Dirt Half Marathon – Leighton Buzzard

After last week I was determined to do better in this half marathon. I had made sure I had worked out Monday, Tuesday, Wendesday and Thursday leaving Friday as a rest day before the race. I knew there was a big hill in this race but once you’re up a hill it’s easy running downhill too. Bring it on!

The morning was gloriously sunny but very chilly. Knowing how the town centre can get on Saturdays I’d decided to walk from Vandyke Road to Tiddenfoot, 2 miles, no problem. I got there nice and early and spotted a couple LBAC members. Leighton Fun Runners were out in force again too. A quick change into my running shoes and tucking away my lovely warm hoody I headed out to the start.

The path was damp and I knew at some point I was going to get utterly muddy. I just didn’t know when! The start took us around Tiddenfoot Lake, a nice quick gentle uphill to get you warmed up and spread out before we all got to the tow path along the Grand Union Canal. We stayed on this lovely flat non muddy path past the The Globe and past the Three Locks until we got to the bridge at the end of Bragenham Side road. I knew the “HILL” was coming up and I was not looking forward to it. The hill starts gently at first but it get more difficult the closer you get to Great Brickhill and Stoke Lane. At this point my legs were starting to turn to jelly after the long easy bit along the canal. Oh the relief at the top when it was time to head down Cuff Lane. A nice long jog downhill before heading into Oakwood and the woodland trail. Tricky downhill bits with tree roots ready to catch my foot, big muddy patches to slow me down and make sure my trainers looked like I’d worked on this run. I’d lost all track of time in the woods – concentrating on staying upright! I reached Linslade Road feeling good that I’d survived the root obstacle to then follow the trail in the woods on the other side of the road. Hidden roots under leaf litter. Much more fun! The trail then headed out over a farm field, I saw the two wooden bridges in the distance and realised that this was the muddy part of the course. My feet were hot, the water and mud were cool. After 200 runners the field was slippy and the mud looked like the type of mud you get at a spa. There was no avoiding it so I went for it. Straight through the middle of it all and up to my knees. No loss of trainer thankfully and at the final wooden bridge I decided to jump in like a big kid into the last of the mud. Then it was back along the canal, past Tesco’s and up to Tiddenfoot Lake to the finish. Last weekend I felt like a wreck near the end of the race. This week I had been on my cross trainer every day making sure my lungs and legs were going to work when I needed them. It worked. I got to the lake and gently started to increase my pace. Overtaking quite a few people I’d been following for the majority of the race. Finishing with a time of 2 hours 25 minutes. Not my best time but an improvement on last weekend.

Just to make the ending more gruelling. I had a 2 mile walk home. Dang. Thankfully I’d packed a change of socks and shoes, I got my lovely warm cosy hoodie back on and decided to walk/jog home. Yes, after 13.1 miles I willingly jogged some more. I must be getting used to the half marathon distance. Time to increase the mileage me thinks.

How did everyone else from Leighton Buzzard get on? Well done guys n gals

Leighton Buzzard Athletics Club
Gary Stratford 1:35
Helen Crossland 2:25

Leighton Fun Runners
Neil Warby 1:34
Jim Buttleman 1:38
Gordon Hill 2:03
Angela Kerr 2:06
Paul Thomas 2:09
Deena Bland 2:12
Phil Harpin 2:15
Pete Bolton 2:16

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