I have to admit, less than a week after this half marathon, I am still buzzing from it! I think mainly because I had the chance to run with my buddy Charlie, we smashed a sub 2 hour and it was such a well run and organised race.
Charlie was staying with her parents, not too far from me, so the night before we decided to meet and hit up Franco Manca – which I couldn’t believe she’d never been to!!! Her super sweet and funny children joined us, and it was a really fun evening. We discussed the race as well as the Thames Path Challenge, which she is taking part in tomorrow (Saturday), doing the full length in one day! If you don’t already follow her, please do, she a true inspiration, funny, kind and just a generally lovely, down to earth person/friend.
The race started early, and we met in the Maidenhead Football stadium, along with Andy, Mel and Sara. Andy and Mel weren’t running but had come to support and it was great to see them! Charlie and I had planned to NOT race this race, because it was a training run for us both, but we managed to let the race atmosphere get the better of us….!
We started around 9:30, the sun was shining, blue skies and warm! We started off a little faster than we had planned but we felt good and decided to keep the pace. Through the streets of Maidenhead town, out along the river and towards Cookham, we headed. Feeling good and with the miles flying by, I noticed another sign that read mile 8…which was when I realised it was a lapped course!!!!! To be honest, my heart sank…I HATE lapped races, I find them boring and usually end up dreading the second half of the race. However, having Charlie by my side and with the miles flying by, I focused on keeping the pace and Charlie next to me!
The atmosphere was buzzing as we came round to start the second lap. There were plenty of people out watching and supporting, the Marshalls were very friendly and supportive, and there were enough water stations along the course. The only thing missing from the race, was toilets. Apparently there was one in Cookham, but I never saw a sign or directions to it.
At the last water station, about 3 miles from the finish, I lost Charlie. She told me carry on without her, and with my legs feeling very good, I pushed on. As I came round the finally half a mile, I caught her in the corner of my eye, not far behind. Felling proud of her for catching up and pushing through, I made my way to the finish line. Waiting for us, was Andy, Mel and Sara (who ran an incredible sub 1:30 – huge congratulations) and over the line I crossed. Unfortunately the lady in front of me sudden looked very unwell, so the pacer coming in behind me, helped slowly move her to the pavement where a paramedic tended to her. I caught up with Charlie, grabbed some water and a banana. People were dropping like flies, most likely due to the heat.
Finally, looking at my watch, I saw a sub 2 hours. I was happy, Charlie and I had crushed it. It wasn’t easy and yes, the last few miles were uncomfortable BUT we smashed it. The only downside, was in all the commotion at the finish line, myself and Charlie, both somehow missed grabbing my Westlab pack of salts. Gutted, to say the least!
After the obligatory photos, we said our goodbyes and headed our separate ways. I had two cool down miles to tag on, so ran to the local sports ground and back to my car, then off to meet my mum for lunch!
A really fun weekend, a very well organised race, and time with friends. I would definitely recommend this Half Marathon, as it was flat, so well organised and supported! Thank you to everyone who wished us good luck and congratulated us! I LOVE running with this lady, thank you for staying with me Charlie!
Hope everyone has had a great week and thank you again to Maidenhead Half, and PurplePatch!