The base for the English Half Marathon is that most 'picture' perfect town.....................Warrington! Yep, I know, but for me this again is a place of my youth having used the old swimming baths for many years as by base for my training - they have been knocked down and replaced by a NHS Office.
The base for the race was the Toen Hall Park, with the impressive gates forming the back drop for the start and finish. The route took us from the Town Hall out towards the Mersey River Crossing (close to the Statue of Cromwell and the Historic Transporter Bridge) before heading south out of town. Then up and over the Cantileaver Bridge. Up here, on a glorious morning one can see fantastic views of Cheshire and the Mersey/Ship Canal. One way, towards Manchester is one of the Railway bridhes with the 2 M6 'Thirwell Viaducts' and in the othr towards Runcorn/Widnes the 3 swing bridges, Fiddlers Ferry and the Runcorn Widnes Bridge.
The route took us into the countryside and then up - this I would not call a hill, an incline - as the pace dropped, not dramatically as I could run up it reasonably well. The route then lopped round at the 6mile mark, then another small incline before heading back to town and the down hills. The pace upped a little (not silly, but enough to get me back on track). It was also about now we could feel the heat of a very warm morning.
As we headed back into town (back over the cantileaver), it was a real push in the last 3 miles. Through some well organised and marhsalled junctions into the main town centre. The shoppers were out by now and cheering us on in the last couple of miles. A small detour that took us through the home of the Warrington Wolves RL team (boooooooooooo - I am a follower of Widnes Vikings) before the last slog through part of the shopping area before finishing under the impressive Gates of the Town Hall.
A well organised finish area to collect the medal (see above), the goodie bag and the T Shirt. A time of 1.44.46 - a seasons best for me - really pleased with that on a challenging course on a warm day.
So, thats No9 done - and along with Stratford, Ramathon - prove to be 3 good runs (all under 1.46), With the Metric Marathon in 2 weeks, and Leicester 3 weeks after that I think I will take those ones easy. Giove the body a bit of time to recover - be daft to push it now, so close to the target of 12 halves in 12 months!