I have been missing running half marathons so I was tempted by the Its Grim Up North Canal Canter held along the Leeds Liverpool canal on Saturday.
Arrangements are certainly different in these COVID times. Register in a five minute window, pick up your number and goodie bag, arrive at your start time five minutes before your start time, start off in a group of six lined up one metre behind each other. The groups of six were of mixed standards as within 200 metres my group were well spread out. So it was not a race as such – more of a time trial.
The route is simple – Kirkstall to town – town to beyond the ring road at Rodley and then back to Kirkstall. I found it a help heading back to Kirkstall from the final turnround point along such familiar territory. There was water provided but we were encouraged to carry our own which I did.
Not much milling about at the end either. A quick socially distanced chat with a regular at Cross Flatts parkrun and then home.
The organisers did a good job of complying with the new requirements and although you passed plenty of runners, walkers and cyclists coming in the opposite direction as well as runners in the full and 20 mile events as well as the half marathon I was never running alongside anybody for more than a couple of seconds. I certainly felt I was in a safe environment.
So I have registered a time in the Any Other Half category of the Grand Prix – 1:49:02 and I was 15th out of 43 finishers.