After months of gruelling training, the time has almost come to take your place at the starting line of the Humber Bridge Half Marathon. With a record number of runners signing up for this year’s event, Sunday 25 June promises a day to remember.
The Humber Half is fast becoming the North’s most popular run, with the famous bridge providing an inspiring backdrop on both sides of the estuary. Whether it’s your first or your thirtieth 13.1, there’s no better place to pound the pavement and raise some money for your chosen charity.
As the main HBHM sponsor, we know the unique challenge runners face this weekend. From ‘cardiac hill’ to the blustery summit of the bridge itself, the course will test your mind and mettle from the first to last mile — but it’ll all be worth it when you cross the finishing line.
With just days to go until the event, we’re here to provide a few words of encouragement in our mile-by-mile guide to surviving the Humber Half Marathon.
Mile 1 — The Starting Grid to Boothferry Road
Weeks and months of relentless training have got you to this point, and once you’re caught up in the throng, there’s no turning back. Limber up and drink in the atmosphere before the starting gun, then try not to tread on anyone’s heels as you take the slight climb to Barrow Lane. Spectators are thick on the ground between Swanland Road and Boothferry Road, so let the raucous applause sweep you past the one-mile mark.
Mile 2 — Humber Bridge Approach
Take it steady as you begin the ascent to the Humber Bridge roundabout. This is the time to check your pace and find your rhythm, especially if you’re looking to finish in the sub two-hour group. After a gradual left turn you’ll reach the first water station, then it’s up and on to the bridge itself — where you’ll enjoy spectacular views and a brisk North Sea breeze.
Mile 3 — The Bridge
Even the weekend’s cloudy forecast shouldn’t hamper the view from the top of the Humber Bridge, so steal a glimpse out across the estuary when you can. The road slopes towards the centre, so you might start feeling the burn for the first time. The three-mile point comes midway across the bridge, and then it’s a smooth descent as you patter down towards Lincolnshire.
Mile 4 — The Bridge to Barton Roundabout
With Yorkshire at your back and Lincolnshire ahead, it’s time to negotiate Barton roundabout, where you’ll find the second water station. We’d recommend taking a drink here, as things are about to get a little hillier. How’s your pace? Don’t go too fast over mile four — there’s plenty of work to do.
Mile 5 — Barton
After a scenic descent you’ll reach Barton, whose residents always turn out en-masse to lift some spirits. We know it’s difficult, but don’t let the smell of fish and chips or the town’s string of pubs distract you. The five-mile mark is in sight — you’re nearly halfway.
Mile 6 — Barton to Falklands Way
You’ll enjoy more space on the ascent out of Barton, as steadier runners start to fall off the pace. Get yourself a buddy here, even if you never see their face, and follow them stride for stride to make controlling your speed easier. After a torturous gradient, respite comes from a downhill section as you cross the 6-mile point on Falklands Way.
Mile 7 — You’re Halfway
If anything’s going to give your legs a lift it’s the midway point, which comes at the bottom of the Falkland’s Way hill near the third water station. Give yourself a pat on the back, then dig in for the second leg — more challenges lie ahead.
Mile 8 — Far Ings to Gravel Pit Road
With the toughest part of the race fast-approaching, mile 8 calls for an energy boost. Another water station gives chance for a quick recharge, then it’s under the bridge and on to the bottom of Gravel Pit Road, where the real running begins.
Mile 9 — Cardiac Hill
Brace yourself for the infamous one-mile ascent of Cardiac Hill, the hardest section of the route. This incline has been the downfall of many in the past, so take it steady and remember you’ve another four or so miles to cover. St John’s Ambulance is stationed halfway up the hill, doling out wet sponges for those feeling the heat.
Mile 10 — Cardiac Hill to Barton Roundabout
After a torturous false horizon and with your legs screaming, you’ll reach the top of Cardiac Hill. What follows is a welcome descent back to Barton roundabout, and the first double-figure mile. If you need it, enjoy one last water stop before beginning your journey back across the bridge.
Mile 11 — The Second Bridge Approach
The bridge’s towers may look deceptively close, but the approach to the carriageway can prove a killer for those running on empty. What looks like a gentle incline can feel like climbing Scafell. Grit your teeth, dig deep and tell yourself that the hardest work is behind you.
Mile 12 — The Bridge Part 2
You may be flagging, but there’s no denying the view as you begin your second leg on the famous bridge. With the wind at your back and the midpoint of the bridge in sight, pick up the pace as you ease over the twelve-mile mark, ready for a fast and positive finish.
Mile 13 (And a bit) — The Home Straight
It’s downhill all the way to the finish after passing the midpoint of the bridge, and that should be enough to keep your legs moving. The roundabout will pass in a blur as you focus on the finish, where hundreds of well-wishers will be waiting. After the 13-mile mark, it’s a hard left to the finishing line. And you’re done. Enjoy a well-earned pint with family and friends, and try not to worry about tomorrow’s DOMS.
Good luck to everyone taking part in this year’s Humber Bridge Half Marathon. Our team will be there to support everyone participating in the big race, including a handful of our own budding athletes.