Race: Wirral Way Trail Half Marathon 2017
Location: Wirral Way – Hooton to Thurstaston
Date: Sunday 8th January 2017
Finish Time: 02:02:55
A damp, foggy, and surprisingly mild January morning saw around 700 runners take part in the first Wirral Way half marathon. I only entered this race because my brother wanted me to do it, then he was forced to pull out on the orders of his physio but I decided to give it a go anyway. Starting on the Wirral Way at Hooton, the route took us along bridlepath with a little bit of road, and then mud towards the finish at Thurstaston country park. A flat course for a trail race so perfect for first time runners.
Due to very narrow parts of the course, particularly at the start, we were set off in small groups at 15 minute intervals. I was booked on to the 10:15 group so enjoyed the luxury of not having to get out of bed until 8am. Rare for a race! Setting off in small groups was good because it meant the race felt low key and relaxed. The only downside was I was running on my own for a long time as the group spread out quickly. Thankfully I started to catch up with slower runners and then the faster runners from later groups started to overtake.
I went into the race unsure about how I would do. I didn’t have a target pace or time in mind. The distance alone wasn’t my worry but rather running that distance in my trail shoes. I was undecided beforehand about what shoes to wear. Although it was muddy, it was no worse than canal towpath routes that I usually run in my road shoes. I was glad to have my Saucony Peregrines on for the small section of churned up muddy field. I happily skipped through that whilst others around me tentatively walked through the mud.
My pacing was surprisingly good, and I managed not to burn out towards the end. I think I surprised myself by how strong and fit I felt, with enough energy left to push hard in the last couple of miles. I’m doing the classic post-race shuffle today as my legs have siezed up. So I must have pushed myself. The marshalls were brilliant and other runners were wonderfully supportive. The last few miles involved a loop back, and runners passing who were approaching the finish were passing on words of encouragement. Love a friendly race!
The weather was rubbish. Lots of drizzle and I made the error of starting the race in my glasses. Eventually I gave up attempting to wipe the rain off on my top, and took them off. I figured I had better visibility without glasses than with them on. Thankfully they just about fitted in my little running bag.
Overall I enjoyed being able to run along the Wirral Way. I wouldn’t normally run on that route because I’d worry about being too isolated if running on my own. So doing it as part of a race was fun. I’ll definitely look out for it again next year.