Vale of York half by Paul Stocks

With the greater number of NYMAC members heading to the Great North Run, six of us headed in the opposite direction to run the Vale of York half marathon in Sherburn-in-Elmet.

Paul Bainbridge kindly drove myself, Jane Wilson and Darren Carrell having admitted that he would have stayed in bed if it wasn’t for the fact he’d agreed to drive us (thanks Paul and I know afterwards that you were glad you did the race). Brain Laverick and Richard Barnes made up the party of six.


This was the first time time the four of us had ran this race. It was also the first half marathon that Darren had run and it was my first road half marathon so two PB’s were on the cards as soon as we crossed the start line.


The start and finish of the run was from an airfield so there was plenty of parking. Race numbers/chips were not posted out in advance so we had to queue for ten minutes for those and squeeze a loo trip in too.

It’s little wonder that when the race started people were still frantically making their way over to the start line whilst trying to pin their numbers on.

The outdoor urinals were a good idea to help keep the portaloo queue’s down (sorry ladies!).


Darren and Jayne headed a little further up to the front at the start and Paul wasn’t far behind me. I stayed on my own so I could keep to my plan on not going off to fast. I was aiming for around 7:00 minute miles to get me home between 90-95 minutes with a view to push on at the ten mile mark if I had it in me. I wasn’t confident I could keep that pace up from mile 8/9 so it’d just be a case of hanging on and doing as best I could. Given that I’m marathon training 13 miles doesn’t seem so scary anymore but sticking to my planned pace for the full distance had been weighing on my mind.


Ten minutes later than planned at 9:40am we were underway. 


It’s a flat route, run on closed roads and you were allowed earphones so I settled in with some Bruce Springsteen (I know, I know!) and tried to stay relaxed.


The weather was good … dry, a bit of a breeze but nothing to worry about. We ticked the first mile off on the airfield before we got out on the main road. The route is an out and back with a loop between around 6 – 8 miles before you come back along the same road to the finish. There are 3 water stations.

I was running well. tagging onto other runners around me who were running at my pace. Jane was about 100 yards up the road from until around around mile 8 so I was keeping an eye on her to help with my pace but she gradually picked her speed up and I lost sight of her in the last third of the race.   


I started to lose a little bit of time from the 10 mile point, nothing major but I knew I was still ok for a finish within my target time and before I knew it I was into the last mile and I was picking off a few runners with the finish area in sight.

It seemed to take an age to get there but I knew Darren and Jane would have already finished and they’d be on the side-lines waiting for me and Paul to cross the line so that kept me pushing on.


Darren finished pretty much within his target time in an impressively quick 1:23. Not bad for your first half! Good luck chasing that at Redcar Darren!  Jane had a great run, coming in around 4 minutes quicker than her target at 1:30 and taking 1st place in her category (brilliant, well done Jane). Paul finished only 40 seconds off his PB which was a great result considering he hadn’t been doing any specific training and he should have been at home watching Sunday Brunch.  I didn’t see much of Brian or Richard unfortunately but it looks like they both had solid performances with 1:32 and 1:39 respectively. I managed 1:33 and pretty much bang on target pace so I was really pleased.


We all really enjoyed the race, Number collection aside – It was well organised and it’s ideal for a PB.

I’d recommend it as a stand-alone half marathon or as an alternative to the GNR and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back next year ..

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