Harewood House Trail half marathon – 13th January 2024

by Gerry Hehir

Saturday morning saw me and Jane set off on our next half marathon run, this time we were heading back to Yorkshire and it was the Harewood House Trail half marathon.

The weather was cold but clear and the sun was shining. It was on a new course from last year, instead of 2 laps around a very hilly and muddy trail we did the 1 lap and then they added an even hillier and muddier second loop. The hills just kept coming and the wooded muddy trails were part of these new sections. 1750’ climbing over 13.5 miles, it was tough but those who know me wouldn’t expect anything else.

The race started after the 5k and 10k races at 10.15. It was really perfect running conditions, we wished each other good luck (as you do) and off we went. Jane is running really well and she was a little bit in front over the first mile, then my slight problem decided to kick in. I tried to slow down a bit to get the heart rate back under control but it was having none of it, this was between 2-4 miles in. I checked my HR and it was reading 201 bpm. At this point I thought it wise to stop and see if it would get back into rhythm. After about 30 seconds I calmed down and dropped to 170 bpm although still high I did feel fine.

I set off again. I must have lost loads of places as runners had been zooming past. My hr dropped again to 150 and I started to get back into my running pace. By the time I’d got to mile 8, I was back in full swing and overtaking most of the runners who had passed me earlier. I was catching and passing on the hills which were plentiful but feeling really strong. Starting up the last climb which was nearly a mile of climbing and at mile 11, I was hoping to get in and finish by 2:20. I kept pushing on and getting quicker (well it seemed like it) the 13 mile marker was there and thinking great just around the corner through more mud and grassy climbing BUT there was another half mile still to go. I hope they didn’t hear the grumpy old man cursing haha.

I could see the finish line and Jane shouting loads of encouragement. I pushed hard to the line and finished in 2:13:28, I was really happy to cross that line. Jane had a brilliant run, knocking over 3 minutes from last year in a fantastic time of 2:06:50 and finishing 3rd in her age group. All in all we both had fantastic runs to be proud of. I was also 3rd in my age group too.