After a week of torrential rain, wet weather and wind up to 50mph, we had a nice surprise on Sunday 15 January; we were gifted with near perfect conditions for this year’s Brass Monkey Half Marathon.
This very popular road race sells out within hours, and for 2023, this Gold BARR event was going to be somewhat special as the organisers celebrated its 40th year anniversary.
Race HQ is at York Racecourse, an excellent venue with good parking facilities, plenty of toilets, lots of seating and space to gather and from early on we were all made very welcome by very cheery marshals, event organisers and the race compere with his roaming mic, being both welcoming and informative ahead of the race.
With about 30 minutes to go we were encouraged to make our way to the start, where we were coralled together on the drive leading out of the racecourse onto Bishopthorpe Road. There are no time pens as such, but clear signage for predicted race times and pacemakers present to help with achieving those all important race goals.
Holmfirth had nine athletes competing this year and as always it was great to see each other and offer words of support and encouragement for what lay ahead.
The race started promptly at 10am, and after a bit of ducking and weaving around folk potentially too close to the front, we were off.
The course heads out towards Bishopthorpe, a short rise and fall over the A64 bypass, around the corner into the town, onto Appleton Road, up and over a bridge and then after around 3.75 miles, we hit Broad Lane which is the start of a 5 mile loop around exposed rural countryside. The joy for many is then the final 3.5 miles, a slight incline with those same hills tackled in the first half, there for the second on tired legs, then to finish, a left turn back into the racecourse grounds for a 400m sprint to the finish line with enthusiastic supporters, banging music and an MC.
Bottled water and lots of chocolate bars were available to aide recovery and for this 40th year anniversary, we were rewarded with a medal, a stylish T-shirt AND snood – what a good do!
Holmfirth finishers were: Oliver Glover 1:19:06 (PB), Matthew Rose 1:31:08, Janet Foreman 1:47:10, Naomi Shield 1:51:00, Deborah Clarke 1:55:42 (PB), Andrew Clarke 1:55:43 (PB), John Field 1:58:37, Heidi King 1:59:09, Alison Smith 2:11:42.
The race was won by Joe Sagar from Spenborough in 1:06:21 and first female was Georgia Malir of Leeds City AC in 1:15:10.
In summary, an exceptionally, well run event, massive PB potential with great mementos.. see you next year!