Peter Hickman Reports: Although I knew that the second half of the course had a couple of uninviting hills, the fact that I work with a Cobra runner was enough to get me to sign up for my first attempt at this race. A 10.30 start in cool but not cold conditions saw a slightly uphill start from the gates of Old Halesonians Rugby club as far as the main A456 Hagley to Quinton Road. This was followed towards Quinton for about 3k. Parts of the footpaths on this part of the course were pretty much single file, which was probably a good thing for me as I had started a bit quicker than I intended to, although a less than 200 field meant that it wasn’t too much of a problem to pass if you wanted. We then turned left onto the Western extremities of Halesowen.
Apart from the start, we had so far been either level or downhill, but I knew this wasn’t going to last! Sure enough, at around the half way point we came to the first hill, which was a steep one. This went on for about 1k although it seemed longer. At one point on the hill I heard an encouraging “well done” from someone at the side of the road, only to be followed by a not so encouraging “you’re half way up!” After eventually levelling off and giving a bit of respite with a slice of downhill, we than turned left on to the paths around the edge of a couple of farm fields before re-joining the lane towards the start/finish about a mile from home. Not far along here the second hill started.
Although not as steep or long as the first hill, it was still pretty taxing at this point of the race. The sounds of the finish could be heard as the hill eased, which was a nice spur on. I had felt pretty good most of the way round but had immediately ruled out a PB as we came to the first hill. As it turns out I somehow managed to shave 11 seconds off my 10k PB, finishing in 44mins 34secs. I saw one other BvH runner, the recently joined Jack, although I didn’t manage to see him at the end to find his time.