Monsal Trail Half Marathon – 26 March 2017

26th March 2017 saw the debut of this race along the stunning Monsal Trail in the Peak District and I had signed up for this race some time ago liking the description of the flat-ish scenic views taking me through four railway tunnels and across the Monsal Viaduct. It was an event that quickly sold out.

On the day, which just so happened to be Mothers day, I chose to miss my breakfast in bed and haul myself down the M1 into beautiful Bakewell where I met with my work colleague Andy. The Sunday was the second day of a 2 days of the same race and the sun was shining.

I still consider myself new to running and every race is still quite daunting to me. But having already received my number in the post and attached my timing chip to my trainers we found the bag drop and start easily and just waited until the race started. They staggered the start allowing about 40 runners at a time and although I dropped my mobile phone as soon as I set off sending loads of runners into terror as they tried to avoid, it I was off!!

I was immediately left by Andy and as he ran off into the distance I quickly realised how warm it was! There was a drinks station at mile 3 where I duely stripped off and left my under layer being promised it would be looked after for me.

The scenery was beautiful and I took in the breathtaking sights as i tootled along. There were a lot of runners from clubs and in particular Ackworth which I was surprised at given the location and everyone was friendly.

It was a straight run up the Monsal Trail and the protection from the sun during the tunnel runs were much appreciated.

At each water station (I think there were 4) there was water, coke and a selection of jelly babies and Jaffa cakes which was great and the marshalls were very encouraging.

The route was traffic free but with it being a lovely sunny mothers day it was busy with walkers and cyclists. I was ok as i’m pretty slow but I guess for some faster runners this could be annoying.

The path was a little stony but nice and the tunnels were well lit and tarmacked.

I struggled at the end a little due to foot pain but a lady ran with me and offered encouragement and then I saw Andy at the side encouraging me as well.

The Medal was lovely – a Bakewell tart shape and although there was no t shirt you could pre order one or buy one on the day if you wanted.


My time was 02:31:17 which isn’t amazing but I took it easy and still finding my feet with the half marathons. I enjoyed the route, the weather, the views and the friendliness of everyone.


I think this would be a great club race for 2018.

Written by Helen Smith