|Left: Mark Affuso, Keith Hammond, Chris Simms, Peter Simpson, Nik Windle and Sharon Hammond|
The NSPCC half marathon is Milton Keynes’ second event of this distance each year. Unlike the previous half this year, this one was dry, calm but overcast for the earlier finishers. The familiarity was the competitors with members from both VRUK & VCAC meeting up and all but Chris Simms running in the March event.
The event is mostly held on the cycle routes (Redways) which is not a surprise but with 1500 runners, the first mile is rather congested. My previous attempt at a half marathon was last September in Wolverhampton when I suffered a calf strain and walked most of remaining few miles otherwise well over a year since completing one successfully. Not feeling particularly fit, it was rather a struggle although managed to keep to a steady pace.Chris had previously run about 1.24 at last December’s Bedford Half but was lacking the distance in training otherwise was going to try to repeat that performance. Meanwhile VCAC’s Keith is a model of consistency, normally finishing under 1.30 with Mark not far behind.
Keith was the first to finish in 1.27, also announced as the 1st V50 and awarded the prize but later it was discovered by the organisers that they had made an error. Chris feeling tired nevertheless was not far behind Keith in 1.27, Mark 1.34 and a few minutes slower than normal I came in at 1.41. Nik running for the VCAC on this occasion has been setting personal bests this year but not today, in fact well below his best, finishing in 1.57. Sharon finished in 2:28.