Hadrian's Wall Half Marathon

Hadrian’s Wall Half Marathon

Sunday 5th June


This is a race that deserves to grow and one day reach its ambitious upper limit of 300 runners. Sadly, this day, only 49 finished, which must have been disappointing for the organisers and their chosen charity, Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue.


The organisers went out of their way to ensure a safe and well marshalled event. St. John’s Ambulance were out in force. The course was well chosen and, except for trek to the start and the last mile, the course was well marked, scenic and a pleasure to run.


The race HQ was at a nice campsite, which included free, hot showers and a tea room. However, the runners email stated ’please allow 18 mins to get to the start.’ That turned out to be a wee bit optimistic. True, a fit runner could do that but if any supporters wanted to come and see you off, it would have been better to allow 30 mins, given that it was up a steep hill. Still, given the small field, they waited for the stragglers. The alternative was to have an uphill start. What’s wrong with that?


It would be better to think of this as a 13.1 mile fell race anyway. The website’s statement that; ‘the only significant climbs being along the wall itself’ was the sort of thing a dyed-in-the-wool fell-runner would say. I really want to do this race again. It is very enjoyable but, next year, I’m going to take the sort of kit that I would always have on a long fell run: full body cover (carried if not worn), whistle, energy drink, phone and possibly a button compass. Even in June, the rain, visibility and temperature can’t be guaranteed.


The only other fly in the ointment is that quite a few people ended up getting lost in the last mile, as well marked trails gave way to open moor marked with bits of white tape attached to stakes. I wasn’t alone in wondering whether I’d followed the official course at the end or got mixed up with the course markers from the start. Up to mile 12, I was pretty sure I’d finish in under two hours. I ended up coming in after 2 hours, 9 minutes and 30 seconds. I’ll wear the Garmin next year.


The men’s race was won by Les Smith in 1:34:14. The ladies race was won by Laura Davies in 1:54:41.


  • In fairness the advertising was very poor. I'm a regular club runner in Tyneside and only heard of the race through the results!

    In addition there has been a great increase in new local races this year which is bound to reduce uptake overall.

  • I didn't know anything about this - or I'd have considered it. One for the diary next year
  • I really enjoyed this, but agree with comments about the lack of publicity. Given the location and relative dearth of small-scale half marathons up here, I would have thought this would be an easy one to sell. Would recommend the organiser does leaflets for running shops, events, clubs etc next year, and I bet the local media would be interested as well.

    It was only my 2nd half marathon, and I've never done any fell running before, so next year (if I do it) I'll be wiser! eg My limbs were frozen by the time I walked to the start (yes, definitely longer than 18 mins). Long sleeves next time, can't take a chance in the north east in June!

    You're obviously not going to do a fast time given the terrain, queuing to get over stiles etc (and getting laces caught in barbed wire if you're me...).  However, I felt fine for most of it (the rain helped), got to 10 miles in 1 hr 32 and thought I would break 2 hours pretty easily, but then the huge hill at the end did for me and I finished in 2hr 5!

    Agree with Ian above that it was well-marshalled and signed until that last hill - I couldn't see anyone ahead or behind me at one stage so got quite worried about going off-course. However, I thought the rest of the route was pretty straightforward in terms of navigation and terrain, and I'm notoriously poor at such matters being a complete townie. If they could just move that hill for next year, I'll do it again.

     I wish it well for next year - with events getting more and more ginormous and glitzy, I like these smaller scale races.

  • I really enjoyed the race as well. If we are going to class it is as a fell run, then I would say it was very well marked image

    Hope they decide to put the run on next year. They should promote it more and promote is a trial/fell run. Beats plodding out the miles for a PB on tarmac any day image

    Are any of the photos taken being made available?

  • Got my place booked for 2012 - trying to decide whether to go with trail shoes or my road shoes... very excited for this one, reckon it'll be mint.
  • I've just entered too and im going trail shoes all the way even after i've just blown £120 on lightweight racers

  • Think I'm with you on the shoe choice Raymond - been running some longer distances as I train towards the half marathon, and the ones I've done on trails my feets have held up pretty nicely in my Wave Harriers on the bits of road I've covered on the route.

  • Only a few days until the re-scheduled run - looks like the weather's going to be good. After the extra couple of months training, I'll be running (slowly) in my Vivobarefoots - hoping the forest trail isn't too stony...

  • WHAT A FANTASTIC RACE! This will sound a bit odd but...

    This race destroyed me. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for. The road section was fine. Infact, my aim of 1:55 was well in sight. However, a hot sunny day took its toll on me. I took in as much water as I could but the precarious nature of the forrest path, meant my concentration and rythmn were all over the place. At ten miles I had a good long drink. Looking across at a never ending "mountain" of grass. I set off and I wasnt disappoint with its toughness. Steep, boggy and unrelenting, It was about a mile of ascent! When i crossed the line i had nothing left and I was 20 mins outside my target.

    But... thats when i realised how much i'd enjoyed it! take my advise. Stop messing about with 50000 other runners on just roads and challenge yourself. I'll still do a couple of road races this year but when this opens in November...my name will be first on the sheet.

    Awesome people, marshals, markers. Just make sure you take your own drinks at the water staion arent frequent enough!

    AWESOME...thanks to all concerned!

  • Nice one Philip!

    At the end of the day I missed the re-run, but it's on the cards for next year.

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