Event 25 – NOT the Edinburgh Half Marathon/10k

Not Edinburgh Castle

The Crickleaze Half Marathon/10k

We had a great weekend planned.  Fly up to Edinburgh Friday evening, Adi run 10k Saturday morning, meet up with friends, nice food, a glass of wine or two, Paula run HM Sunday, cheer for Tara on her first Marathon, more friends, more food, more wine…. but it was not to be.

Easyjet flight 429 was cancelled and along with it our weekend away.

It started so well with a scenic drive to Bristol airport – we took a different route from usual, avoiding the horrors of the M5.  We had hand luggage for the first time, (deciding not pay the crazy money to check a bag)  so sailed through airport security and then to a restaurant for pre flight food and a drink or two.   We even got as far as going through the gate to board.

After hanging about a bit, a man looking suspiciously like the pilot, who was in fact…the pilot, came into the waiting area and spoke to everyone, informing us that the plane we were about to get on had just been struck by lightning on it’s approach into Bristol from Austria – some checks would be needed before we could board.  We saw them checking, with teeny tiny torches shone at the undercarriage, apparently they knew where the lightening had struck the plane but not where it had exited.  They were looking for loose rivets.

Time ticked by.  It was possible, they said, that we could take another aircraft on it’s way from Geneva, but in the end due to the storms it was diverted to Cardiff.

Roll on another hour and we hurled off to wait somewhere else, then finally, in a very Easyjet way they announced that the flight was cancelled and sorry for any inconvenience.  That was it.  No “We’ll get you on another flight” no “We’ll put you on a coach.”  Nothing.

There were actually a few flights cancelled and therefore hundreds of angry, upset, bewildered people milling around the airport not knowing what to do. Adi and I were pretty calm compared to others.  Long story short, there was no availability  on any other flight that weekend.  Possibly from London, in the morning, but as it was now 11pm and London was three hours away, and Adi’s race was at 9am his was not an option.  Plus my lovely pre flight drink meant I couldn’t drive anyway.  Easyjet mumbled about taxis and hotels but these all had to be paid for and claimed back…having now been on their website I’m glad I didn’t shell out any more money as claiming looks like the pain you would expect from a budget airline (in fact any airline).

Adi through the bathroom window!

As it happened we still ended up in a hotel in Bristol overnight, as I couldn’t drive and was too tired anyway.  We had the best laugh of the evening when we found that the bathroom in our hotel had a window!!!!  A window into the room – with no curtain.  In our tired and slightly delirious state we laughed our heads off.

It was a strange weekend of mixed emotions.  Glad to be home with our families but missing our Scottish friends and our races.  The sun shone on Sunday – here and in Edinburgh, nice to hang out by the pool at home, but it would have been great running weather.  Good news from Edinburgh though, Tara completed her first (and she tells me last) marathon.  Well done Tara xxx

Some deer sitting by our pond in the garden. Wouldn’t have seen that in Edinburgh 🙂


So we had two bibs and no race.  Nothing for it but to run our own race…here at Crickleaze.   The Not the Edinburgh HM/10k  It would start at 8.30ish on Tuesday morning.  There would be a feed station, a supporter – Heidi and an official photographer – Ian.  And probably some cows and sheep.


It was a casual start to the morning, quick photo by the front door,  a few snacks on a tray for the feed station and then a wander up the hill to the lane we would be running up and down.   I wanted to make it as flat as possible, hence the running up and down the same lane.  Everywhere else is pretty hilly.  We set off at 8.48….with a cheer from Official Photographer Ian.  Supporter Heidi was still in bed 🙂


Official photographer Ian

Adi trained for many weeks for this 10k with the aim of running every step – and that’s exactly what she did.  Up and down the lane three and half times made up the 10k.  She kept a great even pace and looked strong throughout.  It was great for me to have someone to chat to, we had decided not to wear our headphones and listen to music so that it would feel more like a race.  We had to dodge out of the way of a tractor and a dustcart, but living here in the middle of nowhere that was pretty much it.  Oh wait, I saw the postman too 🙂   Busy morning lol!

