Milton Keynes Marathon – 29 April 2012
Report by Andy Hoddle:
This was the first running of this event. Although it sounds like a city marathon, and you might think "road", most of the running took place on the Redways, a cycle network around MK. Some of this was fairly narrow pathways, ie two runners wide, but there was plent of grass alongside most of it, for overtaking. The route was mostly flat, with the bulk of any gradient being from underpasses and bridges, but there were a few steady inclines as well. Refreshment stations were plentiful: two lucozade sport stations; 5 or 6 water stations and a couple of gel stations. On the day, the weather was attrocious with 20mm rain and driving 20-30mph north-easterly winds. Much of the course was sheltered, but there were a few exposed areas, for example around Caldecotte lake and Willen lake. More importantly, there had been much rain over the previous few days, so many areas were flooded. There were some very wide, deep puddles to avoid, which in places meant scrambling up the banking and around some major floods (path wide and almost knee depth!). Many of the bands listed as playing did not appear on the day, but there were quite a few spectators, braving the rain and wind, and a bagpipe band and a choir provided some musical lift. The start was a bit chaotic, most of the runners sheltering in an underpass until the last moment before the start. It was very difficult to get in the right start zone and find pacers. The website stated that there were 4700 registered runners, but the results only listed 2924 finishers, so either people decided not too run, couldnt get there in the floods, or drowned during the run! I expected fast times, but the winner was 2:41; only 25 sub-3hr finishers.
After the start of the marathon, a section of the river next to the course at 6 miles overflowed. The route was quickly diverted, so the marathon could continue, but the course was lengthened by 0.23miles. This added distance would have cost me the PB I was aiming for, so theres unfinished business for next year!
I came in at 4:46:31, identical to my Easter friday run, which I should have predicted after being passed by the 4:15 pacer at 7 miles...
Verdict: Definitely one to do again, hopefully in better weather.
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