The third running of this scenic, single lap, traffic free 13.1 miles. This is a fantastic anti-clockwise route around the unique city of Milton Keynes, along the Grand Union Canal and through the City's parks.
Who knew Milton Keynes was this beautiful?. Not me, at least! This race follows the redways and canals of MK, which gets you out of the city itself and on to some surprisingly beautiful routes. The surface is wonderfully runnable, no turning ankles on large stones, and it stayed sound and drained underfoot even after a lot of rain beforehand. I was able to choose to have my bib posted out, which I prefer to queueing, and the organisers were clear about parking options. The ‘no headphones’ rule is actually enforced at this race, which is unusual, they mentioned DQing people in autumn. The race has a fair-sized main village, portaloos, and starts in four waves.
The route is circular and has fixed bollards which you are well alerted to, and seven road crossings, all with great marshals. Most of the climbs are small, over bridges, with one longer one at mile 9, and a lovely downhill about mile 10. There were water stations which I didn’t use as I carry my own, but I would have liked to see a lot more portaloos out along the course. They did say there were two ‘emergency loos’ but I didn’t see any actual loos positioned? Support isn’t as numerous as other city races, you just pass small pockets of people, and there is a good vibe at the back, with runners supporting each other and generally showing good race manners (aside from two fairly big blokes who ran/walked it, absorbed in chit chat, and insistent on being side by side at all times, even when the path was narrow. Guys, you don’t take up the whole route, especially if you’re walking. Gah!) Anyway, most of the runners were lovely, a good spread of ages, men/women and abilities. A great finish chute lead to a lovely, wintry medal and a good-sized (ie, not tiny) finishers t shirt, which was long sleeved, so I can wear it all winter! If I’m still in England I will do this race again next year and I do recommend it to others. A great way to end the year, friendly and fun, a lovely course, good bling and t shirt. I would just add more loos on the course and perhaps make it more festive by bigging up the xmas angle, maybe encourage fancy dress? Well done MK, a great advert for how lovely a place this actually is!