The Tissington Trail 2017 Half Marathon was brilliantly organised from start to finish. I had a few email queries beforehand, which were answered promptly and helpfully, then on the day the marshals were great.

If you are looking for a first half, and are happy travel up to the Peak District, then this is the one to do: it is truly either flat or a steady downhill for almost all of the 13.1 miles! (There are two short uphill sections; both in the second half of the race. One just after a water station and one right near the end – in both places plenty of support and cheering to get you up the hill!)

The only negative I can think of, is that for the rest of the race – away from the water stations and the finish – there is almost certainly less support than at most other half marathons, because you are on an off-road (though not uneven underfoot) trail which runs through beautiful countryside and farmland – you are likely to see more cows and sheep than anything else, although the occasional cyclists and walkers we met did cheer us on.

Having never run further than 7.5 miles before, I followed a 12-week training plan that I modified slightly so that for most of those three months I could tick off my ‘training runs’ by simply joining Regency Runners on their Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday regular runs (plus one additional run on my own most weeks). The support and encouragement from everyone there was incredible, and I was even lucky enough to have one of our leaders, Lina, run with me every step of the way on the day.

The medal (featuring a steam train, since the trail is a disused railway line) and technical t-shirt are great reminders of a fantastic race that will almost certainly be your half marathon Personal Best!

Thanks to Martin Hemsley for these photographs:

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