• Cost: £27

  • Terrain: Road/Pathway

  • Course Map: Strava

  • Entries: 1810

  • 2019 Results: CLICK HERE

  • Start: CV37 6HB

  • Finish: 

Organisation 90%
Route 82%
Value 78%
Atmosphere 75%
PB Potential 85%

Shakespeare Half Marathon

Review by Simon Linklater

PB or not PB? That is the question.

I can’t tell you how long I waited to get home and post that as my facebook status. I was so proud of that one #nobhead.

So with my running going well I’d become a tad addicted to entering races. This being the 4th Half Marathon in the space of about 7 weeks.

Hastings to Stratford-Upon-Avon isn’t a short 30 minute drive away either. In fact I left the car at home. 5 different trains and 5 hours later I arrived at my hotel, ideally located for the start of the race the following morning.

I had a little wander around the town in the evening but it was pretty nippy and most of my suitcase was taken up with chicken drumsticks and hummus, so no room for a coat of any sorts.

I slept pretty well which is unusual on race night and had plenty of time in the morning having arranged a late check out. I was able to amble my way down to the start. No need to pick up my number, no need to drop off my baggage and no need to pay an unpleasant visit to the portaloos. For a change I actually turned up at the start line with my number aligned straight and not worrying constantly about whether I needed another poo.

The race started in the town centre and we passed through the main streets which was pleasant before heading out of town on some flat country lanes. Passing time in my hotel room the previous evening I typed into google “Running the perfect half marathon”. With my notes firmly lodged in my long term memory I set off at a steady pace. In fact having got to the start line early I was quite near the front so spent the first 5k of the race being passed by quicker runners. But I kept my cool and stuck to my plan.

As we reached the 3 mile mark it was time to pick up the pace a little. By now we were out of the town on a mixture of main roads and country lanes. Apart from a couple of gentle hills the course was very flat. Both the half marathon and marathon use much of the same route and I was able to slot in behind a Marathon runner at a steady pace. By now I was averaging around the 5.30km mark and sub 2 hours was on.

The support was good and we turned left onto a path called the greenway as we headed back towards the finish. The surface was a little bumpy but again very flat and I kept up my steady pace. As the Marathon runners peeled off and us weaker minded individuals got closer to home, the course narrowed at about 19km. A coned off stretch on a main road followed by a narrow path made over taking almost impossible which at that stage of the race was surprising and a little frustrating.

As we entered the park again the noise levels increased and I knew I was on for a good time. A strong finish helped me to a 1:59:18 chip time. So to answer the question, yes I did manage a PB.

Was it worth the trip all the way to Stratford-Upon-Avon? You better believe it. I loved the town, enjoyed the course and came away with a new PB. Passing through the capital on the same day as the London Marathon was just the icing on the cake and made me realize how big running is.

Will I be back? Almost certainly. Hopefully stronger minded and ready to tackle the full 26.2 miles next time.

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