Milton Keynes Half Marathon – Bank Holiday Monday 2nd May
Another away weekend and this time returning to MK for a run around where we lived prior to moving North.
This was the 5th occasion this event had been run and this year it included a 5k run on the Sunday, a Half Marathon, Marathon, Corporate Relay Marathon and Super Hero fun Run on the Bank Holiday Monday. The event is rightly earning a great reputation and this year every event sold out in advance
Over the 5 years I’ve helped at 2 and run the marathon once and the half twice.
Making a weekend of it meant eating out on the Saturday at a fine establishment and again on Sunday night at my son’s restaurant, partaking in far too much good food and wine for even an elite athlete like me!!
This year I entered the half marathon which was being run an a revised route to make it flatter. The race starts and finishes at the MK Dons stadium and this means no portaloos as you use the stadium facilities. I was dropped off an hour before the start by Mrs O and dropped my bag off at the huge indoor bag zone before meeting hundreds of members of my previous club (and No 2 claim club) the Redway Runners. They had over 500 members competing and over 250 marshalling (the club has grown from about 90 when I joined top over a thousand now). Usual photo taken then to the start. It was a bit tight but that was discussed with the Race Directors, members of the Redway Runners, over a pint later and will be changed next year.
The race starts with a 3 mile slow climb along dual carriageways to the City centre then a quick loop of the tree lined boulevards before heading out to a couple of the quaint old villages that were swallowed up 50 years ago when MK was formed. At mile 7 the marathon and half went their separate ways and the half dropped down to the riverside path I used to run along almost daily. By mile 9 the heat had started to get to me and I took a long drink break and loo stop before setting off a bit slower towards Caldecotte and its lake. We then ran along the Grand Union canal before turning up a steep hill and meeting the dual carriageway again and heading back to the stadium.
As you enter Stadium MK the noise is fantastic and you can see yourself on the giant screens. A quick lap of the pitch and you’re at the finish, handed water and a blingy medal before being lead out to collect your goody bag, Cow based t-shirt and fruit! Then back to the highly efficient bag collection –I had to wait 3 seconds before my bag was in my hand – then back into the stadium to meet Mrs O who had already showed up shouting encouragement at various points en route.
I finished in 1 hour 56 mins about the same, if not slower than last year, so much for a faster route!
It is a great event and is learning year on year, tweaking any minor issues. At night we met my son and the running club gang again at the local Wetherspoons and managed to natter to many old colleagues, some of whom commented on the impressive Red Rose marshalling at Manchester Marathon.
The sun shone and all was well with the world. On Tuesday we had a walk around Caldecotte Lake taking in the area where we once lived. It is also the scene of many an Enigma marathon. Then after visiting a few favourite places in Woburn it was time to head back up North.
I’ll certainly be back next year.