Feed station
Supporter Heidi

On lap two we spotted Supporter Heidi, wearing pyjama shorts and her wellies – but somehow still looking very cool.  She had our water bottles which was very welcome as it was starting to get quite warm.  Ian had popped back home to do some work but came back to see Adi cross the finish line in a PB of 1.06.15 and of course the Crickleaze 10k course record.

Post race stretch for Adi

I had to keep running, still 11km to go for me.  Up the lane, down the lane, up the lane ….. Fortunately it was beautiful and somewhere I run all the time, just slower.  Today, because it was a race I kept up a good pace.

Saw Adi and Supporter Heidi a few times, with drinks and snacks and encouragement and before long it was over.

By this point Heidi had gone back to bed, good job she kept her Pj’s on, and Ian hadn’t realised how speedy I was so I crossed the finish line on my own.  Adi had walked up the lane earlier with water so wasn’t far away.  2.22.20 and a course record for the Crickleaze 21k 🙂

A great event, and although we missed Edinburgh it was good to know that my friend Sarah and Edinburgh were behind us all the way.

Good friend and supporter Sarah cheering from Edinburgh



Event 24 – Dartford parkrun

The runners – Heidi, Natalie, Paula

Finally an event that would be over in 30 minutes – it’s been a while 🙂   and a trip to Dartford was the perfect destination for a parkrun.  Ian needed to be in the area for a bike TT, Heidi wanted to go London Saturday night, and Dartford is a short train ride away, my cousin-in-law Natalie was keen to run with me…..Oh and my Mum and Dad live there !

Heidi and I headed off in the car on Friday for yet another mini break together.  Ian was flying in from France so would meet us there.  The three hour journey took fours hours, but we were expecting that as it was Friday afternoon and we had to negotiate the delights of the M25.  After many recent car trips together we have silly games to play, one of which is the Plane game.  Basically shouting out “there’s a plane” when we see one.  Best played in a traffic jam somewhere near an airport 🙂

It was lovely to stay at Mum’s instead of a hotel, and we arrived to see Ian who I hadn’t seen for two weeks and a lovely home cooked meal.

Saturday morning we all headed off to Dartford park.  I lived in Dartford until my early 20’s and the town has changed a lot, but the park is still very similar to how I remember it, and all the changes are improvements.  A nice cafe and play area and an upgrade to the running track.  But the statue at the entrance and the bandstand are just the same.

Support crew

At the park we met up with my cousin Justin, his lovely wife Natalie and their adorable children Joshua and Isabelle.  Natalie only started running recently but already has six parkruns to her name.  This would be her 7th and a new location too.  Heidi and I have run Dartford once before.


It was two laps of the park and multi terrain. Grass, gravel, a short uphill trail and some paved paths.  It’s a great course although the section along side of the football pitch might not be so nice on a wet day.  But we had perfect weather, dry and not too hot.


We set off after the usual briefing and kept a steady pace.  Volume of runners dictating the speed of the first km as there are a few narrow sections.  Natalie and I chatted away – we don’t see each other very often due to living on different sides of the country so it was lovely to catch up.   Heidi’s plan was to set an even pace and run the whole thing.  Last time she went off too fast and blew up after 3km.  She also likes running with headphones so didn’t join in the running chat.

Go Heidi
Pretty flowers in the park


The first lap went well. The small hill was steeper than Natalie was used to but she stormed up it and kept up a good pace. After the first lap, Natalie needed to slow a little and let me go on.  I was so pleased to be running 5km and not a marathon and still had quite a bit of energy so went ahead – but not by much.  The course has lots of twists and turn backs, so I could see that Natalie was not far behind 🙂

Another run past all the pretty flowers and the bandstand.  Past my Mum and Josh who were cheering and running along, and I could see the finish line.  A final sprint and it was over. 29.28.  A good time for me.

Natalie finishing strong

Natalie was not far behind and got a PB – woohoo!!! Heidi just behind her, she had achieved her goal of running the whole course.  Three happy runners.

Then it was off for a coffee and more catching up, I don’t see my cousins nearly enough, but I see more running together in our future.

Post run coffee



Event 23 – Swashbuckler Middle Distance Triathlon


Buckler’s Hard at 5am

1.9km swim, 90km bike, 22km run

This was a big event for me and coming only one week after the crazy long duathlon was going to be a tough day out.  One that nearly ended badly…but didn’t 🙂

So, I booked this event ages ago with my friend Declan.  We are both doing IM Maastricht in July and thought this would be a good training race.  I did a similar thing the year I did IM Zurich.  The middle distance is half the distance of an Ironman.

