On entering this race, the only ambition was to make the start line, and then ultimately the finish. Driving to the start line a little bit of me wondered what kind of shape I was in, and if I could post a reasonable time. Truth was I was properly undertrained! (And catching a cold at a conference 4 days beforehand wouldn’t help!). With a single 18 miler in training to my name, this was going to turn out to be a tough old day!
Everything was really very smooth (queues for the toilets a little too long) so no faulting the organisation here. The baggage area was big enough to relax in the warm, and about 5 minutes walk from the starting pens. The race did seem to set off a few minutes late though, and its the first time I’ve seen fences between start pens, and then the different waves being stopped and held at the start line for a few more minutes. I guess this worked pretty well to stop congestion during the early stages of the run.
I’d decided beforehand to stick with the 4:15 pacer, and try and hold with them until about Mile 16-18, before then going backwards. Unfortunately the 4:15 pacer was in the pen in front, so stupidly I decided to try and catch them, which I did around Mile 7. Chatting away to a few people I realised at this point, whilst I felt good, I was probably working a little bit too hard at this stage, and the sun / heat wasn’t helping.
The Middle and The End
Looking at Strava, things started going wrong about Mile 17 when I posted a 14m/m! Lords knows what happened there, and that coupled with miles 22 and 23 ultimately saw an unrealistic ambition of 4.30 go out the window.
A positive though was that I was able to mainly run between Miles 18 and 22, something I’ve always struggled with. After the sub 4.30 went out the window, the next goal was to avoid setting a new Personal Worst (4hr 48m at London), so ending on 4hr 41m was fantastic.
Ultimately a really good day (if more work than originally planned / hoped). I made the start line (yeh!), and made the finish (yeh!) and have another (7th) marathon medal (yeh!). I’m also more resolved to make Snowdonia Marathon in October count even more now – but for now a week off and time for some food!
As for MK Marathon – a really good, well organised event. Thought the signs highlighting the scenic points of interest on the course were a really nice touch, and the inspirational messages chalked onto the cycle paths were excellent. Support all the way round was really good, and the stadium finish was fantastic. MK is also quite a bit more scenic than I’ve given it credit for in the past (and as someone who used to work there, thats quite a statement).
It also reminded me a lot of Stevenage Half Marathon, where there weren’t any hills of any particular significance, but the cumulative effect of the underpasses and gentle climbs was quite telling over a long distance.