On Monday 6th May 2019 I took part in the Milton Keynes Half Marathon. This is a two day running affair with the 5k on the Sunday and the choice of the Marathon, Relay or Half on the Monday. There is also a superhero kids run on the Monday which takes place half an hour after the main race start. If you do an event on both days you get a 3rd special medal. I live close enough to drive up on the day, but further enough away that I can’t come two days in a row, so was not able to take part in the 5k.
This was the 4th year in a row that I have led the 1:45 #funbus at #MKMarathon. It was also the 71st official event I have paced. Last year was during a heat wave and so hot, you can read about it HERE.
As always I got my kit ready the day before the race and use my #flatlay as a checklist. I keep it nice and simple for a half marathon as I dont take any fuel on board during the race apart from water.
For the second year the Pacers were treated like VIP at the start. There is a room for Pacers and Ambassadors where we can leave our things and get refreshments. It is often the little things like this that make a difference. It was a cold start to the morning, so really nice to be able to sit down with a coffee before the start.
As Pacers we arrived a couple of hours before the start, and about an before we went for a group photo. Milton Keynes offers a stadium finish, and this is a lovely backdrop for some photos.
We had a surprise this year and the half marathon Pacers had flags rather than balloons. I made my way to the start and soon runners formed a group around me. I spoke to runners to get everyone into the spirit of things, and before long we were making our way through the start line.
I always refer to the half marathon as a race of 2 halves. We start with the marathon runners and the first parts are on wide open roads. At the 7 mile point we split and the half marathon turns right on to trail paths which is lovely and scenic.
The start is very congested and takes a couple of minutes before I can actually run at the desired pace. I never panic when this happens as it’s easy to slightly #pickupthepace during the mile to get on track without running too fast. As always I was aiming to build a couple of seconds cushion per mile. I adjusted to mile markers as I always run slightly further, meaning you have to run faster to hit the right timing. Later on in the race I completed a few 7:50 min miles to keep ahead of the mile markers as running 7:55 would have left me without any wiggle room at the end.
We had a big group with us up to the 7 mile point. There were lots of ups and downs, but they aren’t too steep. The water stations are well staffed with water in bottles with sports caps. After the 7 mile point I waved goodbye to the marathon runners who had been running with my group, at this point they were all on track for a 3:30 marathon.
I always prefer the second half of the Milton Keynes half. My group thinned out, but still a good 20 plus runners behind with a dozen in front. It is scenic and becomes more intimate as I can try to offer words of motivation to runners struggling.
The last 6 miles is quite technical with twists and turns. It is nice to see supporters throughout the course cheering people on, and the marshals were all spot on.
The last mile I was screaming at my group to get ahead of me, as its not the time to give up. So many pulled ahead and I got them to #pickupthepace for the last little push. We finish in the stadium and it was great to see my family as I entered.
We do 2/3 of a lap and everyone sprinted to get ahead of me. I kept the pace going all the way to the end to keep people working for that 1:45.
A nice little heel kick to finish the race. The finish is well organised and we pick up a great looking medal, before going inside to get a good technical tee.
I was really pleased to finish in an official time of 1:44:38. A race I always like to take part in, and a great way to spend the bank holiday.
Whilst I was running it is good to see that my little ones had a great race in the superheroes run.
1.5 miles of running and a stadium finish, with a really good medal. This race ticks all the boxes.
What do you have next?