Milton Keynes Marathon Weekend. YOU WERE HEROIC.
Previously, I have either volunteered or spectated the Milton Keynes Marathon weekend. It’s always scheduled for the first May Bank Holiday and as it falls so close to the London Marathon I’ve usually rested my tired legs, in favour of supporting others. This year was slightly different.
As I recovered well from the marathon last year, I signed myself up early to the Rocket 5K. A fast 5K race the day before the main events on the Bank Holiday Monday.
I had my sights set on a PB and secretly chasing under 19 minutes (my PB this time last year was 21:53)
I also had a group of over 20 ladies taking part in the weekend races after signing up to a 6 week speed programme called ‘Stronger Fitter Faster’. I had to practice what I preach to them and show that the principles of the programme work.
I must admit, going into this race, I was nervous. Heavy marathon legs. Negative doubts. And wasn’t sure if a PB was possible. I lined up right near the front to get a good starting position. After a few minutes, we were off. The course starts uphill, but in a racing environment you naturally get pulled along by the rest of the field. A quick check of my watch and I was going FAR TOO FAST. I held back and tried to be sensible. After reaching the end of the incline, you head right and straight downhill to the finish. The sensible in me didn’t last too long.
Mile 1 – 5:57 – wow a mile PB in the first part of the race.
From here, I knew it would be tough. The course is straight on from this point all the way to the MK Dons Stadium to the finish. As I headed into mile 2 I felt so thirsty and had such a dry mouth! My breathing was very erratic and I knew this was going to be hard to hold the pace. At 3km in, I saw James’ Dad taking photos, I really wanted to stop and walk at this point, but knew it would be game over if I did. I tried to look good for the photos and mile 2 clocked by.
Mile 2 – 6:09 – slightly slowed down but still clinging on and a PB was in sight.
Still pushing forward, still in so much pain and the mind games furiously going I reached the 4km mark. Only 1km I thought, trying to work out how many more minutes I had left of this race. By this point I was well on for a PB, unsure if sub 19 was capable, but I just wanted to get to the end by this point. I was trying to work out the maths and see that even if I really slowed down I could still PB.
Over the last roundabout we went and I could see the stadium. YESSSSSS. Not much further. The crowds became thicker as we reached the stadium and mile 3 ticked by.
Mile 3 – 6:05 – I don’t think I looked at my watch at this point as I was so close to the finish.
I could hear so many people shouting my name at this point and I have no idea who was cheering at me, I was so in the zone and just aiming to reach the finishing arch. The clock was ticking, edging closer towards 19. My legs felt like they were going to give way and I pushed as hard as I could to end!
A PB and under 19 minutes. WOW. My last 0.1miles was at 5:25 pace – WHAT THE HECK!? I felt like I was running backwards.
Annette shouted at me – 4th lady!!!! I couldn’t believe it.
It took me a while to compose myself after this, I felt spaced out but also very shocked at what I had just achieved. My finish line picture says it all!
After I had got myself together again, I went back to cheer on others and congratulated so many other of the Stronger Fitter Faster Ladies who achieved their own PB’s.
Awesome results, all from awesome dedication!
|Name||5K PB – 6 weeks ago||5K after SFF|
Now we move onto Monday…..
By 9am, it was already 18 degrees. It was set to be a hot one.
I was entered into the half marathon and for me this wasn’t about times, it was about running the course with friends.
A client of mine, who is now also a best friend, Ana, unfortunately lost her Mum a year ago on the day of the MK Marathon in 2017. Ana was running the half marathon and her Mum was volunteering on the Age UK water station at mile 3. Unfortunately, Gloria passed away that evening.
Ana, then set out to get a group of friends and family together to raise money in memory of Gloria. I had the honour of running with Ana her group and most of the route wither and and her other half Damien. The group naturally split off throughout the race, but us three stuck together the whole way. It was Damien’s first half and after completing Paris and London marathons, Ana and I just wanted to enjoy the run for Gloria. It was a great run, and we laughed, joked and cried the whole way round. It was one of the most special half marathons and one I will never forget.
The support from the club, marshals and local community was great. People using their garden hoses to cool everyone down, one family handing out cider about 11 miles in and so many people standing out in the heat to cheer us all on.
An unforgettable race and one I will cherish memories of forever.
Once the half was completed. I met up with Rudi from the Treatment Lab. Our second sponsored athlete, Sally, was completing the Marathon. Our plan was always to run back and get Sally and run the last few miles with her. Everyone who has completed a marathon knows how hard the last part is and we wanted to support her on the final stretch. After collecting my medal and bag, I received a call from Sadie, who had offered to run the distance with Sally.
Sadie had told me she was at mile 17 and had let Sally go… she was feeling strong and wanted to continue her pace! WOW. Go Sally!
Rudi and I quickly got rid of our bags again and made our way down to mile 23 to greet Sally. We ran past many runners who were finishing and the struggle was real! The heat was affecting everyone.
We found Sally all smiles and still looking good! A quick check over, offer of gels, salt and tablets. And then we were off. A small park run distance to go and Sal would be a marathon runner.
This girl is unbelievable. She was still chatting at this point, and consistently holding the pace. Naturally, she started to feel tired at mile 25, but the determination was there. We ran pretty much the whole way with Sally but let her do the lap of the stadium solo.
A sprint finish and beaming smile on her face. SHE HAD BOSSED IT!!!!!
6 weeks ago, people were telling Sally to quit and give up due to an ongoing IT band injury. But she didn’t! She proved them all wrong and Rudi and I couldn’t be any more proud. It took Sally around 30 minutes to even look at her watch for her finish time. She didn’t care about the time, yesterday was about completing the distance and feeling good. Well done lady!
Words can’t describe how much I enjoyed everything about yesterday! Seeing other people achieve is a special moment and running isn’t always about finish times. It’s more than that and to share these incredible moments with people, is PRICELESS.
Well done to EVERYONE who ran over the weekend. They were tough tough conditions and I salute you all. Hope you’re all enjoying some well deserved rest, but join us again in Milton Keynes for a fantastic weekend!!!
Big thanks to the Redway Runners and everyone else who supported us! And thank you to Andy Hully and the rest of the team for putting on another great event.
p.s. you get three medals if you take part in the Rocket and one event on the Monday (half marathon, full marathon or relay!).
Plenty of bling!!!