Buckler’s Hard on the Saturday
Donkey going for a wander


The event was held at Buckler’s Hard in the New Forest, a stunning location and one that we were very fortunate to race in.  The Beaulieu Estate and even the river we swam in are owned by Lord Montague.  But RaceNewForest – the organisers seem to have a good relationship with the Estate as they hold quite a few events here.

Heidi came with me again, as Ian was off in Italy doing a cycle race with his buddies. Although it’s only a couple of hours away, the 6am start on the Sunday meant registration and race briefing were taking place on the Saturday afternoon so we would have to stay over in a hotel.   In fact I booked two nights so we didn’t have to drive home straight after the race – another mini break for me a Heidi 🙂


IMG_5027We met up with Declan and his wife Annemarie at the race briefing.  It was the perfect afternoon for it – warm sunshine and a beautiful setting.  We all sat on the grass while the event director gave us the low down on what to expect the following day.  He told us the water was 16C which is pretty good for May but that it might be cold on the bike and we should take time to put on a layer or two.  It’s very easy to dash out of the water and onto your bike without realising how cold it is.  90km is a long way to be cold.  He wanted us to all enjoy the race and keep fit and healthy for our racing season ahead.

Sunday – Race Day

After fairly good night’s sleep, our hotel although lovely and in a great location was right next to a railway station,  we got up at 4am.  I felt quite lively and Heidi although sleepy was in good spirits.  It was only 5 miles to the race start and the drive was stunning.  The sun was coming up, there was a gentle mist which made it look even more pretty and then of course there were the animals – which are the main highlight of coming to the New Forest.  We saw a small herd of deer skip across the road, we saw donkeys wandering down the middle of the road, big cows and baby calves just on the edge of the road and of course the lovely New Forest ponies everywhere.  Delightful.

Ready to swim – I didn’t wear the hat!

We got there just before 5am and I went off to rack my bike and set up my transition area. Bike shoes, socks, helmet, jersey, race belt, food for my ride and trainers for my run.  At 5.45 I got into my wetsuit.  Did I mention how cold it was…4C brrr. I left putting my wetsuit on until the last minute.  The race was actually delayed 15 minutes, not so much for the swim (the water was relatively warm) but so that the temperature would have risen a bit for our bike ride.

IMG_5080 (1)
Waiting for the swim start
Swim start

At 6.15am the first wave set off with their red hats on and then five minutes later it was the second wave with yellow hats on.  I was in the second wave.  The water was  fine and calm although it was quite misty.  I enjoy the swim bit as it’s my favourite discipline and the one I’m best at, Declan was slightly more apprehensive as 1, his wetsuit was pretty near falling apart and 2, he hadn’t actually been in the water since IM Zurich…. nearly TWO YEARS ago!!!!  No pool swimming, no open water swimming…possibly a bath or two – he was fine though 🙂

I started swimming. We had to do two laps – up one side of a row of boats turn round, back the other side…and repeat.  There was quite a bit of jostling around at the beginning and the usual getting bashed in the head, but I don’t really mind all that as I feel confident in the water.  All was going well until….

I saw a yellow hat next to me start to turn by a big orange buoy and I could see people swimming the other side.  It was hard to see clearly but I assumed this was the turn around point so I turned.  But suddenly I seemed to be amongst red hats.  Uh oh!  I kept swimming trying to figure out what was happening.  I couldn’t turn around as I was surrounded by about fifty swimmers and there were boats to my right.  I carried on.  By the time I completed the second lap I realised that I must have turned slightly too early on the first lap.  I had no choice but to just get to end.  This would probably mean a DQ (disqualification).

Run into T1

I was obviously a bit upset.  I ran out of the water where I saw Heidi and then into transition.  I made the decision that if I was to be DQ’d I might as well still do the bike ride and have a nice day out.

