The Retford Half Marathon

Well, it’s been a tough few weeks. It’s not been nice having to hold back and not run as much. I’ve drove past other runners on the roads in jealousy. I’ve logged on strava seen all this activity and my measley runs alongside. It’s not been nice.

I’ve had a week of holding back, in the early part. But now I feel I’m back at it. And here to stay. Cough has diminished, legs are feeling alright, and sleeping better. We’ll see what can happen over the next few weeks now. My weekly mileage this week will total just over 140 by the time I’ve done. With some quality speed run and tempo sessions thrown in. It’s been quite alright. Work has been all over again, but settling into routine.

Oh and I finally had a trim!


Barnsley Parkrun came Saturday, I had a rest if you could call it that on Friday, only running 10 mile but working 9-9. So when Saturday came around, my legs felt relatively fresh and obviously freshly trimmed; I felt good. Rocking up at parkrun, seeing Shaun Dimelow and Brendan Moody chatting away, glancing over and seeing Stuart Wilson and then Tim Baker, Rhian Hastey; who is on a comeback. Quick chat with Shaun, he said there was another kid there called Harry who was also quite fast. It was to make for an interesting run. With 6/7 of us ‘competing’ potentially. We set off and Tim put his mark down early, but soon to be caught. I was amazed then to find myself in front of these quality runners, with Brendan tucking on my shoulder. First lap out of the way in 5:30 pace, Brendan says another lap like that you’re on for sub 17. Cantering on, pace dropped for the miserable second lap. But with Brendan still on my shoulder I kept pushing. I knew Shaun and Harry wasn’t too far behind cause I could hear them! Onto the third and climbing just from the car park, Brendan gave a glance at his watch and his long stride took him off in front. He finished in 17:02 and me in 17:12.

A NEW PARKRUN PB! Hopefully sub 17, won’t be too far away. A quick chat again with Shaun and off I went for a bit of an extension with Brendan.

Anyway let’s get straight to the point of this whole blog post. The Retford Half Marathon. First broke that illustrious 80 minute barrier here last year. 1:19:51. Obviously a PB at the time. So a crime not to come back. It would be tough to PB here this year. With my strong run and PB coming from the pancake flat Inskip Half Marathon in January. Through choice I went to bed late on Saturday, silly mistake, was watching a documentary about Tony Robbins! Watch it if you get chance, it was interesting.

Woke up and wanted to set off at 8; check more like 8.30, after shower and breakfast.. quick sticks to get to Retford now.

Getting there at 9.15; number on, 3 mile warm up and done.

Tim Baker stood next to me now on the startline, I saw him yesterday at Parkrun. We always yo-yo with each other. He bet me at York, I beat him somewhere else. Always a good runner. I bet him yesterday at Parkrun, so was it his chance to get one back… Looking around and a squad full of Blizards are here, Dan Kestrel, Paul Marriott, Steve Melber, Mark Havenhand and Mel Wallace. Gareth Lowe was also here from Clowne, John Beattie (A Professional Runner) and plenty more faces I recognise. Just short of 1000 finishers; with a fairly fast group of runners at the front. I was hoping here it wasn’t going to be a lonely race.

We set off out around the roundabout and back to the main road. Two gents were loitering around the startline; dressed in all the gear, but I don’t think they had any idea. I ended up getting stuck in behind their slower pace from the word ‘go.’ Tim managed to not get stuck and broke free for a faster start. I couldn’t make up the ground that I had now lost so early in the race, and didn’t want to burn out so early in the race either. So opted to sit in and go with the flow. Breaking out onto the road, but now running on my own. So far back from my ideal group of runners and in the stragglers behind. Tim still in front and his ‘Help for Heroes’ vest a target in the distance.

 Mile 1 down and still got sight of the lead car in front, now some runners started to pass me, I let them. Opting to run my own race targeting 1:17 for a finish. If I felt strong I could probably push for a 1:16 after the double back section. I know this course quite well. Engrained in my memory from previous years. Still not caught Tim anyway and couldn’t feel or hear any runners behind. On my own, no blocker for the wind and choosing my own pace. Running on. Pace settling into a nice rhythm but the road to begin with, is such a long drag. Closed and slight inclines and declines. A long road until mile 5ish. I eventually caught Tim just before the mile 3 marker. The first cupped water station came at mile 4. A quick throw on the face. Now settled in place, runners in front seemed so far away. No runners felt behind. Still moving. Turning off the long road soon. Onto a country track, in previous years competed with tractors on there. Making the turn, I felt a pain just above my left knee. That’s strange; slowed a little gave it a love tap, and sped back up. It felt immediately weak. Interesting. I knew in my head this road was a little ‘windey’ and went on for a mile before the double back section. On the way out this section seems the most pointless; but on the way back it’s great because you can see all the other runners, each slogging their guts off! Chasing improvement. It’s slightly downhill and you don’t really feel it, but on the way back up. God it’s a climb! Water station just before the section, thrown on my face again. Turn right and plodding down, can see a fair way in front here. Still running majorly with zero company only the odd Marshall or spectator. Seeing the lead 3 coming up in the shape of Beattie, Kestrel then Lowe. I made the turn to see Tim and Mark pretty close. Followed by Steve, Mel. Running some more, Sarah Gough, Adrian Gough, Leigh Allsopp, Martin Swift, Jonathan Hall, Dave Allemby, all running. And conquering it. Climbing out of the ditch, reaching near the top and an old guy on his bike goes ‘200 yards’ and it’s all downhill. Longest 200 yards ever. It climbed again and felt never ending. Nearly there. Massive downhill. Until the little humpback bridge I drove in on. I believed anyway. Still nowhere near catching the lads in front. The groups had begun to split and some had begun to drop off and others pull away. 

Reaching the bridge I knew if I peddled down I could probably gain at least one position ahead. I was confident in my time being around the 1:17 mark, despite not looking at my watch for the full race. This is using your body to control your pace. Water station came just after 11, nearly home and dry. This drink missed my mouth and soaked my t shirt instead! Cracking on now. Nearly into the mile run home. A lads pace in front was slowing enough to catch him. Onto the mile down before a cheeky climb to the finish; I kicked on hoping to climb at least a place and hoping for the sub 1:17 time. The steel city strider vest pulled away in front, leaving another runner in his dust. I managed to catch him in the dip. Climbing a position and onto the finishing straight. 

I finished in 14th


Using my body to dictate the pace and looking away from my watch seemed to work a treat.

Results Link:

Strava Link:

Eventual Splits.

Just Keep Running!


  1. What can I say, you are a mean machine. BUT, do have a rest at some point. Have a couple of weeks off, do some cross-training and let your body recover.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.