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Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Maidenhead Half Marathon 2011

The Maidenhead Half Marathon  2011

The Gallery for the inaugural Pharmalink 2011 Maidenhead Half Marathon is now live and online here ready for you to browse and buy:

Those rocks of timing were there to keep measure of the days events and the results are over on sport systems here:

Full event information is on the Purple Patch website here:

Almost 20,000 images made it onto the gallery from Sundays race, with 1650 runners zooming their way around one of the flattest half marathons in the country. Usually with an hour to go before a race the crowd have hardly started to congregate, but the anticipation was clearly growing as it seemed everyone had turned up half an hour earlier than the usual 45 minutes to go. Clearly Claire and Chris from Purple Patch had managed to get a good vibe going and the weather at the start had dried out and was looking good for the race.

Off with a Bang - the start of the first Maidenhead Half Marathon

Mr Bananaman with his friends on the front

So what were those prevailing circumstances ? Well it started off nice enough, no breeze, a big muggy, but shorts and tshirt wasn't too cold, a slight bit of mizzle and then looking like it was getting brighter in the sky. The Met office rain radar showed the massive thunderstorm scheduled for the morning had missed to the east and gone north over kent and east anglia into the north sea - phew !  But it was not to be... out over the Isle of Wight another storm was blowing in from the south.

The First Maidenhead AC runner - in front of the logo Bridge
Spot on time at 9:30 they set off to an almighty Bang from a start cannon, and under the purple arch they went. A few hiccups after the start where the first lap caught a few out and a few fast ones caught a few up, but it all seemed to sort itself out in the end - I'm sure it will get sorted out for next time. Two early leaders from the pack held the front all the way round, and like many supporters we went down to the bridge and river to see how they were getting on at the 6mile ~10k mark.

Race gels can have a certain effect

Reverse Delta wing airplane at 6miles, with good smiling and thumbs loaded

By my watch they went through at about 37minutes, about 2 minutes slower than I had anticipated, but with hindsight if it's the first time you've been able to run a course I wouldn't be doing the first 10k faster than necessary - just in case there was a bit of a hill waiting for me later.
At 10:25 we had to leave there and get back to the finish, with a few bemused runners wondering why we wern't taking their photo as we left - I didn't tell them we had 10 minutes before the first finisher - that can always be a bit of a downer when you're only half way round !

At this point it was still dry, the course was lined with crowds almost all the way where we had seen, the road closures had gone according to plan (some 30 seconds before the lead runners had come through) and as we walked up to the finish gantry the first two came down the high street to do the final lap.
Charles Coleman kicks like Mo at the end

Charles Coleman won in 1:12:02 (age grading 85.54) and Samantha Amend in 1:19:39 (age grading of 82.59) both good times in the prevailing circumstances, and notably leaving themselves with space to take a record next year... both of them having slightly faster PBs in their pockets. (you can check these on the official national records here  just search for the athlete by name.) But strictly speaking everyone got a course PB because it is a new course - so well done !!

Samantha Amend chased in the last yards for a great course PB

And then after a few more minutes it started to rain. Quite a lot.
Happy and wet at the finish

Out at the 11 mile mark, carrying his wings, Buzz lightyear kept going

Good to see my local team doing well

Genuine surprise as he looked at his fast finishing time

Mrs Incredible did an incredible job

The rain did get heavier but everyone battled on stoically

awesome achievements all round

Blowing a kiss, french style

Y-MCA let me hear you sing...

I've always been an advocate of taking care for wet weather and making sure you are fully protected from the elements so it was with a sense of mild annoyance that I sat in my chair getting soaked sitting in a puddle reminding myself that I had picked up - and then put down - my waterproof trousers and warm boots.
Afterwards I was cruely pleased to hear from all the other photographers that were out on Sunday that they too had made the same fated decisions at their car at the outset and every one of us had sat in a puddle wondering why we had been caught out, and slowly starting to shiver.
She was clapping the PA, not doing the pamplona bull run
On the bright side, the rain was from the south, so was actually - quite warm as rain goes. Ten points to the chap on the PA who was stood wearing a tshirt and jeans the whole time and nobody got him a jacket or coat (or towel which he asked for several times) and he kept the crowd engaged, clapping and cheering for the finishers as they came in all the way to the end.

As the rain came down there were increasingly awesome finishes achieved - with fancy dress costumes getting wetter and heavier it didn't seem to effect people too much.
Someone was in trouble...

Very well done to Claire and Chris and all the crew from Purple Patch for taking on and putting on such a succesful new race in a very busy town centre. Hopefully it will become a solid part of the race calendar in years to come.

If you are interested in other Purple Patch races including a few 10k and half marathons - then just go to their website here to find out more

The race gallery is ready here for your orders and memories of an awesome day out, and your first Maidenhead Half Marathon - which means you all got a Personal Best - so well done !

until next time

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