I didn’t want this to ruin my day so I figured out quickly what I would do and then put it to the back of my mind.  I would finish the bike, find the race referee, explain what had happened and then DNF (did not finish).   Shortly into the bike I heard “Go Paula Green”  it was Declan.  As he rode past I explained what had happened and that I was ok.  I know he was worried about me, but really I was fine.  Not saying anything and pretending I had just done a speedy swim would have made me feel much worse.

The bike course was beautiful and I’m so pleased I did it – pretty flat, not much wind and lots and lots of ponies, cattle and donkeys to keep me amused.  The marshals were wonderful and very encouraging.   I was keeping up a good speed.   I had been worried before the race about not meeting the cut offs but even if I had completed the whole swim I would have been fine.  This was a bit upsetting, but I had come to terms with the fact that I probably wouldn’t be running and actually I think I enjoyed the bike more because of this.   No pressure – enjoy the moment.  These things happen.

Bike course

After just over three and half hours I was back at transition, I saw Annemarie standing by the timing mat  cheering then I saw my sister Adi and brother-in- law Antony (they had driven from Somerset that morning to catch me on the run), Heidi was with them and they were waving pompoms and ringing cowbells.  Adi could see from my face that all was not well and she looked concerned.

Fortunately I saw the race referee straight away and I even remembered her name from the race briefing 🙂  I called her and she came over to me.  “I mucked up the swim” I said.  She seemed to know that something had happened although she didn’t know that I was the swimmer – we all look the same in the water!  She asked if I was in a yellow hat – yep that was me.  Then, to my surprise she said it was ok, I could continue with my race.  I wouldn’t  get an official time for the swim but most importantly I wouldn’t be disqualified.  She said that she was pleased that I had let her know.  I found out later from other racers that I wasn’t the only one with problems in the swim and lots of people had difficulty working out the course – this made me feel little better.   I asked the referee if would still get a medal – YES!! – Hurrah!  I was not running 22km without getting my medal lol!

So within the space of a few minutes I went from thinking my race was over to getting my head round a 22km run.  I was so grateful for them being so reasonable.  I had only gained about seven minutes and lets face it I wasn’t going to be winning any prizes, I was definitely bringing up the rear.

One more lap

So the run began – two 7 mile laps.  It was pretty hot by now but I didn’t find it as hard as the runs on the duathlon last week.  My legs felt reasonably good, and I was just so happy to be given the chance to run and complete the race.  I ran the first lap quite well, there was walking, but I kept it to a minimum.  Most of the lap was on country lanes, but the last couple of miles was through woodland and on trails – very pretty.

I got a big cheer at the end of the first lap from my family and Annemarie as it went back through Buckler’s Hard.  There were also lots of people here outside a pub clapping and me up the hill ready to start lap two.  Lap two was much harder.  I had now been racing for nearly six hours and was tired.  I was also mainly on my own as most people were finishing.   There were still a few people out there and everyone was very friendly, the marshals clapped and cheered us along and I even had people shouting out of their cars and from their gardens.  I quite enjoyed myself despite things starting to hurt.  My favourite bit was coming round a corner and seeing twenty (I counted them) ponies in the road.  I wish I’d had a camera with me – it was a lovely sight.

The final mile was tough, I was starting to fade.  I took a gel because I felt like I hadn’t eaten quite enough but then realised I needed some water, which I didn’t have.  However, at this point some walkers were near me and asked me how I was getting on and what I was doing.  They seemed impressed 🙂 and also gave me some water – thank you!

Support crew

The last bit of the run comes back along the river and back up a gravel hill, past the pub and the crowds to the finish.  Declan, who had finished ages ago was waiting for me at the bottom of the hill and walked with me round the corner.  It was so good to see him.  Then I heard, before I saw them, my sister and Heidi – wildly waving the pink pompoms and ringing the cow bells.  GO PAULA GREEN!!!!  Annemarie was there too “Come on Paula!” the crowd were trying to encourage me to run up the hill, but I didn’t have much left in me. I waited until I could see the finish before I  ran the last 100m or so over the line….and got my medal.

So happy to have finished another event.


Our hotel right next to the pub

Back at the hotel I had a well earned shower and then met up with Adi and Antony for a well earned prosecco (my race day treat).   Later in the evening Heidi and I had dinner with Annemarie and Declan and chatted about the fabulous day we had.

