The lure of the Robin Hood Marathon
Last night I found out a friend of mine was extremely proud of completing the Robin Hood Marathon. I had heard that he’d become much more active but now he had finally gone the whole hog and had joined a niche group of people who are mad enough to run over 26 miles in one go.
Let’s make no mistake, to train your body to that standard of endurance requires special dedication and involves careful monitoring of diet and training times to an almost geeky extent. My friends time of under four hours was excellent for someone who has only recently taken up running.
So what makes people do it? The Robin Hood Marathon and Half Marathon this year attracted over 8,500 runners. With so many people coming to the city, combined with a couple of events and usual weekend trade, hotel rooms in the city were few and far between.
As someone who has done a couple of half marathons myself, I can say that for me, although the course is as mentally demanding as it is physically demanding, the feeling of achievement is enormous. I’ve always enjoyed the feeling of being of being fit to that level too and the long term benefits are good.
Yet Nottingham has its own unique appeal and whilst it may not necessarily have the prestige of the London Marathon and the Great North Run, the event is now incredibly in its 31st year.
The route is probably the main reason why the Robin Hood Festival of Running (to give its proper title) is so popular and consistent. A few years ago, I did the half marathon myself. Starting at the Victoria Embankment as it always does and going through Nottingham on a quiet Sunday morning is a very pleasurable running experience.
The 2011 Half marathon route
When you do finally leave the confines of the city via the unique residential area of the Park behind Nottingham Castle, you head out west and to Wollaton Hall and Nottingham University. These two great city attractions make the place for the loop back to the city and at this point as progressed along Derby Road on a slight but long incline I did need to dig in.
But it was no different than hitting the pain barrier in other half marathons that I’ve ran and the Robin Hood half marathon and full marathon are from what I’ve heard, some of the best courses around.
All in all, the race is one of the most popular in the country and if you’re in to running, it’s a great way to see some of the best sights of Nottingham. And even if you’re not the best runner in the world, the atmosphere at Victoria Embankment has a real party feel making it truly worthy of its association with Robin Hood.