Six members of Grantham Running Club made the short journey north on Sunday 25th October to join 2000 other competitors taking part in the ‘spooktacular’ Worksop Halloween Half Marathon.
The race, now in its 34th year, begins in the heart of Worksop with a one and a half mile climb heading out of town and into the National Trust’s Clumber Park, which was looking resplendent in perfect autumnal conditions. There is barely a flat stretch of road on the 13.1 mile course, but runners are rewarded with a mile long downhill stretch to the finish line.
The race’s Halloween theme is embraced by many of the competitors and the enthusiastic marshals, which helps give the bona fide serious race (It incorporated the Nottinghamshire Half Marathon Championships) a feel good party atmosphere. The race represents excellent value with all roads closed to traffic, the most extravagantly lauded sponge station in the land - with signs stretched out over a mile of signs extolling its (dubious, given the cool conditions) value to the race - and a goody bag that featured both a suitably ghoulish technical t-shirt and finishers’ medal.
Matthew Kingston-Lee, who only finally decided to take part in the race on the morning of the event after recommencing running three days earlier following a calf strain sustained at the Chester Half Marathon, benefited from a cautious start to run a solid race, albeit tempered with some injury niggles, to finish 25th overall in a chip time of 1:18:59.
Catherine Payne had another strong run to claim a prize for finishing second V45 and 26th female in 1:36:30, less than half a minute slower than her recent performance at the Great Eastern Half Marathon. Holly Durham was delighted to finish her first half marathon following the birth of her son in 1:41:50 and Robert McArdle ran an impressive 1:43:30 given his injury problems of late. Nick Payne had a strong race to secure a best for 2015 of 1:45:33.
Ruth Dunstan and Louise Payne made a last minute (and totally unplanned!) decision to take part after missing a flight to Slovenia the day before. The hills of Worksop made scant consolation but both showed great determination in the face of disappointment to finish in 1:49:50 and 1:57:20 respectively. Nikki Carr successfully finished her second half marathon of the month, coming home in 2:18:54.
The race was won by Stuart Spencer of Notts AC in 1:09:31; the winning woman was Nicola Gleadall of Sheffield RC in 1:21:34.
(Photo left to right, Catherine Payne, Robert McArdle and Holly Durham after the race)