23 Events done!


Event 22 – Leaky Freaky Duathlon

Roadford Lake – early morning

5km run/45km bike/5km run/45km bike/5km run

This was  a tough one and the first event this year where I had a long internal dialogue about pulling out  of the race.  How I would write and explain it on the blog and how understanding you would all be….

But, in the end I finished.  Here’s how the day went.

The day started very early, around 4.45am.  I have been quite spoilt these past few weeks with the late marathon starts of 10am.  I don’t mind getting up early but it does make it harder to plan my nutrition.  I can’t stomach food first thing, so I made my porridge and put it in my little food flask.  I had over an hours drive to the venue so I would eat when I got there.

The drive was very quiet and I even got to see where Ian would be doing his own event at 8am that morning.  A ten mile bike time trial on the A30!  …. he did very well, coming second in his age group.

My satnav took me to a field, unfortunately not I field with an event in.  I had seen some cars with bikes on before I had turned off so I retraced my steps and headed in their direction.  It wasn’t far away and I got there in good time to register, get a coffee and eat my porridge.

Me and Jo

It was a small race, around 90 people.  I saw my friend Jo from our tri club.  Until recently she was a pro triathlete and is super fit, I was not sure we should be in the same event.  I asked her a few questions about which shoes to wear – trail or normal trainers, and whether she was carrying her running shoes with her on the bike. I’ve not done a duathlon before and was a bit nervous.  This was also quite a tough one, with run/bike/run/bike/run sections and different locations.  Usually duathlons are just run/bike/run.

Anyhoo, all was explained in the race briefing, although it was hard to take in all the details.  The main thing that concerned me was the cut off times – there were none YAY!!! I had been worried about this, being a slower athlete, but they said that as this was the first time they had run this particular event there would be no cut off.  I could take all day, although Jo advised me not to stop at a cafe for coffee lol!

With my bike already in the transition area, and my race bib on,  I headed to the start line.

GO… it was a small race so no big gun or hooter.  The man said GO…. we went…and within less than a minute I was at the back where I stayed for the rest of the race 🙂

The run was 5km, made up of one and a bit laps, on a gravely trail through wooded area by the side of a lake, all very pretty…and hilly.  I was already starting to get quite warm and it seemed like a long day ahead.  I completed the 5km in around 32 minutes which given the hills was a good pace for me.  The guys at the front were literally twice as fast as me and I was lapped by quite a few of them.


Easy to find my bike in transition as there weren’t many there.  A few people were still getting their bike gear on.  T1 (transition one) I changed into my bike shoes, put my helmet on and then put my trainers in a rucksack and on my back.  The next transition was 45km away.  We did have an option to send our trainers ahead in a bag but I was worried about possibly not getting them and then,  not getting them back.  In the end about half the racers carried their trainers and half took the bag option.  They were light and I was fine with them on my back.

45km on the bike.  I’m going to be kind and say it was undulating, up and down, up and down.  Only one short steep hill and given this was Devon and Cornwall it could have been much much worse. The wind was also favourable but I found it hard going, possibly due to the hilly run I had just done!

First bike leg

I was at the back with another lady called Sharon.  We took turns being at the very back.  I would get ahead up the hills and she would come sailing past going down.  Just before we reached the end of the bike leg I decided to stop for a quick wee – basically I spotted a good hedge – I was quick but it meant that Sharon got ahead and I was at the back again.  I hadn’t noticed up until now but there was a a tail driver bringing up the rear of the race.  It was actually a man in an ambulance car.  As I appeared from behind my hedge he was waiting for me. I was a little embarrassed but mainly relieved that the official car I saw was an ambulance and not a police car lol!  He asked if I was ok and then followed me for the final 5km down to Tamar Lake and T2.

By now the fast people had already got to the lake, done their run and were heading back out on their bikes.  I racked my bike, got some water and headed out for my 5km run which was actually 6km – we had been warned that it was longer than advertised in the race briefing. That was all I needed!

I tried to run but my legs weren’t really working, and it was hot – I’m guessing around 24C and with no shade.   I was honestly a little worried about whether I would get round.  The lake however was beautiful and very quiet, only a few fisherman and a few walkers.  I could just about see Sharon up ahead and a couple of other ladies.

