8th January 2017 – The Wirral Way 13.1 Trail Half Marathon
So, the day had arrived for me to run my first ever half marathon! Of course, I cannot compare this particular half to any other but I can write about my own experience.
The Wirral Way half marathon is a brand new race – this year being its first and so I was not the only newbie here! Luckily for me I’d managed a couple of training runs with some club members prior to the race. These were organised by Tony Hill and followed a good portion of the course so I was able to become accustomed to the route. Starting close to Hooton train station there was plenty of parking available for those who needed it, however, as I was dropped off at the start and picked up at the finish, I can’t comment on the efficiency of the free bus service from the finish back to the start for anyone who had left their car there.
The start of the race was staggered in fifteen minutes intervals to avoid congestion which appeared to work well, however, if you had planned to arrive and run with a buddy there could have been up to two hours between their start time and yours if you were to be placed in different groups.
The route itself is quite pretty, following the Wirral way which offered a flat terrain – ideal for a first half! The course was fairly well marshalled although I would have liked to have seen some more supporters along the way, perhaps this lack of supporters was due to the infancy of the race. The entirety of route was open to the public and so the runners all saw a great number of walkers, cyclists, and horse riders but this didn’t cause any problems for me. At roughly ten miles the route takes you straight past the finish and then loops back around for the final stretch which I found quite tough psychologically, a feeling I don’t think I was alone in. Fortunately, my morale was boosted by the presence of my family who had parked at the finish to watch me cross the finish line. They were a great support at both the ten-mile marker and at the finish where I came in at a very respectable time of two hours and nineteen minutes.
In conclusion, I would certainly recommend this race to anyone wanting to run their first half marathon as the course is flat and can be run beforehand to familiarise yourself with the route. However, seasoned half marathon runners may find it a little boring with its lack of either interesting landmarks or atmosphere along the way.