The Dirt Half
By Adam Haylock
Many months ago when the sun was shining and the days were long, Glen sent out a message to see who fancied running the Dirt Half this year. Apparently it fills up early so I thought “why not?”, and entered. Throughout the summer I have continued to avoid hills and any kind of long runs until a couple of weeks ago when I stepped up my training and put in one 10 miler and a single 13.1 mile test run. What gets me about half marathons is that all of a sudden you have to start taking it seriously – proper training, fuelling, hydration and improved race tactics, so the preparation started the night before by only drinking 4 cans of Stella.
The morning of the race was misty and mild as we arrived at Cedars Upper School in Leighton Buzzard ready for a 10am start. Katie dropped me off and I quickly bumped into the rest of the crew. We spent a few minutes catching up, discussing footwear options, the pending hill and pulling funny faces at Erin. The soon to be Hallworth’s arrived – and seemed mega-chilled – with a only few minutes to spare, plus Kate had already been out and clocked 7 miles. Across the field and into our starting pens, everything was nicely organised and we were getting pumped up. Our rivals for the team prize were also in our pen with plenty of talent from David Lloyd and Ampthill around – let’s see what we can do!
With 13 miles ahead there was no need for a frantic start so we settled in nicely around the first loop of the school field and out onto the canal. With at least 6 miles along the canal path there was time to try and control pacing, although I found myself on my own with Billy and the pack ahead a bit too far away. I could already see five Ampthill runners ahead so that was annoying but tried to forget that and concentrate on maintaining a fast but not crazy pace. We left the canal and approached Great Brickhill up a pretty ridiculous hill. I had been pre-warned and it was tough although I managed it without dropping off the pace too much. The final stages of the run are fantastic with lots of twists and turns along different exciting terrain. The last 3 miles are back along the canal and time to hang on. At this stage I was running with Billy and we were doing our best to stay ahead of the fourth placed Ampthill runner. Amazingly I was able to push on slightly at 11 and hold on until the final sprint towards the finish line, although I did have a bit of a breather up that final hill (he walked! – ed.)
A great turn-out from LBAC with strong running from all 13 members – Jordan was as impressive as ever, although he did get beaten by a girl! I just made the top ten, around a minute ahead of Billy who brought home 13th place with the ever consistent Tim close behind at 1.27.54. Charlie continued his form with a great first ever half marathon to close the team in 1.28.42. James, Gary and Warren were all next home with strong runs on a tricky course. Amy rocked in with a solid 1.42.04, Roger was next followed by a rather muddy Andrew, Richard cracked a sub 2 hours and Kate closed the account and banked 20 miles for the day.
I can thoroughly recommend this run and would possibly go as far as to say this has been my favourite run in the last couple of years. Special thanks to all our friends out supporting. It is really appreciated and such a boost on the these long tough runs.