It was hard and my head, which is usually strong, wanted to give up, my legs were tired, I was hot and the trail although sort of flat was very gravely had little tiny uphills which seems huge in my fatigued state.  I started thinking about possibly stopping when I got back to my bike and getting into the support van, I really couldn’t imagine getting back on my bike and cycling again…oh and then running AGAIN!  I’d had enough.

I finally got back to T2 – just my bike there on it’s own.  They were starting to pack up and basically just waiting for me to come in.  But the support crew were awesome.  They rushed over to me with water and flapjacks and sweets, offered to fill my bike bottles and said encouraging things. “You got this” is the one I remember.  I’m so grateful for their positivity.  I changed into my bike gear, trainers back in the rucksack and headed off on my bike ……with my trusty ambulance man following me again 🙂 Nice to have your own personal support vehicle.

The bike course was the reverse of the one on the way there and headed straight up a long hill.  It had looked really steep coming down, but in the end wasn’t too bad.  I was just relieved to not be running any more and be back on my bike.   It was also much cooler on the bike.  After a short while I caught up with Sharon and she stayed just behind me all the way back, with the tail car just behind her.

The whole ride back was into a strong head wind which made even the downhills an effort.  But it was still better than running round a lake in the hot sun.  At one point I passed a police incident – a car smashed up in a hedge.  I found out later that the car had hit one of our cyclists – he is ok, but the driver was arrested at the scene.   Made me very pleased to have our friendly ambulance driver just behind us.

Leaving transition for final 5km

Sharon caught me up at the end and we rode into T1 (T3?) together.  My spirits had lifted now as there was only 5km between me and getting this day over, and now I had a friend to run the last leg with.   Another gear change back into our running shoes.  A quick hello to Jo who had finished ages ago – she was 2nd lady!

Everyone was cheering us as we left transition.  I grabbed some more water and a few sweets – races are the only time you can eat sweets guilt free – and we headed off back onto the trails for the last time.

Water station with sweets and helper

As we started the first lap a lady called Lisa joined us.  I had seen her near the end of the bike leg with her husband – he had decided not to do the final run, so she came along with us.  The poor lady was recovering from a recent illness and was still quite wheezy, we had to stop and help find her inhaler at one point, obviously something I understood.  She was great fun and the three of us staggered round the course together.  Running when we could, walking when we couldn’t, Sharon and I both finding the down hills painful with our dodgy knees – what a crew lol!

Lisa and Sharon

On the final lap Lisa had a burst of energy and ran ahead.  Sharon and I were not far behind and crossed the finish line together.  We were last and finished in just under six and half hours, nearly three hours after the winner.  But happy.

What it is they say? What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  Let’s hope so.

Finishing together!

22 done.


Event 21 – Milton Keynes Marathon

IMG_4936Another week, another marathon….

I booked this marathon a long time ago, shortly after the Bristol to Bath marathon in October last year and way before I got my London place.  I was looking for a flat, fast course where I could try to get a reasonable time. Bristol to Bath was very hilly and although I did well, I thought I had a better marathon in me.

Roll on a few months and I secured a place in the London marathon and decided to put Milton Keynes out of my mind.  Denial, I think they call it 🙂

My recovery this week from London had gone well.  Monday to Wednesday walking was… interesting, to say the least.  But by Thursday my legs felt fine and we even had a family day out to Tintagel Castle which involved steep hill climbs and numerous cliff edge steps.  I figured I would be fine to give MK a go – it was held on the bank holiday Monday so I had an extra day of rest lol!   This would also be a “no pressure” race.  I was so pleased with my time last week I was happy to plod around and just enjoy the experience.

Step climbing at Tintagel – marathon preparation!!!

So… on Sunday afternoon, Heidi and I set off for Milton Keynes in the car.  I was a little tired as we had friends from Switzerland staying over the weekend, which meant a few late nights and some socialising 🙂  it was nice to have Heidi with me for the three hour journey.  Despite being a bank holiday the traffic was fine and we got to MK and our hotel in good time.

We were staying in a hotel at MK Dons Stadium which is right where the race started and finished.  Perfect.  I don’t know MK at all and was expecting the stadium to be in the middle of nowhere, but it was surrounded by big retail outlets and loads of restaurants.  Heidi and I hit one of them for pre-race steak and chips.

