Looking for a fast, flat half marathon with the potential to achieve your personal best (PB)? Look no further than the Vale of York Half Marathon, a highly sought-after event that seamlessly integrates into an autumn marathon training schedule.
It’s been a few years since I last did this race so I was looking forward to taking part again. I incorporating it as part of my Yorkshire Marathon training – and I was even more excited as I had the pleasure of pacing 2.10. While I had experience pacing 10K races, this marked my inaugural attempt at pacing a half marathon.
Vale of York Half Marathon

Before the race

Race numbers are not mailed in advance for this event; instead, they must be collected on race morning. As this is a relatively smaller race, the event village is modest, and friends and family will find their prime cheering spots.

Runners always want to know about the toilet facilities, and I’m delighted to report that there were ample toilets available with minimal waiting times.

After rendezvousing with the rest of the pace team (an exceptional group, to say the least) and securing our flags, it was time to head to the starting line.

During the race

We were blessed with ideal weather conditions—cool temperatures and a gentle breeze. After a slight delay at the start due to parking logistics, the race commenced. Despite a moderate turnout, there was no notable congestion at the starting line. The field gradually thinned out after the initial miles.

I maintained a consistent pace throughout, aiming for even splits at 9.52 minutes per mile. I kept a 30-second buffer to account for potential variations in the course length. The miles seemed to fly by, as I engaged in conversations with fellow runners. Many of them were embarking on their first half marathon, and a 2.10 pace seemed achiveable.

The course, as advertised, remained flat, with a few gentle inclines and declines over flyovers but nothing overly challenging. By mile 7, we were accompanied by a fellow runner playing music, which significantly boosted our spirits. The course was on closed country roads and had limited spectator presence. Nevertheless, the marshalls provided enthusiastic encouragement and urging runners to ‘stick with the pacer,’ even though this occasionally added to the pressure.

Towards the end of the race, our pace group expanded. Runners who had been keeping me in their sights throughout the race either joined us for added motivation or decided to maintain their pace by our side. In the final mile, a few members of our group grew quieter, a feeling I was all too familiar with. It was a matter of hanging on until the end, and we were doing it together. With approximately half a mile remaining, I encouraged the group to pass me, though some hesitated until we turned the final corner and caught sight of the finish line!

Vale of York Half Marathon

The result

I crossed the line in 2.09.33. Bang on pace! Congratulations to all participants, with a special shout-out to Dawn, who ran alongside me from the start—a remarkable achievement for her first half marathon. I thoroughly enjoyed this event and would definitely participate again.

Race Breakdown
Entry Cost:
£24.00 affiliated, £27.00 unaffiliated
Water stations: 3 / 7 / 11 miles.
Parking: Plenty, but get there early to avoid the queues
Photos: Yes
Baggage Facilities: None
Post Race Goodies: T-shirt – choice of two colours / medal / water / Mars or Snickers bar
Highlight: Nice, flat course
Low point: Parking – It took as long to leave the carpark as it did the the first person to finish the race.

*My race entry was kindly gifted as I paced the race.