More from the MK Festival of Running

MK Festival of Running – Half Marathon

by Coralie Anderson


So, the morning had arrived of the MK Festival of Running Half Marathon.  I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this race.  Having run it twice before I don’t really recollect enjoying the course on either occasion!  However, the last time I ran it three years ago, I got my PB so that was an incentive enough to tackle the course once again.


The day was certainly not a day to even consider a PB given the weather conditions, it was a horrible cold, wet and windy morning.  As I sat in the kitchen eating my marmite on toast (minus the crusts) and drinking a cuppa I was trying to remind myself why I was doing it when I could have had a Sunday lie in!  My sister had travelled up from south London specially to support me so with that in mind we bundled into the car and headed off to MK.


I arrived at the car park feeling a bit sick and fully of apprehension as to what the morning had install, thou feeling a little bit grateful the rain had at this point stopped and a tiny bit of sun was trying to break through.


After waving goodbye to my mum and sister I made my way to the start line.  Eagerly looking out for the pacers, I was torn between 1.45 which I knew I could manage comfortably or 1.40 in the hope I could push myself.  So, I headed towards the 1.40 pacers – my race plan being if I could keep them in vague sight I should run a good race.


Luckily the start line wasn’t overly crowed, the road was wide and with a nice downhill section I quickly fell into a comfortable pace…or so I thought!  That was until I hit mile 2 which consisted of a rather large and unexpected puddle (or should that be pond!)  – shin deep, cold muddy water!  Not the ideal start to a race but glad to get it over with near the start rather than the finish!  After emerging safely the other side with what I can only describe as what felt like running with lead boots on my feet, I was still determined to stay on the heels of the pacers.


The course took a few twists and turns along the redways and up and down a few under passes and before I knew it I had hit the halfway point and still feeling strong despite running into a head wind.  I had managed to keep a fairly consistent pace of between 7.26 and 7.37 minute mile for the first 10 miles (which for me is super speedy).

Coralie looking comfortable over during the Half

As I came back around to Willen Lake for the second time heading towards the 11 mile mark I could feel my legs starting to tire and feel extremely heavy.  It was great to see so many supporters out as it really made a difference.  I could hear Andy’s voice cheering me on and spotted a few familiar faces along the way which I was so grateful for as it gave me a lift I very much needed!


Despite all my efforts trying to stay with the pacers the gap was widening as I started the steady uphill climb back towards the city centre.  At that point I was overwhelmed by the sheer dread of knowing Campbell Park was approaching and the steep beacon to climb!  Still carrying the mental scars from last month’s Chiltern League Cross Country around the park, I was struggling to put one foot in front of the other.  My legs had turned to jelly and ended up walking up the hill.  I was close to empty but was hoping I could conserve just enough energy for a sprint finish.  In hindsight walking was a bad idea as by the time I reached the top I could barely get myself going again!  With the crowd cheering me on and seeing my family and friends I mustered up the energy to give it everything I had left to see me over the finish line in 1.42.10 – it was 6 seconds slower than my PB but I had finished, which was enough for me!  All in all, I was really pleased with my effort and even thou no PB I did manage to run my fastest 10 miles and finished within the top 25 ladies so was feeling pretty chuffed.  So, with my well-earned shiny bit of bling around my neck what better way to celebrate than with a full fat Coke and KFC!