Report courtesy of Graeme Wilson
The Fleet Half Marathon takes place each year in Fleet, a small town in Hampshire (about 40 miles west of London) and has done each year since 1982. The race is pitched as the “original pre-London half marathon”. The course is described as “undulating” but IMHO it’s fairly flat with nothing resembling a significant hill in it. There were 2700 finishers so the race is quite a big event.
The race starts in the town centre, with the first couple of miles through a housing estate before you make the first of two trips (in the same direction) along Fleet High Street. The shops and restaurants show that this is quite a prosperous part of the country. You then leave the town to run along closed roads, cross over the M3 and into the country. The water stations give out water in paper cups, except for one staffed by the Army which gave out water in little plastic packets, which I have to admit I could not work out how to get the water out of. Clearly, it’s as well I did not join the Forces!
You pass through several small and picturesque villages, with a good level of crowd support as you go through and then come back into Fleet for a gentle downhill and finish in a local park. The race start, marshals along the route and finish were well organised and a decent goodie bag with drinks and snacks is handed out at the end. No race t-shirt unless you pay extra. You do get a well-designed and unique medal with a stag’s head on it, which is the County symbol.
Also, a nice touch is that professional race photos are included in the price; the only downside is that there is no number search so a bit of trawling is need to find your personal ones.
A good race and I am glad I made the trip South to run it.