At the end of 2016, I set myself a New Year’s resolution to achieve a medal a month, which I completed. At the end of 2017, I decided I needed a similar target to keep me motivated, however something that was a bit more challenging. I came up with race a half marathon a month, in the hope it would get more enjoyable, easier, and I would get faster.
Magna Carta was to be my half for April, I have to say I was looking forward to it, I come from Egham and I had spent many a childhood summer there with my family.
The morning of the event all went smoothly, moderate cloudy dry weather was forecast, I was happy with that.
There were lots of positives that made the start of the race a breeze. Lots of parking, super close to the race start and finish, although wasn’t cheap at £6 for the day!!!
Toilets both by the cafe next to the car park and by the HQ, neither you had to queue for! Big bonus for even having a mini toddler toilet too! It was next to a big playground and cafe so plenty for my mini cheer squad to keep themselves entertained while I raced.
As I waited outside HQ, by the start line, both myself and my husband commented about all the people warming up, as there were lots of runners going up and down the towpath. I was then warmly greeted by Lauren another SJ who was also running and in talking about the route, she informed me it was kind of laps. I then twigged that the people I thought were doing the vigorous warm up were actually doing the marathon going up and down the towpath.
The event was near starting and we took our places, I was slightly nervous as I picked up a knee injury two weeks prior so told Lauren I would just start slow and hold back to take the pressure off. The race started well, it was a run from Egham towards Staines, and then back to the HQ with a cone and a marshal in Staines to indicate the turnaround point. As you reached the HQ you then ran back over the start line and off in the other direction towards Old Windsor.
My family were there cheering me on offering my their crisps as I passed, (although I politely declined as I had just started slimming world that week). The route to Windsor was partly grass for the first mile and then muddy path followed by a road detour as a result of too much mud. The road to Windsor you had to repeat twice!
The weather was really starting to heat up, it was cool on the way to Staines however I felt as I was running closer and closer to Windsor it was getting really HOT! I could feel myself getting quite red in the face, and with wearing a base layer under my SJ vest, I thought the only way to carry on, was the base layer had to go. So while still running along a thin path, I managed to shimmy my base layer from under my vest without revealing too much skin to the other runners, I have to say I think this was one of my bigger achievements of the day. I felt better and cooler, and shortly I was at the refreshments stand at the turn around point back to Egham.
I was met by a very welcome face, Sharon another SJ who was marshalling. The refreshments available were very good, cut bananas, protein bars, water, juice, tailwind I loaded up and set off back on the way I came. Even though you did feel like deja vu going back the way you came, the good thing was you would cross paths with the same people running either the half or marathon in the opposite direction. Myself and Lauren passed each time we would give each other a little cheer of encouragement.
I found the end of the race enduring, I remembered (again) I don’t like long trail races, they are a lot harder on your body, especially when it’s hot! I was very glad I finished and without an issue to my knee. As I mentioned there were a lot of positives to this race and I really liked logistically how everything was easy and refreshments well supplied, even the medal was really nice with it looking like the Magna Carta but would I run it again…. No