In the stadium

I slept well and as the race wasn’t starting until 10am I didn’t need to get up until 7.30am for my porridge (which I brought with me).  In fact the race prep was the same as the week before… same outfit, apart from my singlet, same routine of body glide to stop chaffing and vicks vapour rub on my feet to stop blisters – this works a treat by the way and smells nice!  Hair in pigtails and sunglasses on head – keeps my hair off my face, maybe useful if the sun comes out and hey they are pink and look good.

We strolled down to the start at 9.30am.  I guess there were around 4000 people doing either the half marathon or the full marathon so it was busy but at such a big venue not crazy crowded.  I liked it.  I found my starting pen (Green pen at the back) and got in line.  Heidi stayed with me until the start to take my sweatshirt and as she was going spend the day with a friend I would see her at the end.

Cool Heidi!
Green start

It took around ten minutes to cross the line and I happily chatted to a girl next to me who was doing her first half marathon.  The HM and Marathon runners all started together which was nice as there were lots of runners my pace and it was all very jolly.

Then I started – Uh Oh…. nothing hurt but I felt tired…it was going to be a long day.  I was in good spirits though.  The weather was much better than predicted – turns out I needed my sunglasses for more than just looking good lol!   The first fews miles were through the streets of central Milton Keynes, the roads were closed and it felt like a big city marathon.  Quite a lot of support too although nothing like London obvioulsy.

Running through the parks of MK

At 7 miles the route split and the HM runners (and the pace maker I was following) went one way and the marathon runners another way…out into the country side.  The paths were much narrower and the crowds pretty much disappeared although there were still people out clapping and I felt like the support was just enough to give a boost every now and then.  There were also people just wandering along the paths with buggys or cycling past.  Like I say, very different from London but I quite liked it and have certainly experienced races like this before.


The nice thing was that it was all traffic free, all parkland and very pretty.  Milton Keynes is very nice, although not quite as flat as I’d hoped.  No major hills but lots of twists and turns and little inclines over bridges.  We ran past bubbling streams, canals, big lakes and of course the famous concrete cows – at this point I knew my time would be nothing fancy so I stopped to take a picture.

Concrete cows

From 17km to 21km I ran with a lovely guy called Richard.  He was running ten marathons over ten weeks.  We chatted about our London experience last week and all our crazy events.  He really helped keep my pace up at this point and I whizzed through half way in 2.16 – quicker than last week.  But I knew I couldn’t keep it up, I felt spent and things were starting to hurt…like my legs….and you need those!   I let Richard go and started my run/walk strategy and by strategy I mean I ran until everything hurt too much, then walked.  Then I ran until….. you get the picture.

I felt very happy though, just pleased to be out in nice surroundings in surprisingly nice weather and able to get round a 26 mile course.  I chatted with a few more people including a couple of young ladies on their third marathon in three weeks…see, there are lots of crazy people out there!!

There were also many people really struggling and pretty miserable, I heard a guy near me at twenty miles go over to a marshal “I can’t carry on, I’m stopping”  Race over.  I’m very grateful that I was in good spirits all day.  I knew I would finish and was happy to get there however I could.  Had a fabulous boost at 30km “Go Paula Green”  It was my friends Steve and Gill – hurrah!!  They had driven over from Coventry to cheer me on.  I had arranged to meet them at the end so it was a lovely surprise to see them now and it kept me going for ages.  I saw them again at 35km and by then it was not far to go.

Final 200m
Steve and Gill – great support at 30km and in the bar afterwards 🙂

As I came back to the stadium I saw Heidi and her friend Hugo – yay, more lovely support.  It seemed to take ages to get into the stadium and the finish.  Round lots of barriers, which might have been nice with cheering crowds but there weren’t any.  Then into the stadium.  There were more people here and it was a great place to finish.  Final run round the outside of the pitch and over the finish line. 5.08.24 – slower than last week but actually my second fastest marathon so pretty pleased with that.

Best T-shirt ever!

Staggered over to Heidi, a few snaps, picked up my medal and cool t-shirt and then the very short walk to my hotel and a hot shower.  After a quick shower I met up with Steve and Gill for a lovely evening of prosecco and great company.

I am not doing a marathon next week.  21 events done!