I can describe this whole Half Marathon with just ONE word…
…in fact, since the two months that have passed since I ran this, I am struggling to remember a hotter day. It was scorching!!
The day started with my gym running group meeting at the hotel so we could car-share as Bosworth is over 20 miles from where most of us live around Coventry. We knew then, before it was even 9am that a warm day was ahead of us. Forewarned, we decided to hit the fridge at the gym reception and go fully armed with chilled energy drinks… and we needed it!!
The Bosworth Half Marathon is without doubt one of the best HM’s in the Midlands for many reasons. The start/finish area is held within the enjoyable surroundings of the Water Park, is well organised throughout and the course takes in the very best that Leicestershire countryside has to offer as you lap up mile after mile of tranquil English villages and fields that once witnessed the fierce battles that saw the demise of Richard III. In fact the only thing that couldn’t be planned was the ever increasing heat as we lined up at the start.
The first couple of miles of this marathon consist of very narrow country lanes which make overtaking very difficult and you can find your pace is restricted by the dozens of runners immediately in front of you. Eventually though, these lanes open out to country roads and soon you can rediscover your stride as you take in the beautiful views that await you.
However, as you’ve imagined by now, the biggest challenge of the day was the heat. Even though they seem to construct extra water and sponge stops to make this a little more comfortable it was quite clear that several runners were struggling. I witnessed one runner who was literally running around in a circular daze, who had seemingly lost his bearings with sunstroke or dehydration. I sat him down on a kerb and said I would send help when I reached the next marshal, who cycled out to him with water.
It was almost unbearable to run in, and soon you start to consider alternative means of transport to get you to that finish line… perhaps one of the passing cars, or one of the marshals bicycles…. or even a horse… a horse… my Kayano’s for a horse!!
It was one of those races where you had to be extra careful and run sensibly to the conditions, reducing pace and taking sufficient water. Last year, I ran a PB on this same course, but no such attempt was possible that day. Soaked with sweat, I eventually crossed the finish line, mightily relieved, in a time 1:43:18 in a position of 209th.
At the finish, I’d never enjoyed a cup of water so much for a long time… and was pleased to see my fellow gym runners come in safe and sound. Well done to the organisers for another great event and for adapting well in the extreme conditions.