On the 19th of March I head down to the Wilmslow half marathon ready with 5,000 other runners to take on one of the UK’s fastest race courses to finally hit that PB. It was a pretty grim Sunday morning with a strong cold wind and wet drizzle making the conditions not ideal, but I cuddled my foil sheet anxiously waiting at the start. The gun went and we were off! What seemed to start as a sprint meant an uncomfortable first 5 miles – but at that pace I was amongst the men and most definitely on for that PB (personally I like to start a little faster so long as It doesn’t affect my pace further in the race and lactic acid levels). Mentally it was tough but pace wise I was doing well – that was until mile 5.5… where I was forced to a halt by some unexpected racers.
Somehow two horses managed to get onto the busy race course of 5,000 runners and as luck would have it galloped straight into the back of me forcing me straight to the floor – honestly, I couldn’t have even wrote it talk about an unfortunate event! After an initial shock and 4 minutes of trying to breathe/cry I carried on the race determined to finish but a tad demotivated to say the least having known my PB was out the window. Luckily the horses who had been took onto the course by a disobedient and inconsiderate woman were caught at mile 6 before they hurt anymore runners. I managed to complete the race in a disappointing 1:29:12, coming 12th female overall and whilst the time may not seem all that bad – when you’re on for a sub 1:25, trust me it hurts!
Personally, I didn’t enjoy my experience at Wilmslow and after having to chase for over a week through email for an apology and refund won’t be doing the race again – but if you’re interested in doing Wilmslow check out the race review below:
COURSE ROUTE & SCENERY: 2/5
Unfortunately, it was a miserable grey day so the scenery didn’t do too much for me plus travelling along the country roads made the course seem never ending as there was little to distract you from the race, which I tend to find with most city races where the scenery is constantly changing.
The course is said to be a relatively flat course and one of the UK’s fastest but if I’m honestly there was a few hills – a couple at the very start and some bigger ones further on … somehow when I hear “flat course” I seem to presume there are no hills haha overall the course wasn’t too bad and the support was nice from spectators but the consistent country roads was a little bit boring for me.
Well I’m going to give the organisation a low 2/5 for the fact that a woman could disobey marshals and take her horses on the course. To be honest I was lucky not to be more hurt and the organisers were very lucky that no other runners were hurt.
PB POTENTIAL: 4/5
The course is known to be one of the fastest and flattest. If you’re at the front you’ll get pulled along by the sheer speed of the other runners so it’s a good course to aim for a pb on.
VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5
At £39 this race was not cheap and I essential paid £39 to have a run in with two horses (although I have been refunded and sent flowers after chasing with emails). The goodie bags were okay but still I think £39 is quite an expensive race.
Finisher Goodie Bags: 4/5
I remember a delightful chocolate flapjack, a snickers bar, powerade and crisps – the goodie bags themselves were also drawstring bags – so a nice keepsake, I liked the bag!
BEGINNER FRIENDLINESS: 1/5
To be honest I wouldn’t say the race is beginner friendly. Despite the lack of safety there are quite a few serious runners looking to smash a fast course and being set in the countryside I would advise a more friendly and upbeat city race for beginners.
OVERALL RATING: 2.5/5
Overall my experience wasn’t the best but my rating of 2.5/5 goes down to the course route which I found a little bit dull, the organisation and the price but if you’re a fan of country roads and want a good course to smash a PB Wilmslow could be your answer!