MK Festival of Running

From 5k to 20miles, we had at least one runner in every distance, all with different targets and goals in mind. Here is an insight into the day through the minds of Dominic, Stuart, Lynn and Mark.


by Dominic Grimshaw


On Sunday morning I had to wake up really early and I couldn’t watch videos on my phone or TV.  The reason was we had to go to Milton Keynes as there was the MK Festival of Running.  My mum was running the half marathon so she put my name down for the 5k and I thought it was a good idea.

When I got there I warmed up and got to the start line.  I got a good position on the line as I was expecting a good time or PB as I have done lots of training and had matched my stag PB recently. I was quite surprised there was a gun to start in case people in the city thought someone had been shot!

We started and I was feeling good down the hill and then we turned, ran flat and then uphill and I felt a pain in my shin.  I knew plenty about this as my dad has taken many weeks off for shin splints!  For the first mile it was on the roads, (I saw Amy queuing in her car and she waved at me and cheered me on), which I found quite cool because they were all dual carriageways and I was running on them and around roundabouts with no cars in the way.

After the one mile sign we came off a slip road and ran around the estates.  We went through some woods and I saw Dave and Pete, then we went over a bridge which wasn’t very nice as there was a steep hill leading up to it.  We ran by the side of a road with lots of ups and downs to the paths under the roads which was confusing as the person in front of me was quite a way ahead, so I couldn’t see them and I didn’t know if I was going the right way.

Then we came out from under one of the dual carriageways and I saw the finish arch but we had to go up a hill and over the bridge to the big finishing stretch to get there.  On the finishing stretch there were lots of people supporting runners and a big timer where I realised that I was 5 seconds off my 5k PB.  I saw my mum but I could only hear my dad as he is so loud!

I got a nice medal and some freebies then we went to a cafe whilst my mum was running.

It was a good race, I was 9th and 1st junior and I was pleased overall.



by Stuart Read


I arrived at the MK Festival with my 20 mile race number in hand and headed over to registration tent with my tail between my legs.  Giving my lack of distance in the last month I’d decided to swap down to the 10k race and got in line. Luckily I was not alone and the 5 people in front of me, were also making a similar request so I started to feel less of a slacker.

New number, safety pins secure, watch charged and on my wrist (this is a major improvement on my last couple of races)  I headed over to find the start line and bumped into Andrew, Kate and Susan. Having competed last year their advice was get to the front or risk getting caught up in 5k traffic, so I warmed up and took their advice.

I was joined by Adam, Charlie and finally Mr Dear (leaving it ’till the last minute) and the banter started. “Who’s on form, what times were people aiming for, whose the most hung over?” (Just Charlie on that one ;-).)  After my sub 40 min pep talk from Adam, I decided to try and stick with these guys at the start and give it a real go. 

The first 1k is downhill and I soon caught up with the back markers from the 5k and hit some fairly narrow paths. Luckily I got through with not to many holdups and headed over to Woughton on the green.  It’s amazing how rural Milton Keynes felt after a couple of miles, the sun was shining and I was enjoying the support along the way (cheers Pete and Dave).

Intently keeping an eye on the 1k markers I got to 5km in just over 19.00 minutes which was very close to my PB so I  thought I had a good chance if I could try and hang on to a 4km per min pace (sorry for KM ref, former triathlete).   I was just about managing it until I came out of Willen park were there were a number of redway underpasses to navigate up and down plus what felt like a never ending gradual incline up to and through Campbell Park my pace started to dropped off.

Runners hit the final km marker just before the infamous climb out of the park. This gave me some encouragement to dig in and get home.  I came across the bridge towards the finish and my time was running out.  A Killick style finish was needed if I was going to be sure of being under the 40 min mark and fortunately the interval training paid off and I was able to duck under the line in 39.51.

I can honestly say, doing events where there are other team members running definitely gives you an added boost in motivation and I’m looking forward to the upcoming club event. Bring on Sandy!!!!


Half Marathon

by Lynn Boddy


When I was asked to write a report today about my Half Marathon on Sunday at the MK Festival of Running, my initial thought was negative and that my run wasn’t really anything special and I didn’t have much to say about it. However having time to think about it whilst running today I have changed my mind for a number of reasons.

Firstly, it was a nicely organised morning of races that I would recommend to all levels of runners and, most importantly, I was able to go to the toilet twice without queuing either time and didn’t need to use Ian’s slightly grubby squashed cross country toilet roll as there was plenty. It’s also not often I get to see my 12 year old son lined up at the very front of a 5k race with 500 runners behind him. We cheered him past us at the start and the runners really did just keep on coming.

Another reason to write is that every race has a story I suppose. To keep my story brief, at 6 miles in to the race I knew it was going to be a tough one, at 8 miles I felt light headed (I must have looked unwell for Ian to ask, as I passed, if I was ok instead of the usual, and annoying, “pick your knees up”), by 10 miles I had concluded I was never running a half marathon again (and I really meant it this time!) and by 11 miles the aim was just not to stop and walk.

So finally, why else write? Well I want to give some credit to my legs. They have done more than they ever have over the last 6 months and I am grateful to them. In September, after years of never wanting to run a half marathon again (sound familiar?), I decided to train to get a 1.48 time (even letting myself dream of a 1.45 possibility) and have ended up doing 3 between 1.40 and 1.44. My legs have also endured some tough gym sessions and numerous squats and lunges every week since before xmas. They have ran every day for longer than you would expect from someone who didn’t like running when the crazy thought first came (just over 5 months). On top of this they have ran distances over 6 miles (my stable ‘long run’ for years) on a regular basis for months. So I was asking a lot of them on Sunday and agreed with them when they said no and demanded a slower pace. The next day they were back at it and again today too. So no PB for me on Sunday but my legs have done so much more these last few months that they are forgiven wholeheartedly.



by Mark Adkins


This was set to be my longest run to date and hopefully stand my training for this years London Marathon in good stead. My preparation going into the race wasn’t the best due to both injury and holidays hampering my long runs so I decided to treat it as a training run and try to go steady.

The conditions on the day were perfect and given my lack of race experience I was surprised how much more space there was at the start compared to the MK Winter Half in December. I was very careful to make sure I didn’t get carried away and set off too fast and I was very pleased with my pace trying to keep close to 10 minute miles.
The first 13.1 miles felt good and I still felt I had something to offer having completed the distance only 2 minutes slower that my half marathon pace in December.  This bodes well for the Silverstone Half Marathon on Sunday and hopefully I will be on for a PB!
I continued at a steady pace feeling good up to the 16 mile mark and then as I hit unchartered territory I found it was time to dig in…deep! The pain increased and my pace considerably slowed but I was still finding myself motivated by slowly picking off the back markers of the Half Marathon. Then as the finish line beckoned along came “The Hill” in Campbell Park and although I knew it was coming, after running the furthest I had ever run it felt like I was climbing Everest!
I crossed the line in 3:26:23 and although I can technically claim a PB, I am more pleased that I covered the distance relatively unscathed. In hindsight I would love to have slowed my pace down a little from the start so that I could have run a more consistent race and not crashed so much after 16 miles. However at this stage in my marathon training plan I can’t help but feel a massive boost of confidence that everything is moving in the right direction.