Race report by Claire Newman
I blagged a cheeky transfer entry to the Mk Winter Half Marathon on Sunday. The race village was well organised, and I very swiftly completed the transfer of the place into my name although my bib still said ‘Mark’ on it.
I bag dropped as late as possible as the wind was chilly and then headed to the start. After a very clear briefing and a bit of a boogie to some participant selected tunes we set off, the waves going off roughly 5 mins apart with me bringing up the rear in wave 4.
All my half’s this year have been under 2.30, so that was my only goal for the day and I felt pretty confident about managing it, after all I did twice the distance a month ago, this should be a breeze……
You know how some runs you just know within moments of setting off that it is not going to be your day? A couple of hundred metres from the start line the magnets on my running pouch gave up and I had to run back dodging through oncoming runners to fetch it off the floor. I continued on for a bit holding the pouch like it was a clutch bag which made me look like a proper nob. I soon gave up on this and chucked it in the next bin, squeezing my phone and gels into my leggings.
After all that faffing I settled back into the run and soon came to the conclusion that my calves were Not Happy. I felt tight and achy and it wasn’t shifting at all. At around 6 miles the 2.30 pacer came level with me which sapped the rest of my motivation from me as I thought I was on for at least a 2.20 time. I lost sight of her completely at 8 miles. At this point I started to proper strop and messaged Lisa and told her 2.30 was out of the window and I was struggling. I was very tempted to DNF and have her come get me, but with 4 miles left I thought i’d best just suck it up and get it done.
I should stress that me having a bad race was all me! The route was lovely and scenic, and the marshals were really supportive. The feed stations were every 3 miles, water was given in paper cups and not allowed beyond the station to reduce environmental impact, there were cola bottle sweets which is awesome for a jelly baby hater like myself! The stations were like mini-parties with music playing and lots of support. One guy said ‘well done Mark, the surgeon did a good job on you” 😂🤣
The route was not as flat as I thought it would be as there were frequent hump bridge crossings and underpasses, which kept it interesting…but did add to the challenge I was having!
Mile 10-11 was a long downhill which helped perk me up a bit and also let me claw back a bit of time. At 12 miles I twigged that if I got my act together and stopped having so many sulking walk breaks I might manage to sneak it in under 2.30 after all….and I did 2:29:38 🤣
The medal was nice, the T-shirt was long-sleeve and a nice colour and quality, but I was surprised that such a big event with a £30 entry fee there was nothing except water at the end.
The only two negatives on the organisation front were:
– The first water station had no cups filled when I got there, so i had to stop and wait for a cup to be filled, but it only an inch of water in it, so had to then wait for another one. This happened again at a later water station. So if you were on for a PB it would be pretty frustrating
– The second issue was a safety one. There were several road crossings. At one of the later ones the runners approached it coming up a hill, the marshal was facing down the hill cheering on the runners and had their back to the road crossing and so were not aware of the car trying to get through the runners.
I would like to come back and do this event again as I think if my head was more in the game I’d have got a much better time and would have enjoyed the route more.