By Dean H

Sunday 13 March, Telford

I have been running most of my life as long as I can remember on my own and with my Dad. As I got older (and so did my Dad) I noticed that there were LGBT groups in Birmingham for other sports but not running until I found the Birmingham Swifts. Since then I have met a whole group of new people, built up my fitness and ran a lot more races.

I have ran every Birmingham Half Marathon but never ran a different half marathon until I signed up for the Ironbridge Half. I got up early in the morning, it was a beautiful sunny day and Aaron drove us over to Telford where we met the rest of the competing Swifts and enthusiastic supporters.

The race itself was delayed 15 minutes due to a traffic jam caused by a huge car show next door. We took the opportunity to have a quick warm-up before we set off en-masse, from Telford Park on a mainly off-road and breathtakingly scenic route taking in Wonderland, what looked like an old train line and several villages and bridges, including the historic Ironbridge itself.

I felt like I was running very well at this point. During the race there were lots of local people and families applauding and I thanked every one of them. At about 8 miles there was a very steep hill that seemed to last forever. I learned after the event that this was known as the Ironbridge Wrecking Hill and it certainly lived up to its name!

After the hill the rest of the course was mostly descending but there was a very wet and muddy part, which was ironic considering the glorious weather. When I finally reached the finish our supporters were waving our Swifts flag and cheering us on and I crossed the line in a personal best time so I was really happy. Paul and Anton had already finished ahead of me so I had to settle for 3rd spot on the Swifts podium. Our newest recruit Andrew (known as Maple Swift due to his Canadian roots) was next followed by Jay and Aaron who were training for the Brighton Marathon. Blaine was the 7th and final Swift to cross the line with a heroic sprint finish. Afterwards we went for a drink at the Woodbridge Inn overlooking Coalport Bridge (a beautiful part of the course).

Official Results By Birmingham Swifts

Paul – 1.40.08
Anton – 1.42.43
Dean – 1.44.32
Andrew – 1.44.35
Jay – 1.46.50
Aaron – 2.09.04
Blaine – 2.13.46


Podium places (From left; Dean, Anton & Paul)


Victorious Swifts glowing in Green (From left; Blaine, Aaron, Anton, Paul, Jay, Andrew and Dean)

IB 4

Coalport Bridge

IB 1

Much needed hydration in a china cup

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