On bank holiday Monday, 1st May, its time for MK Marathon weekend. I completed the half last year as the 1:45 pacer and was really pleased to get an invite back for this year. This is a whole weekend of running with the Rocket 5k on the Sunday and the choice of a full or half marathon on the Monday. The medals are always impressive, with a special third medal if you complete both the 5k and either event on the Monday. I completed the half again as the 1:45 pacer, and whilst the 5k was taking place I was busy pacing the 1:40 at Hackney Half, in a morph suit
For those who know me, you will know I absolutely love pacing. I’ve long realised that I get more enjoyment out of running by helping people achieve their target times than PB hunting myself. This was the second time I have paced this event. It is the 30th time I have paced an official event (3rd time this weekend).
As usual I laid out my race kit ready for my race. Some of my favourite bits of kit are included. My Racecheck visor; Asics trainers; xbionic socks; CEP calf guards in lime green and a Grub bar for pre race. For post race I packed my OOFOS and a pack of Biltong.
My wonderful wife, Kirsty, took me to the start nice and early for a pacer meet and brief. Then she spent the morning in soft play with the kids. Foxy gave a really comprehensive race brief, to a group of really experienced runners. The brief consisted of:
Do you know your times? Right, make sure you stick to them!
Great fella who I’m happy to pace for. The only thing that’s not great is the balloons. Now I’m fine with them, but it’s for everyone around me. It was better than last year as it wasn’t as windy, but they still blew around hitting everyone around me.
We took a sunny 1:45 funbus picture at the start. The start last year was very crowded and it was difficult to get into place. This year I was impressed by the organisation of the start. We went into pens and were taken to the start in waves. This meant that we all could easily start in the right place. It was hotter than I had expected for this event, but water was provided in bottles and there was plenty for everyone.
It was a race of two halves, and I’m not just talking about the half and full. For the first 7 miles the full, half and relay runners share the course. It was a little crowded at the start, but we managed to get to the desired pace pretty quickly. There were lots of happy people in my group and many first timers. As always we shared stories and I gave updates every mile. I also paced a lady that had ran with me at Silverstone 2016, it’s always lovely to have people there who have ran with you before. The first 7 miles are on big open roads, with fantastic support.
At half way I gave the friendly encouragement to those around me:
Well done we are half way, bang on time for 1:45… oh except the marathon runners you have a little further to go
As we split the course changes completely. It turns from a busy road marathon, to a peaceful route along the river on paths. The second half is much more scenic, there is less support and the route wouldn’t accommodate many more runners, but it is a high point for me. Throughout the whole course I maintained about a 20 second cushion. I had to go a little faster at the start as the mile markers were getting further away, but I knew I was on pace as at each marker I kept the 20 second buffer. I had assumed it was just because I wasn’t running the blue line, and at mile 12 we were still 20 seconds up.
I always keep with mile markers, as that way the worst case scenario you are a little fast. Mile 13 appeared quicker than I thought it should, and all of a sudden the course caught up with itself. I can’t account for that, but we still came in strong at 1:44:31. I would have liked a few seconds later but I’m happy with that and it gave people behind a greater opportunity to get under.
It’s a lovely stadium finish and a great opportunity for a fast finish. A lovely event which I enjoy pacing. You receive a quality tshirt and medal, well worth a trip to the #MKMarathon
I had a fantastic day and highly recommend this event to everyone. For more reviews on MK Half Marathon check out Racecheck. As always I get rewarded for every run I do with Fitness Rewards. Feel free to ask me how!