Half Fun in the Sun
"This can't be right, it's not freezing cold or snowing!" This is probably the thought that most runners were having on Sunday morning if they had run the previous two years in the MK Half Marathon. In complete contrast to 2012 & 2013 it was the warmest day of the year so far and people might actually want water instead of tea at the aid stations.
The event is actually branded as a Festival of Running as there is also a 10K and a 5K fun-run to go alongside the traditional half marathon. All the events are based around the Xscape Snow dome which may cause a small amount of chaos for Sunday shoppers but certainly gives an iconic backdrop to the races. A couple of years ago there were some teething problems with the events but these seem to have been smoothed out and it's a fairly slick set-up these days.
The races start on the main city centre roads, before heading onto the redways after a couple miles with all of the routes staying on the Eastern side of MK, taking in Willen Lake, the river through Broughton and a section of canal near the finish. However, the most noticeable thing about both the event is that Xscape is at pretty much the highest point in MK and so in both the half and 10K you lose a lot of height gradually over the first two miles and then gain it all back in one half mile section with about a mile to go. This incline is not popular!!
The first person to have to deal with the course was Katie Haylock, who had opted for the 10K option, which started a little before the half marathon. Katie had been ill all week and so only decided to run fairly late in the day. Overall this was a good decision as she ended up with a big personal best of 48:47, but she was a little disappointed as she has been training very well and had started really quickly. You can never knock a PB though!
There were eight club members who lined up for the half marathon at 10:30 with the battle between Adam Haylock and Tim Inchley the most anticipated race after both did recent halves in 1:26ish. However, like Katie, Adam had also been ill and whilst the two of them were going nicely until 6.5 miles, a painful foot and increasing general struggles put any hopes of a good time out of Adam's thoughts. Meanwhile, Tim ran on with some friends from MKAC for most of the race, but like so many others the final hill up to the belvedere in Campbell Park slowed him to just under 1:27 which was not quite what he had hoped for. Adam did battle his way around the course to finish in 1:33:42.
We had three ladies out enjoying the balmy MK weather as well. Of these, first home was Coralie Anderson. Coralie joined the club a year or so ago but a series of injuries has meant that her shiny new LBAC vest had not made an appearance until now. After a difficult year, Coralie should be delighted with finishing in 1:42 and still looking fresh at the end. Kate Johnson did her usual job of making friends with various people around the route and as usual clearly enjoyed the run. It was a little too hot for her to be comfortable, but with a marathon on the horizon, it was all about getting miles under the belt.
Helen Crossland was the other Leighton lady, who made a deviation from her usual choice of marathons to join us in MK, but wearing a tutu…….. of course! Helen was keeping a few others company on the run so was really just there to enjoy the day, but completed the course in 2:28 minutes, fifteen behind Kate.
Having now turned 65, Fred Watt is clearly out to get all of the club records over the various distances and so lined up at MK with Richard's 1:47 surely in mind. However, Fred hasn't done his usual level of spring training and this record will have to wait for another day, but he still managed to finish as 2nd V65 out of ten out completed the race in 1:56:18.
Ian Hosley has recently been tied up with small children and his own "Grand Design" project so whilst he is still running, is not quite on his usual form, however, after a sensible steady start he worked his way through the field to finish in jus under 1:38. The only other person running on the day was Andy Inchley who was very pleased to get a new PB of just under 1:19.
All-in-all, with nine running in MK and nine in Leighton it was a pretty good turn-out by LBAC on what was a beautiful day in March