The £1.5 billion running track

The upgrade of the A14 between Milton and Ellington has been a frustrating experience as a motorist, with seemingly endless roadworks, and at times little evident progress with millions of pounds of equipment sitting idle so often. But at last the progress is becoming more evident, and while the online improvements south of Fenstanton aren’t due to be finished until December 2020, the offline section forming the Huntingdon southern bypass will be opened this year. Perhaps arising from a post on Facebook that I saw, or perhaps elsewhere, there emerged plans for cycle and running events on the nearly complete carriageway before it opens. Although I have the Great Eastern Run half-marathon tomorrow, I thought that this wasn’t an opportunity I would get again, so signed up as soon as I could. There was a 14km run, to match the A14, but bearing in mind the Great Eastern, I selected the half distance of 7km, and planned to take it easy to try not to tire my legs too much for tomorrow.

(As it happens, the Great Eastern Run was cancelled the next day, due to a police incident involving an armed response, so I could have run faster, and/or done the full 14km, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.)

From the Brampton Hut junction (Highways England call it the Ellington junction, but I think they’re currently in a minority) I’ve had the rare experience of driving along the eastbound carriageway at 15 mph with my hazard lights on, dodging various bits of road-building equipment, barriers and holes. I then did a u-turn through a gap in the concrete barrier onto the westbound carriageway, where I’ve driven past a long line of parked cars to put mine at the end. The photo is looking north along the “westbound” carriageway, with the new A1 to the left.
From the car, starting the 1.2km walk along the new carriageway
From the registration area, looking back towards the A1 with the sliproads of the Brampton Interchange on either side.
Spreading ourselves out across the four lanes of the A14 westbound
And we’re off – 1km into the run. The 750m-long Great Ouse Viaduct can just be seen in the distance as the road curves to the left
We’ve gained some lane markings but a bit more work still to be done
After the 3.5km turn around point, and we have road signs – incidentally seeming to confirm that it will, after all, be the A14 and not the A14(M) as had been proposed. Emma Nicholson of the Lonely Goat Running Club is just in front of me – we each passed the other twice. I contemplated asking her what the Lonely Goat RC is, but thought she might not favour a detailed conversation while running.
Back on the Great Ouse Viaduct
And crossing the Great Ouse
Almost there…
I clearly slightly misjudged the first kilometre but was otherwise successful in my aim of a nice even pace, deliberately moderate so as not to overtire my legs.
I was pleased with the water bottle at the end – some water to drink, but something worth keeping rather than a “goody bag” full of rubbish.
I liked the slogan for the day – I hope I haven’t damaged my chances for tomorrow, but this was one chance, and I’m glad I took it. Congratulations to Highways England the the A14 Team for making it happen.
And a decent medal too, highlighting the Great Ouse Viaduct element of the run.

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