This week I signed up for what will be my first race of 2018 – the Freethorpe 10 which takes place at the end of this month. I ran it for the first time last year and I really enjoyed it. Signing up for this race got me thinking about all the races I did last year – 9 in total – and so I decided to write this post naming my favourite 5 races of 2017. As I try to be an organised person, I’ve created this top 5 starting with my least favourite to my absolute favourite of 2017 (which is why they are ordered 5 to 1!).
Drum roll…here are my favourite 5 races of 2017:
5/ Norwich 10k
The only reason the Norwich 10k is so far down my list was because I was really ill the day I ran it and probably should have stayed in bed! Personally it was not a good race as I got my slowest time ever for a 10k and even had to walk in sections because I was feeling so unwell. The reason why I ran it at all was because I had been looking forward to it for months and it was a race that I really wanted to run. The race itself was great and takes runners through the city centre streets of Norwich, all the roads are closed off and with thousands of runners and lots of crowd support the atmosphere is fantastic. The weather was great on the day as well, plus there was live music on the course which helped to make the atmosphere even better. As well as this, the race was really well organised, great facilities and is one that I would definitely run again this year.
4/ Hertfordshire Half Marathon
2017 was the first time that the Hertfordshire Half Marathon race was held and while it was a great race, the organisation could have been better. I was about 20 minutes late starting this race due to traffic into the car park being so bad (we sat in traffic for over 40 minutes waiting to get into the grounds). Lots of other runners were also late, with many starting after me. As well as this, there was the sense that the organisers weren’t prepared for the number of runners who turned up on the day as there was no extra toilets available from what I could see, plus there were no race bags left by the time I had finished and I wasn’t the last one over the finish line! Despite this the race volunteers were fantastic, not only at the start line but also encouraging runners around the course. The course itself took runners through some beautiful countryside on closed roads, which was a great environment in which to run. It was a challenging course, especially if it’s your first half marathon, but I really liked it – although there was a killer hill at the end!
3/ Hitchin Hard Half Marathon
Running a half marathon with the word ‘hard’ in the title is a bit of a giveaway that it isn’t going to be an easy race! The Hitchin Hard Half Marathon definitely lived up to its name but I loved it. I knew it wasn’t a PB course so I wasn’t expecting a groundbreaking time, instead I just went out to enjoy the day. It helped that it was a lovely sunny day and with a small number of runners it had more of a relaxed feel than other bigger races. As well as this I was happy with coming 10th in my category, which I felt was an achievement considering it wasn’t a race that I was racing.
2/ Lisbon Half Marathon
The Lisbon Half Marathon was the first international race I’ve ran, so this was a totally different experience for me. The race started by crossing the iconic 25 de Abril Bridge that is usually not open to pedestrians. After crossing the bridge the course is flat and was on the road next to the river for the most part. It was a big race with thousands of runners and I spotted a few other British runners on the course, plus there was live music on the way round. The one factor that was lacking was crowd support, as, despite being such a big event with roads closed, there wasn’t much public support as you get from races in the UK (I’m not sure if this is common with races abroad or if it was just this race). Apart from this, the race was great, very well organised and all the people I met in Lisbon were incredibly friendly.
1/ Manchester Marathon
Without question my favourite race of 2017 was the Manchester Marathon. This was my first ever marathon and Manchester didn’t disappoint in any way – even the weather was perfect! Well organised, friendly locals, fantastic atmosphere, great course, lovely medal – there was nothing about the Manchester Marathon that I didn’t like and it is a race that I would recommend to anyone looking to run a marathon. What really stood out about Manchester was the amount of support from the locals for nearly the entire 26.2 mile route – they were fantastic and really helped to get me through it. For years I had been holding out for London to be my first marathon, but in many ways the Manchester Marathon was such a perfect day that I’m glad it ended up being my first marathon.
These are my 2017 favourites, what were your favourite races of 2017?