I watched the Sheffield Half Marathon and the runners have inspired me to put my trainers on again

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Whatever your reason for running a half marathon - health, charity, to eat more cake - it’s no mean feat.

As my alarm went off at 7am this morning to get ready to head into the city centre for the Sheffield Half Marathon, I was secretly glad it was for work, and not to take part.

But as I walked home afterwards, I couldn’t ignore the sense of longing I felt to put my trainers back on. 

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The Sheffield Half Marathon is not a race for the faint of heart. While you may argue no half marathon is, this one reportedly has an elevation gain of almost the height of the Eiffel Tower which undoubtedly adds an additional challenge to the already gruelling 13.1mile run.

The weather couldn’t work out what it wanted to do this morning, and as I walked to the Peace Gardens I joined the crowds of people huddled under umbrellas hiding from the rain. But Mother Nature wasn’t dampening anyone’s spirits, and the excitement could be felt in the air.

The weather had a difficult time deciding what to do on the morning of the Sheffield Half Marathon.The weather had a difficult time deciding what to do on the morning of the Sheffield Half Marathon.
The weather had a difficult time deciding what to do on the morning of the Sheffield Half Marathon. | National World

Speaking to The Star, 20-year-old Dan Lascells told me how he was actually “quite nervous”, despite it being a rare feeling for him. While his training had gone well, this marked not only his first half marathon, but also his first race.

The sports student at Sheffield Hallam University said: “My training was quite good, but three days ago I sprained my ankle on my last jog. It’s fat and blue.”

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Dan had sadly fallen into a pothole while running in the dark - something I too have fallen victim to in the past (no pun intended).

The day marked 20-year-old Sheffield student Dan Lascells' first ever race.The day marked 20-year-old Sheffield student Dan Lascells' first ever race.
The day marked 20-year-old Sheffield student Dan Lascells' first ever race. | National World

I unintentionally gave up running last year after completing the Worksop Halloween Half in October. I ended up with my first real running injury which saw me recovering for two months. Now it’s April and I’ve probably run ten miles in total since.

Susie Oliver, a 22-year-old psychology student, reminded me why I had started running in the first place. She told me that she found the exercise a good way to unwind after a long day at university.

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“It’s quite good after a long day of uni work to just go out on a run and stretch my muscles and relax - it de-stresses me,” she said.

While this was Susie’s first half marathon, she told me she was excited to run the route out into the Peak District - even if the weather wasn’t what she hoped it would be.

It was also 22-year-old Susie Oliver's first half marathon, and she was well prepared after training.It was also 22-year-old Susie Oliver's first half marathon, and she was well prepared after training.
It was also 22-year-old Susie Oliver's first half marathon, and she was well prepared after training. | National World

I’ve had many beautiful runs in the Peaks, and even the mention of it sends a wave of nostalgia over me. Taking in the stunning views under the sun is quite an unforgettable experience.

Also feeling nostalgic was Simon Pugsley. This 55-year-old from Towcester, Northamptonshire, had returned to Sheffield for the race, having previously been a student in the city.

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He said: “I went to uni in Sheffield a long time ago, so a little bit down memory lane today.”

The 5am alarm this morning gave Simon enough time to have a walk down West Street before the race to get a “flavour” of what it used to be like. Though he said it hadn’t changed much.

Sheffield alumni Simon Pugsley returned to the city for the half marathon and a walk down memory lane.Sheffield alumni Simon Pugsley returned to the city for the half marathon and a walk down memory lane.
Sheffield alumni Simon Pugsley returned to the city for the half marathon and a walk down memory lane. | National World

“A lot of the buildings are still there so you’re still getting the same sense of all the roads and the buildings. It does look a bit different, but it was a long time ago.”

In true British fashion, I asked Simon what he thought about the day’s weather. While it wasn’t this seasoned runner’s dream, he said: “It means you’ve got to be a little bit sensible on the course, really. Just can’t go in too fast, just take it steady and enjoy the day.”

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I’ve had Dan, Susie and Simon in my thoughts today and I hope they, and everyone else, had a wonderful run. Watching the thousands of runners come past me struck me with emotion that I always seem to feel at races.

I think it’s time to put the trainers back on.

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