Doncaster 1/2 marathon race report

drewdrew ✭✭✭
Almost perfect conditions meant that some fast times were expected on what is a relatively flat course along country roads on the outskirts of Doncaster. As the field of 400+ lined up I wasn't sure what to expect. 1st race for over 4 months. Ideally I would have liked a 1:23 as this would show that I was capable of doing FLM in under 2:55. Key goal for today was to start off at a steady pace and finish strongly. I reckoned a pace of about 6:20 was feasible.

1st mile was slightly downhill and I wasn't too unhappy when I went through mile 1 in 5:51. Heart rate seemed a bit high but felt in control. As is normal 7 or 8 runners passed by in the 2nd mile but I was lying in about 20th position. Mile 2 in 6:06, still feeling good but waiting for the pace to drop. Miles 3 to 5 managed to share the workload with a runner from Scunthorpe. He was quite a big guy so got more help than I gave. 6:02, 5:51 and 6:12 splits put me through 5 miles in 30:03. Still felt good. The rest of the race was run entirely on my own, apart for the 1st lady breathing down my neck for a few miles, although she lost it a bit over the final miles.

Miles 6,7 & 8 were passed in 6:01, 6:10 & 5:58. At this point, still feeling surprisingly in control, I thought I might actually beat my PB of 1:21:27, but only if I didn't die over the final few miles. A spectator shouted that I was lying in 18th position but 17th was 1 min + ahead of me & the lady in 19th position was now out of earshot.

Went through 10 miles in 60:31, which is a PB for this distance by over 1 minute. Started thinking I could maybe beat 80 minutes. Mile 11 took 6:01. Mile 12 was the hardest, slightly uphill into the very slight headwind, and with nobody to shelter behind this was my slowest mile - 6:22. I had over 7 minute to do the final 1.1 mile. Should do it! Mile 13 passed in 6:00 leaving me with 66 seconds to do the final 0.1 miles to go under 80 minutes.

UNFORTUNATELY, the finish wasn't very well marked and rather than turning left, went straight on. The mistake was rectified quickly but I still couldn't see the finish, no banner, nothing. Had to jump over a fence to get back on to the circuit. Didn't even manage a sprint finish. Still not sure of my actual time but about 1:20:12, give or take 5 secs. Wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry.

Lesson learnt - find out where the finish is before you start!

Race predictor says I should be capable of doing FLM in 2:47:30 - Yeah right!


  • hey, Drew, fantastic performance (and great report) - shame about the finish (I know how that feels alright!). what a comeback! good to see you're back to form and headed for a great FLM. impressively even splits too. well done.
  • well that's a storming run Drew. PB by ~ 1:15 and sounds like it should have been by at least 1:30. Brilliant stuff - just sorry you had that bad luck at the end to stop you from breaking 80 mins....
  • AWESOME!!!

    huge congrats, that is an absolute blinder for a 1/2M, especially in the midst of marathon prep. I had a sneaking suspicion that you hadn't lost anything during the couple of weeks that you had to take off and I think that your performance today demonstrates that sometimes the key sessions are the rest days!!!

    I'm really well chuffed for you mate, you would've gotten the sub 1:20 clocking no question if it wasn't for the fence vaulting incident during the final straight. You should be thrilled, I am on your behalf.

    Brilliant stuff, so what pace are you going to set out at on April 13th I wonder????

  • Flinkin blip Drew!

    Even faster than I remember!
  • This is brilliant Drew!! Shame about the end though, but still a great race. Definitely no chance of you pacing me at London then!?
  • wow! we're not worthy!
    well done mate
  • Fanastic Drew - you ran a brilliant race.

    By my reckoning we should have been running right near each other the first couple of miles (5:57, 6:01).

    So you might have bagged a prize then? Top 15 but there may have been a couple of vets in front who won their category prizes.

    You were robbed of a sub 1-20. Now did you mention you were doing Ackworth half next week as a training run?......

    As for my race - went through most of it on the daily report thread.

    5:57, 6:01, 6:09, 5:56 - oh so perhaps I can race this after all despite heavy week?

    6:19, 6:06, 6:25 - so I can't then, so let's try and stablise @ 6:15 (MP)

    6:15 (praise be! as the late great Thora Hird would have remarked), 6:33 (stitch) 6:25 - wheels coming off fast

    6:17 -better, 7:21 (OUCH!! What's the point of training to feel like this - and such a lovely day, I wish I was at home with the kids), 6:12- so I can still run then, 1:20 for the last bit (that's with going the right way)

    1-23:21 - about a minute slower than planned but that was the 12th mile really.

    Anyway another t-shirt and 20 points in the Barnsley AC road league as my clubmate was off winning the Spen 20.

    If I'd known what perfect conditions there would be, who knows I might have taken it easy last week and just done 90.

    Well done again drew.
  • Great Running there Drew !!!

    I was sporting the URWFRC vest (the only one there I think!) and failed to get my pb by 6 blumming seconds !!!

    I finished in 1hr 40 and 55 secs !!

    Carrying a bit of a calf strain as well so chuffed with the time really.

  • Drew, that's a great run and time - does that give you the Cheshire grin then? Shame about the poorly marked finish, but I'm really pleased to hear you had such a good run after several reported ups and downs over the past week.

    So, what are the odds looking like between you and MM for London now then??

    Well done aluaka and barnsley runner too.
  • Hey well done Drew- looks like I'll struggle to bundle you into that ditch at Ackworth!
    And Barnsley Runner- It's times like that when you wish it was a 10 mile race not a half!
    Will you be at Ackworth?
  • drewdrew ✭✭✭
    Thanks guys!

    MM, toying with the idea of starting off at 2:50 pace, but still undecided

    BR, Ackworth is a training run at my goal marathon heart rate, to see what pace it gives me.
  • Monique. Will have an easier week and then see about Ackworth. Have been reading about overtraining and will need to lose a couple of the symptoms before deciding to race (swollen lymph glands, loss of desire to compete).
  • Well done Drew, sounds like that break you had hasn't had any long term damage. Rounding into good form just in time.
  • Drew,
    ahh..., 2:50 pace, c'mon you know you want to! Seriously, I think this 1/2M time indicates that 2:50 is well within reach.
  • Well done to all and DREW!!! cracking time...I think you wuz ribbed of sub 80 mins...bound to get it very shortly...awesome!!!

    All the best,

  • ..robbed not ribbed...
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    Well done Aluaka,and BR.
    Drew - top notch, hurdling fences at mile 13 surely allows you to claim a sub 80mins run ?

    Inspirational stuff well done!
  • It was an enjoyale run
    The only problem was finding the place.
    Left home early, arrived in Doncaster at nine the drove all over the place. Finally got there about two minutes to Ten
    Quickly entered, I had to run through a field of sheep over the electric fence to get to the start which i missed. Tagged onto the back of the field after about two hundred yards. The Telephone number given in Runners world was a mobile anwering machine which wasn't helpful. Even way down the field it was still confusing when it came to the finish. Enjoyed the run however is Doncaster half the right name for this event?
  • Results now posted on
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