Milton Keynes Half Marathon – 10 March

The Weather could only improve on the 2012 event

Report by Peter Simpson

It was scheduled to be cold and windy with snow flurries but if you were well covered it was hardly noticeable. I was more concerned about a foot condition affecting my smallest left toe making running uncomfortable. Training as a result had been limited so hoped to get round without too much pain.

A local event for me, I had the option of cycling but decided the 2-mile walk was likely to be more beneficial, arriving warmed up. Soon met Siobhan & Ion at our planned meet-up point inside the Xscape building where indoor skiing was taking place above us.

Siobhan Carleton-Green & Ion Holban

The MK half was the first of their two visits, their next one being the MK Marathon in May from the MK Dons stadium. We also arranged to meet-up with Keith & Sharon Hammond of the Vegetarian C&AC, regulars at the MK Half but this year were running the 10K, an event that was introduced when the venue was changed from the Open University four years ago.

Left: Siobhan, Ion, Peter, Keith and Sharon

I thought for a time that we may not see Yasmin at the Start but just as Keith and Sharon were about to leave for the earlier start of the 10K, Yasmin appeared with her family, just in time to meet everyone. Unfortunately Yasmin’s husband also entered was unable to run due to injury.

Left: Siobhan, Ion, Yasmin and Peter (the VRUK team)

Due to the changed course with the route to the finish coming through Campbell Park, the organisers decided to avoid an earlier bottle-neck on the course by arranging for the 2-hour estimated finishers to start five minutes later. Ion and myself started together but with limited signs indicating estimated finishing times, we found ourselves near the 1.30 marker. I did not intend to start at this pace so, other runners were soon overtaking me which seemed to be  repeated over most of the course although I was running steady. Ion soon went ahead of me although his limited training due to backpain meant he had to set his sights for a slower time.

The cold weather was not particularly noticable despite the earlier sleet or snow flurries. The course still went round most of Willen Lake where it was not too windy and towards the M1 Coachway where there was a change through Broughton. We were I am sure meant to keep to the path but due to lack of marshals and the meandering and possibly flooded path, we took the shortest but muddy route for about 50 metres. Back onto the normal Redways (cycle paths), the course was quite flat until we started to turn back at about halfway. I continued to take it steady but was expecting to struggle towards the end, especially with the uphill section through Campbell Park.

At about 9 miles we repeated part of the earlier route through Woolstones, Newlands and Willen Lake before heading towards Campbell Park via the Grand Union Canal. By now I was beginning to stuggle with every climb and was more noticeably being overtaken. Knowing the course well helped, saving enough for the sharpest climb to the Beacon about 300 metres from the finish and a fast run to the line. Not noticing a clock, I estimated maybe 1.42 – 43 but later in the day was pleased to know it was 1.41.01.

The drier conditions helped to recover faster than last year when i ran the 10k and felt cold due to the wet conditions that turned to heavy wet snow for the half marathon runners. Ion indeed finished well ahead of me in 1.37 but he commented that he started too fast and suffered later, especially with the climb through Campbell Park. Siobhan appeared to have a more consistent run, finishing in 1.52.45, an improvement in her personal best. Yasmin was hoping to get close to 2 hours but had to settle for 2.05 given the tough section in Campbell Park.

The VRUK team met up again outside the XpressNet cafe in Xscape.


Finish Times:

Ion Holban 1.37
Peter  Simpson 1.41
Siobhan Carleton-Green  1.52
Yasmin Inglis  2.05

In the 10K for the VC&AC

Keith Hammond  40.51, 2nd V50
Sharon Hammond  1.01.+

Well done to everyone for taking part!

Peter Simpson