This is a blog from the middle of the pack and will detail races from my point of view. i.e. a very average runner.
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Mill Hill Marathon
Marathon #83 Mill Hill Marathon North West London
The time belies the difficult nature of this challenge. It was very hilly at 2500ft, It was long at 27.2 miles (It was long anyway but I also got lost) and it was muddy (It was the worst mud I have ever seen from start to finish).
6am got me up and breakfasted and it was 1hr 20 mins to Mill Hill. This was a rather affluent suburb of North West London (from what I seen anyway) in Barnet near the village of Totteridge (not that far from Wembley) . The event was held totally well within the M25.
I got to the venue early enough to be directed by the most over qualified parking attendant ever in Roger Biggs. This was an early measure of the professionalism of this event which was perfectly run. It was a small marathon limited to just 50 or so people and was a fund raiser for a local hospice. It was organised by Anna Hatton who I have to say put on a perfect event.
The local community center was open and was the HQ for the day and had changing and shower facilities. Registration was a breeze and we were quickly ready to go. The runners was a who's who of the marathon club in the UK. After a sometimes emotional race briefing and some photos we walked to the start and we were off.
It was a beautiful day but the storm of the previous week had done untold damage on the course and we were warned of mud, lots of mud and hills , lots of hills.
Brilliant aid stations
The course was 4x 9K loops followed by a 6K loop. We were warned the course would be long as well. The 9K loop left the HQ and followed a pathway that was full of mud and puddles for around 800m. We then turned left through a kissing gate onto the first real muddy section. There was no way around it and you had to just plough through it. As the laps went on the mud got worse and worse and worse. The first hill was simple enough. The second long hill followed quickly. It went up and up and up (1.5km). It eventually came through the back of some houses before hitting the main road at Totteridge. Its funny when the easiest way up a hill is to run up the temporary river in the middle of it rather than the mud on each side. The next downhill was even muddier with sections or several hundred meters coming up over the shoe.
This led to an open field that was a complete quagmire and you had to slosh across it with each foot sinking in up to the ankle. After reaching the end of the field you turned right for the longest climb of the lap that was again muddy and long (about 1.5km long). I think I have missed a hill and some mud out of this description.
At the top of the hill was a brilliantly stocked aid station with everything from cucumber sandwiches to prawn candies (which are now my favorite). Off we went again for another downhill muddy section before crossing some gallops and heading up again (more mud) . We were getting close to the finish now and there was one last sting in the tail as we had a long steep uphill that brought us round to a nice downhill finish.
The laps ticked off nicely until I came to the third lap and at this stage I was on my own. I missed the
first turn and ended up doing a km extra (which included a hill). It was my own fault as I lost concentration and I had to do the run of shame back to the gate. I lost a lot of places in this time but I think I managed to get most of them back over the last couple of laps.
The last lap was 3K shorter and missed out the first hill and some mud before bringing us around to the finish. I was delighted to finish. The medal was great and Anna took time to talk to everyone.
I couldn't stay around for the cake and the raffle and headed back listening to Ireland beat England in the rugby. It took two baths and a shower to get clean.
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