Stafford 20 is a long race, it’s also a circuit race which means you pass some points 3 times. I thought this would phase me but actually when you are running you don’t really think about it.
The race starts at the University complex and there is a good atmosphere here and it’s easy to park and arrive ready to race. After a circuit around the University you go out onto the roads and the first lap is 8 miles via Salt. There are some hills at 1.5 miles and 3 and then some undulating roads through Salt but nothing that Stoke FIT cannot handle and the same hill comes back at 9 and 15 on laps 2 and 3 which are both 6 miles.
The beauty of a lapped race is that it can be reassuring to pass the finish point as it allows you to judge how well you are running. The important thing with this race is pace, not to go off too quick, once you are off the campus things settle down quite quickly, you get space to run your own race, there is not alot of support out in the country but the marshals and bike support teams are excellent in looking after the runners.
Its early March so the weather can be tough, but it is a great experience and I found it completely different to running a half marathon, it’s much more about planning your run, looking after yourself through the race, testing your endurance rather than just running quick.
If you are training for a marathon or just want the next test up from a half, this is the one!