Sometimes you run to win, sometimes you run for the pleasure of it, and sometimes you run because you can. After last year’s fiasco when I spent too many months on sticks, I never take the fact that I can run for granted.
So when the Mill Hill Marathon 2017 popped up on my Facebook days before the event, I thought, what the heck? Let’s just sign up and see. After all, I’m not that much out of shape and my training plan has been taking shape over the last few weeks. And surprisingly, it’s not all about running. There are the Studio Lagree classes, Mountain Training with the North Face and numerous other TRX, Ballet Barre and Spin sessions. The Mill Hill Marathon 2017 may be a challenge but I’m more than up for it. (The race also starts and finishes a few miles from my home so it would be rude not to.)
Back to the start
As mentioned above, this small but perfectly organised race starts at the Mill Hill Cricket Club, which happens to be on the edge of the greenbelt. It’s a low-key affair. No tannoy systems or music blaring away. No massive queues for the loos or feeling stressed that you have to dump your bag at the left baggage and then literally sprint to the start line because you got lost on your bike on the way and ended up lapping the Tesco Extra carpark multiple times. You arrive, get briefed by Anna, the organiser, and then head outside for the four hilly laps around some of the prettiest parts of North London.
A race with purpose
Anna donates all race entries and holds a raffle to raise money each year for the North London Hospice. And this year’s race was in memory of Anna’s friend Clare Lane and as a gesture, we were all asked to don something pink.
A well-marked course
The course was different from the inaugural race back in 2015 but still just as enjoyable. Around 70% of it was a river of mud that knocked the stuffing out of you a bit. With plenty of hills, the 4-laps are challenging but it’s more fun. You do share the route with pedestrians, ramblers and dog walkers but that’s not a problem at all. I did get lost on the first lap and missed a turning but that was more down to me being too engrossed in the Archers omnibus than the lack of directions.
Plenty of sustenance
There’s a snack stop halfway around the course and at the start/finish where you can find all sorts of crisps, cola, water and cake plus friendly volunteers. Just what you need when you’re flagging a little.
A fantastic medal
This year’s bling featured a rotating pink flower.
And a surprising result
Surprisingly enough, I came in as 1st lady. It was worth getting up for.
Then there’s the washing
Where there’s an upside, there’s also a downside…Yep, washing away the mud.