On Sunday 3rd June the biggest race, in terms of participant numbers, on the Devon running calendar took place and that is the Plymouth Half Marathon. Very much a 'big city' type event, it comes with a 'big city' type entrace fee of £30 but also 'big city' type prize money. Whilst the high entry fee can tend to put many club level runners off, the prize fund also serves to attract some top level club entrants and also the occasional Kenyan! All of this makes for a hugely varied and interesting race with times ranging from the winner's swift posting of 66.34 to the last finisher who trailed home in 4h10m! There were 3839 finishers, several DNFs, and 3 Harrier competitors who were mixing it up with the top level club runners, first time half-marathoners, chairty fancy dress entrants, and a smattering of Ethiopian and Kenya runners.
First Harrier home in a very highly placed 86th position overall in a time of 87:00, was Hugh Marsden. Back from his travels in the southern hemisphere, Hugh has obviously kept his fitness levels up whilst away. Although this time may seem slow for our Hugh, this is by no means a fast course. There is a killer hill at mile 6 in which almost 200ft of height is gained over half a mile, and then another, slightly smaller one, a couple of miles later. The course is also very twisty and turny and upsy downsy which constantly interupts your stride and cadence. To give some persepctive on how fine a performance this was, it gave Hugh 2nd place in the competitive MV50 category, him crossing the line just 2 minutes behind 1st in this age group. A great run!
Next in was Hugh's partner, Dawn Teed. Dawn also had a very solid run on this tricky course and was only 5 minutes outside of her half-marathon PB with a 1:52:37 clocking. This gave her 1279th place overall, putting her in the top third of finishers. She also placed 161st female and 20th in her FV45 category.
The third and final Harrier home was half-marathon guru, Trevor Cope. Although he does not post the fastest of times, finishing in 2:32:37 for 3401st place and 75th MV55, Trevor rather focuses on quantity as he tots up yet another half-marathon finish, taking his total to well over 250 halves completed! That's over 3275 miles, to give you an idea!!
If you are willing to pay the £30 entrance fee, you get treated to a nice course that takes in all the main parts of the city, including the Hoe, the Barbican and Saltram Park. You also get a nice souvenir tee-shirt and bespoke quality medal, so some might argue that it's worth the money!