Humber Bridge Half Marathon 2016
This years’ HBHM just happens to fall into exactly the right place for my Berlin marathon training programme, so it was with this in mind that I sent out a message that I was going to be pacing at around 8:15 and was looking for partners to run with. First to reply was our very own Polish Princess Magdalena, who having ran her first half marathon at 1:52:28 at Nth Lincs last month, was looking to pb at around 1:50:00, she of course had heard all about the dreaded cardiac hill and all the warnings that it’s a much tougher course than the flat N. Lincs. but was totally unphased by this and had a “bring it on” attitude.
My day started with a lift from Kirsty Wilson to the foot of the Humber Bridge followed by Janice Wilcocks and Mandy Davison, this was a strategy that really worked well as we completely missed any traffic build up unlike previous years and we also got away with no delay after the race, so it was straight to pub to celebrate, always a bonus for the EHH AA section.
We started the race well up the field along with Adam Callan and after a brief chat with Pete Dearing resolved not to get too carried away with the descent into Hessle for the first mile, we managed to heed the advice and at mile 1 we were just 15 seconds ahead of out 8:24 pace target, not bad considering we had to factor in for the slower uphill miles to come, but also not get too carried away by the downhill and suffer for it later.
We found ourselves keeping a healthy constant pace going across the bridge and kept a good conversation going all the way, issues of the day like the recent referendum and the performance of England and Poland in the Euro’s were two of the hot topics. It was on the bridge that we were joined by Nikki Blyth of White City, who was also looking for a pb of around 1:50 and stayed with us all the way to the bridge on the return, ensuring between the three of us that we kept up the spirits with plenty of friendly chat.
After the run up the slip road into Barton (which to me is almost as tiring as cardiac hill), we found ourselves keeping good time and averaging 5 – 10 seconds per mile ahead of pace, this was in no way over stretching us and I was confident that we would meet our target. It was around the 8 mile mark that we met Pete on his bike again and he assured us that we were spot on for pace, as we passed under the bridge we were grateful for the supporting shouts given by Nippy (also supporting wine gums in his case), Nige, Bernie and Graham. Magda was obviously feeling good here as she decided to give Graham a dowsing from her water bottle. We took the left turn that leads to the infamous hill, were, as we passed the 9 mile marker, I checked my watch to see that we could afford a 9:30 mile and still be on target, this certainly paid off for us. As I tried to dictate the pace running ahead slightly, Pete offered encouragement from his bike to Magda and Nikki.
We reached mile 10 on the slight descent back towards the bridge still a handful of seconds ahead of target, but as we started to climb the bridge approach road Magda was starting to tire, the sun was at this time at its hottest and we were also being hit by an unprotected head wind now. It was a hard slog along the bridge towards the twelve mile marker and I was beginning to doubt myself the promises I’d given to Magda that we would be rewarded with the start of the slope back down the other side soon. Still we were passing plenty of people and credit is due to Magda for the way she picked up enough on the last mile to ensure she got home on target at 1:50:08, with me trailing in a second after due to her incredible sprint finish. Well done Mags, next step a sub 1:50 ant Major Stone.