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Wandering the World

Stories and tips from around the world.

MK Half Marathon

I was up at 06:45 for breakfast and got ready for the race day ahead of me. Weather wise it was forecast to be a repeat of yesterday although it didn’t look like it. An hour later I was on the road to Milton Keynes yet again for a journey that takes about an hour so hadn't been worth staying over after the Rocket 5K.

This time the parking bays I’d used previously were coned off, except for one, so I parked in there. When I left my car I found that cones had been put across the entrance whilst I’d been sitting in my car. Hopefully that wouldn't be a problem later - I think it was done to avoid runners using it so they'd be free for other park users. I stood around talking to a few runners before the race: Carmen, Gary and Rose, and Phil and his partner as well. I also saw Jonathan and another runner (a Phoenix Runner frequent) I'd seen in Cyprus on the way to the start pens.

I was pretty close to the 1:30 pacer when I settled into the pen, so I felt rather than aim for an easy 1:40 I would stick with him. When I realised he was shooting off at 06:20/mi in the first mile I decided I wouldn’t. I held back and the distance widened. Even then though, by the time the first mile downhill was over, I’d done it in under 06:40 so was ahead of schedule for a 1:30 target. Even after the second mile I was still going slower than the pacer, and did that in a similar time. Once onto the Red Way, the pacer slowed down and I caught up, and settled into around 06:50/mi as you’d expect for a sub-1:30 time. There were several times I saw the pacer having to run crouching down due to the flag not fitting under the underpasses. For most races they'd have been fine, but here they were not good. Although an annoyance to them in other ways, I guessed the few pacers with balloons wouldn't have had the same problem.

Once at Willen Lake a lot of this course then felt familiar from the usual MK Festival of Running races I tend to do in March. So far everything was going smoothly, and I was still behind the 1:30 pacer, and not making any effort to stick with him, but was amongst the pack regardless. The route was starting to feel similar to the usual Festival of Running route I'd do in March and started to head back once around the other side of the lake. After six miles had passed I overtook the pacer for a while and ran with the 3:00 marathon pacer instead who was a little ahead. I never overtook this one, but felt there was slightly more space here.

Another mile and a half passed and I was starting to feel tired, and walked. The 1:30 pacer passed me, and I got running again, trying to make sure he didn't disappear too far into the distance. Half a mile later I realised it was hopeless - I'd lost it. I wasn't going to keep this pace going until the end, and felt now I might as well not push myself too hard. I walked a lot after this, and wondered if I could even beat my time from Cyprus. However, just as it had done with the 5K, the half marathon does finish with over a mile up-hill.

I finished in 95:43, so was slower than Cyprus, but had finished 94th out 1,472 finishers. The finish area really was a party environment with a Coldplay coverband on the stage, and people sitting around on the grass in the sun and enjoying it.

Tags: 13point1 halfmarathon race running sport

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© David G. Paul