Hoad Hill Half Marathon – Lydia Plackett

Hoad Hill Half Marathon – Lydia Plackett

Saturday night and I put together my kit, packed the picnic, sorted the route all ready for leaving early for the Hoad Half marathon. I knew Phip Davidson and Steve Gore were doing it and John Naylor the full marathon but no one else. However, when I arrived there was Aimee, Mary and Shane as well so nice to see everyone and a good turn out for RRRR.

The race started at 10.00am, so 7.00am found me in the car and off. Very little traffic on the M6 and a pleasant morning for driving . I dropped into Lancaster Services for a loo stop and was stopped by two guys ‘what race are you doing’ they asked ‘Hoad Hill’ I said ‘see you there’ they said. Loo stops have a significant role in this story. I arrived at Ford park to find it buzzing with runners, marshals, getting ready to marshal and Aimee, Shane and Mary in the registration tent. It was cold up in Ulverston so there was a lot of ‘what shall we wear?’ before the start but then we were off.

About 100 of us, out of the village along some hilly lanes and finally onto the moors to the first checkpoint, where there were lovely views of Morecambe Bay. Fortified by flapjack, jelly babies and a drink I was off again downhill towards the beach, followed by the sweeper. This is where things became a bit unstuck. I got tummy ache. It will go away I thought, it didn’t. It got worse. I really needed to stop so I did and the sweeper swept past me taking the red flags and yellow signs. I could see her in front of me I shouted ‘hi stop wait for me’ but the wind was against me and she was fast so that was it I was on my own on the beach with no visible path. I looked back to where the last marshals had been. No sign of them. Okay, I thought forward it is. So off I went in the vague direction of Ulverston. I met a group of walkers ‘seen any runners I asked’ ‘Yes they went that way’ they said and another group ‘that way’ they pointed. I called a fisherman ‘seen any runners?’ ‘Yes straight on and left’ he said. So taking this approach I ran another 2-3 miles until I came to a road, a gate and and a nice man in a red car. ‘Are you Lydia?’ he asked ‘Yes’ I said. ‘Control lost you are you okay? ‘Fine’ I said’ ‘Shall we go back to control?’ he asked ‘no way’ I said ‘I’ve paid £30 for this I want my tee shirt and medal I don’t want a DNF’. ‘It’s a complicated route to the next checkpoint’ he said. I gave him an old fashioned look. ‘I’ve just navigated 3 miles with no flags or signs. I want to finish’. I needed some jelly babies at this point. Mine had fallen out of my pocket at the loo stop I was beginning to feel a bit stubborn. ‘well make for those two chimneys and I will telephone ahead’ so I did finally catching up with the sweeper, who was really nice and apologetic.

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She thought I had just given up as she couldn’t see me ahead. From then on it was easy I just followed the signs and flags until I got to the last hill the HOAD. I’m not going to say much about that hill just that it was huge and hilly and I walked it. Back down at the park I got a cheer coming in and became known as the lady lost at the loo stop. I guess I will never live it down.

Would I recommend this race. Yes! it was very well organised, a tough challenge, a good route of mixed trail, road and beach, great pit stops with food and drink, two or three good stalls and free massages for those who want them afterwards. This is a low key event that reminds me of the Lakeland trails before they became so large. I like these smaller local events recognising that the times are frequently fast and I will come in towards the back but reminding myself at a larger more commercial event I would be somewhere towards the back of the middle. I value the intimacy of the events and the wonderful countryside that they usually take place in.

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