When I saw this race advertised around the end of the summer, I thought I’d sign up and set myself a challenge to run two half marathons in less than a month. Well…I’m so glad I did. This course was extremely hilly and hard work but equally beautiful and scenic.
Many people had warned me it was hilly and when I woke up this morning, feeling well rested, I just didn’t feel ready or wanting to go. It was cold, but the sun was shining and the sky was so blue, so I laced up and headed out regardless. I arrived in enough time to pick up my bib, drop my bag and go to the loo – without queuing for ages – resulting in minimal time hanging around in the cold. There was a brief warm up then we were marched to the start line. I knew Charlie was running the 7 miler and was sad I couldn’t find her in the crowd to wish her good luck. She did great though, running with one of her friends and finishing in an hour! Great job ladies!
At the start line, it felt like forever for 9.30am to roll around and the gun to fire, but once it did and I set off, I felt ready and determined to take on the course. At mile 1.5 (ish) we met our first hill. A gradual incline out of Marlow and into the sunny valleys of the Buckinghamshire countryside. At mile 2.5 the course split, for the 7 mile runners to make their way back and for us to carry on.
As we continued around the course, we met a few more hills, two being absolute killers and placed smack bang in the middle of the race and then 3 miles out from the finish. Although they were steep and some long, I’m proud of myself for not walking up them! I could tell there was a huge pay off from all of my training and probably because I just wanted to get them over with!!
The final mile was probably the hardest. I was ready to be finished, but only because I was desperate to pee! My legs felt great from the gun, I felt strong and positive. When I crossed the finish line, a sense of relieve and achievement went through me. I wasn’t sure whether to smile or cry, so I did both. I grabbed my goodie bag and pretty awesome medal before heading off to find coffee! Another sub 2 hour half – done!
I thought the race was very well organized and put together. I really enjoyed the course, mainly because there was no laps or doubling back. I loved the comical quotes on signs, purposely placed before each incline! A lot of us giggled amongst ourselves and out loud to each other, as we ran past them. There were enough water stations and the support from the marshals, on lookers and residents, was great!
If you haven’t run or are looking for a late autumn race next year, I’d recommend this one. A challenge, but a beautiful one.