuesday

21.4- Wednesday

20.2- Thursday

10- Friday

11.3- Saturday

Maybe 113 miles later from York and I’ve recovered. Today’s task will tell you if I have or not. The Milltown to Moors- Oldham Half Marathon; I ran here last year finishing in 1:27:00, 20th place. It’s hilly, it’s moor side, it’s windy always, it’s October. Around 1200ft of climbing, it prides itself on being a tough course. Naturally when I do a course that’s a beast, I invite Bryan along; of course he accepted! Crackers. 

I didn’t get to sleep last night until gone 12, just struggling to drop off with working late during the week. Plus i was watching a film, ‘Mike and Dave need wedding dates,’ that bad but you couldn’t take your eyes off of it. Anyway off on a tangent there; I woke up at 5.30/5.45/6.00 and 6.15 I got out of bed; shower to wake me up, porridge and Nutella in my bowl. Even had a drink with my breakfast and some fruit to take to the race with me. Not hard is it? 

7.30 I was out the house, it takes about an hour to get to Oldham from mine. 30 mile ish. Run able? One day. Taking the route over Saddleworth, more direct and quieter with it being Manchester Half Marathon today, I envisaged Woodhead being busy! 

Getting there around 8.30, going to the car park I parked in last year.. Only to notice where I thought you collected your number, to be no more! The building knocked down. Asking a parking attendant if it was free parking and he pointed me in the direction of free parking. Dumping the car; berghaus on, freezing. Off I went to find number collection, 2 mile later and 3 conversations, to point me in the direction, I found the new sports centre about 400 metres from my car. Open your eyes GC. Number and finishing shirt collected, that’s optimistic? Off I went back to the car. Windy at this point but no rain, smashing. Pinning my number on the shirt, getting changed and trying to calibrate my watch must be a rain ceremony in another culture, because this is when it started. Teasing it’s way through. Off I went to the start, seeing Bryan and pointing him in the direction of McDonald’s.. Toilet stop, don’t think a Big Mac meal would sit well before a half marathon! 

What a great way to start a Sunday! On the 7th day, you rest. 

A quick speech from Nicola White, a Gold Medalist from Rio 2016 in Hockey. Then we were underway at 9.30, a fast lap of the town centre and then downhill. Sitting in 4th as we re-entered the starting area, onto the downhill. Exiting Oldham centre following signs for Saddleworth, it’s a 3 mile climb, a lot like Snowdonia road marathon; that’s what Bryan said anyway! Apart from here we are passing many houses, cars and some funny smells, not quite as scenic as North Wales. Breaking out into the moors is a bit more picturesque. Splashing through puddles up the climb, made it pass a little quicker. Settling comfortably in a group of 3/4 runners, including me. 

Hitting what seemed the top of the climb with the first water station, bottled water, ace, heading now towards Delph; a massive downhill, I clocked 5:46 for miles 5 and 6 going down through here. Country lanes, ish. The group I was running in split up here, now finding myself in 7th place. From here to the middle of mile 9 was up and down climbing, weaving around country lanes and around Saddleworth golf club, from Uppermill. Running on open roads, dodging traffic, other people and dogs. It’s raining man. At mile 10, I could hear a runner bearing down on me and I could see a red speck in the distance, in front; so muttering to myself, move, kick on, hurry up. And I tried to kick on through towards the lumpy bumpy finish. Hitting 6:06, 5:57, 6:11 and 6:11 respectively. Catching the red speck eventually and leaving him with my momentum, for him to finish 25 seconds behind despite passing him at market mile 12, the fella who had been in my drag throughout me doing this; was still there and I couldn’t manage to shake him. Fighting through the wind and rain, whilst he tucked in behind. It really takes the energy out of you! 

Climbing up to the finish here, drained and nothing left to show. He pulled away, leaving me in 7th, the place I was in before I passed the red speck and the energy used fighting to catch the red speck showed. I finished in 1:23:00, dead. 7th place. 

Oldham Half takes the mantel along with Ashbourne, Eyam, Buxton, Liversedge and Yorkshire Wolds; joining my list of hilly half marathons. A perfect no fuss half marathon; you don’t get a stadium finish, you get an inflatable finish line, hardly any supporters on route, tough and easy sections, bottled water, and there was only 400 runners who turned out today. This beats a big city event any day of the week. Not the toughest race, I’ve done tougher, but the conditions may have or may not have helped me out on the day. Causing distractions, or slowing me down with the swirling wind. 

The next real challenge is less than 2 weeks away now! 

Bryan finished in 1:37:35, in 45th place! 

134 miles for the week (so far)- Sunday rules apply, so I’ll be back out later for a steady recovery stomp of 3 mile.

A couple of stats for you:

  • I’ve now run 16 different Half Marathon Races this year; equalling last years total of 16. With time to spare.
  • I’ve run everyday now for 321 days.

Race Results Link:

Strava Link:
Ps. Probably on a come down from York; but this week is short and sweet!

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