Its taken a while to fully reflect on MK Marathon this year. Crossing the finish line there were mixed emotions, but I think the one that took precedent was relief that there were no more miles to run, and no more hills!
Before Race Start
Arriving early (very early, I hadn’t managed to get a parking ticket before they sold out so wasn’t sure where to try and ditch the car) gave me plenty of time to walk down to the stadium, take in the sites and generally relax (worry, panic, get stressed), particularly taking advantage of the excellent baggage area with plenty of space for the runners.
After getting ready it was time for a quick catch-up with 2 other runners from work- David who started off in the 0-5k group that was started about 18 months ago and now embarking on his 1st half marathon (he’d go on to run 1:50 – a fantastic time!) and Pete who was gunning for holding out for a 1:35 half (and would somehow manage to grab 1:37 – again more fantastic running).
(The cow behind us doesn’t really stand-out).
The Early Miles
I’ve hinted in my training that I thought I was near 4 hour shape, so I decided to try running with a pace group for the 1st time. Joining the 4 hour ‘bus’, I found myself running next to the wife of someone I used to cycle with – but neither of us were up for too much talking, both conceding fairly early on that we were both ‘ambitiously’ going for 4 hours, and both perhaps knowing we weren’t quite in that shape.
The 1st 6 miles were easy going, and it was around this point that I spotted ‘Marathon Ste’ from Liverpool Running Club and it was a joy to run the next 5 or so miles with him. ‘Marathon Ste’ was someone who I ran with when 1st starting out running back up in Liverpool, so used run with him every Tue and Thurs night round the streets of North Liverpool, and he’d often have a tale or 2 from the many, many, many marathons he’d previously run (hence his nickname). It sounds likely that I’ll be on the same course as him later in the year at Snowdonia.
Mile 7 for no particular reason was pretty tough going, but 8-12 went well enough. I had kept an eye on my heart rate, and this was a little higher than it should have been for this point on the race, but I decided to plough on regardless.
At Mile 13 though, I decided to be sensible (for the 1st time in my life?!). We went through half way bang on pace time but I’d already mentally decided that after Mile 14 I’d drop back the pace in the hope not to blow up completely and hold out for around 4:10-4:15.
This ‘reduced’ pace worked well until about Mile 19, when I just slowed completely. I went from running sub 10 min/miles to just about holding 11 min/miles. All I could do was resolve to myself to not walk and continue running regardless of how slow that running got. (I should have remembered, but those hills in MK are tough work – its certainly nowhere as flat as I recalled from the year before!).
Again a fantastic lap of the stadium (including a kiss and high five from the kids) and sheer relief at crossing the finish line.
So crossing the line in 4 hrs 24m to set my 3rd fastest marathon time, just a tiny bit disappointed not to hold out for sub 4:20. This is about 18 minutes faster than my time last year, so certainly some significant progress.
The stand out for me on the day though was the sheer support for Willen Hospice all the way round, from supporters and fellow runners alike.
Another really enjoyable day in MK (although I’m saying that now after 10 days, so maybe the memory of those hills are starting to fade….)
Willen Hospice and MK Marathon 2017
In May 2017 I’m running MK Marathon and Stirling Marathon (and in October, Snowdonia Marathon) to raise funds and awareness for Willen Hospice, an amazing local charity. I’ll be blogging my journey from here to the finish line. If you’re in a position to make a donation, however small, it’d be greatly appreciated. My JustGiving page is here, or alternatively you can text ‘GBMK50 £3’ to 70070 to make a £3 donation.
Many, many thanks to those who have donated so far, it really is appreciated, and really helped out at about Mile 19, Mile 20, Mile 21, Mile 21.5, Mile 22, Mile 22.5….