Last Sunday saw the annual Worksop Half Marathon take place, this year on Halloween which added a little colour to what I had found a year ago to be a very pleasant event.
They like to call the Worksop race ‘the scenic one’ and it should be said that this term is by no means undeserved. Beginning in the market place in the centre of town, the route runs for some four miles along an agreeable and undulating lane before taking an abrupt left turn into beautiful Clumber Park. The course then passes through the pretty country park for perhaps seven miles before surfacing at Worksop Colleges and finally back out onto the tarmac for a last stretch into town through a residential area.
Lime Tree Avenue, Clumber Park
The Worksop race is well placed at the end of October as it is a fine time to witness the autumn russets, golds and rusty browns of the trees in the park which would have at one time been part of ancient Sherwood Forest. The atmosphere is redolent of nature in the fall and overwhelms one with thoughts of the ‘season of mellow fruitfulness’. This makes the Worksop experience one to seek out for the runner who insists on an interesting and appealing environment in which to compete. All around, the rustling leaves and shyly opening chestnut shells are underfoot. On this day, swirling around in a slight breeze and under and an ashen sky.
The run my friend and I intended to do this year was intended as nothing more than a little training and a change of scenery for this particular Sunday. Safe to say though, many competitive club and non-affiliated runners battled it out for the prize money from what looked like a healthy field. As always, it was interesting to see the many and varied club vests being sported. Some were from local Nottinghamshire clubs such as my own area’s Redhill Road Runners with their distinctive horizontal red band and my former club as a teenager, Notts Athletic Club in their striking traditional city colours of green and gold. The event appeared to have drawn not only many runners from north Nottinghamshire, with it’s keen running tradition, but also a good smattering of South Yorkshire athletes. This was a reminder that Worksop is comparatively remote geographically from it’s county town to the south and is only a healthy training run away from Nottinghamshire’s northerly neighbouring county.
An early start and an urgent Sunday morning drive of perhaps thirty miles took us to a parking spot in a residential road before beginning the race. As previously mentioned, our day was primarily aimed at a little extra exercise and to enjoy the pleasant scenery but it was difficult to not become enmeshed and motivated in the excited atmosphere of race day as we should have known.
Strange goings on at the Worksop Halloween Half
Of course it was October 31 – Halloween, and there were plenty of modern signs of the ancient Celtic festival around us. Race marshal ‘skeletons’, Jack O’ Lanterns, and an eight-minute-miling warlock or two. There was also an abundance of wee red devils interspersed by an odd zombie or two. It all added colour to a refreshing and fun day.
Back in town and after a decent workout for the day, we found a bar offering an inexpensive lunch and a drink deal and set our slightly weary and rapidly stiffening bodies down for an hour. Perhaps the most important thing that came out of the day was a resolution and a new determination to tackle a winter training schedule to work towards greater fitness again. It still surprises me how attending these events can spark a little motivation and determination. Through a profusion of subtle autumnal colours the winter approaches, I feel more ready to do battle with it.