Victoria wanted to get her first half marathon in before the end of the year and initially we were going to do the Bolton Abbey Half but by the time we decided to definitely enter it was full up so we had to come up with a plan B.
The Trail Outlaws Wooler Half Marathon looked perfect so we signed up and headed North. We stayed in No1 Hotel & Wine Lounge in the centre of Wooler and for the price it was fantastic. Unfortunately due to the early start we missed breakfast. Highly recommended though if you are looking for somewhere cheap to stay in Wooler.
We woke early, both with a sense of nerves and excitement and headed over to the registration which was located in the Wooler YHA.
After a smooth registration and a pre race briefing from Garry and Tim and we walked the short distance to the startline. Then we were off…
The course starts with a climb and basically keeps climbing until you reach almost the half way mark when you drop down to the aid station then have to climb back up the same way you have just descended and then take a different route back to the finish.
From the start Victoria got a really bad stitch that she just couldn’t shake off so couldn’t press on as hard as she wanted to. I could see she was in some pain but like the trooper she is, she just kept going.
The course was a really nice mix of wide open tracks and some nice bits of single track and despite all the weather we have had this year it was relatively dry underfoot with just the odd one or two soft sections to deal with.
We’ve never been to The Cheviots before but after our first experience it certainly won’t be the last. The views were spectacular throughout. Dropping down into the aid station gave us a view for miles. The only problem was that in this case what goes down must go up and after a quick refuel we turned and headed back up the hill we had just dropped down. Certainly was more enjoyable going down than going up.
At the top of the climb Victoria had a quick bite to eat and refuel and then just got her head down and pushed on. The stitch had started to ease off and the last half of the course was attacked with gusto.
She started picking off runners and making up places. I was urging her onwards and pushing her hard but she just kept going. I think she was really enjoying the last few miles because everytime I turned around she had a bit grin on her face.
Eventually we saw Wooler down below and a few more runners just in front so teeth were gritted and she pushed on. At this stage she was flying and with a few miles left to go picked off a couple more runners.
After a sprint finish we were now officially Trail Outlaws and Victoria had achieved her goal of completing a half marathon before Christmas and not just any half marathon this was a tough one so to finish this as her first was awesome.