Rachel Thomas’ Maidenhead HM review

Rachel (Pictured above at the recent Forest 5 series) ran the Maidenhead Half Marathon  at the weekend, here is her review of her race…..


I decided against doing another marathon this year and selected to do a couple of halves in an attempt to keep my endurance ticking over. Maidenhead Half was first on the hit list, I did it last year and it was a fast, flat 2 lap course with PB potential, the toilet and bag drop was also quick, a major draw for me considering I am always late and have in the past missed starts!


Despite my toddler being struck down with the lurgie and a sore throat brewing (getting the excuses in early) I dosed myself up on Nurofen I made it to the start line with ample time. The efficient bag drop ensured a ten minute warm up potter around Maidenhead town centre to mull over the race plan and familiarise myself with the start of the course, noting it was rather twisty. Having got a marginal 5km track PB a few weeks previous I knew that a potential PB was a possibility and the advice from Coach Hobbs was to ease myself into the first few miles, steady to half way then ‘drop the hammer’ for the last 5km.


The winding start made it tricky to settle into the prescribed 6.33 pace and I was slower than I would have liked (perhaps overthinking not going off too fast). However, I soon settled into a consistent rhythm as the course headed out onto a rather scenic flat road along the Thames towards Cookham. I clocked a few other female runners strewn out in front and I began to concentrate on reeling them in to keep my mind focused and distract from the inevitable fatigue.


By the second lap, the legs were tiring and some deceptive undulations and blusters of wind meant I had to remind myself of some recent hard Josh Griffiths sessions I had done to affirm that I could in fact do this and I managed to pick up the pace. This was short lived and by miles 11 and 12 I could feel the pace along with my hammer and the girl in front slipping away. It was a real effort to keep the legs moving – the pedestrian underpass in the final mile with its tight turns did little to help.


I could hear a runner behind and decided to try and tag behind them, to see if I could salvage anything, this was helped by the encouraging cheers of ‘finish strong’ from Coach Hobbs. I stumbled across the line unsure if I even had a PB. A quick check of power of ten after confirmed a marginal 11-second PB and a top ten finish, my legs aching but my sore throat miraculously cured.


It was not quite as swift as would have liked but will interesting to see if I can improve on this at the Royal Parks Half next month. If my memory serves me correctly, it has a downhill finish though the baggage drop was an absolute nightmare, so must make sure I leave early to avoid missing the start!

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