Marathon #2- done and dusted. Mill Hill Marathon review

Monday, March 7, 2016

Before we knew what was coming.
 Photo by Owen Fern
My second marathon ended up being nearly six hours of running up and down hills, through smelly ankle deep mud, and around neighbourhoods in Totterirdge and Barnet.  Trust me, I earned that medal!

I took a taxi to the start line, which gave me an hour to get organized.  My co-worker, Lucy had signed up with me and we have been training together on our lunch breaks.  I gave Lucy a gel before the race and packed 4 in my Fleetfoot 3 Max waist bag, along with my phone.  I sipper my The Protein Works iSurge  as pre- drink while I waited and just before we headed out the door, my Energy Bits.  I tried the iSurge once before but at a more diluted concentration.  I was worried it would be raise my heartbeat but I didn't feel out of control (if that makes sense) at the recommended concentration. Overall, I averaged 1-2 gels per lap with Haribos and squash at check points.   Somehow, we didn't warm up properly as we were worried about what to wear and how challenging the course would be.

Here is a very brief recap of the race:
Lap 1- Sunshine, laughter, and a quick realization that this was going to be a tough race.  Hill climb within first 10 minutes on a small gravel path.

Ready, set, go! Photo by Owen Fern
Lap 2- My friend, Pattie, who lived locally, came and kept us company. We discussed running the Loch Ness Marathon for 2017. Unfortunately, Pattie could not be convinced to join us for lap 3

Lap 3- Lucy's calves started hurting her and she got a stitch, so we slowed down. My left piriformis and hamstrings were starting to play up a bit too so I didn't mind.  It was a dark place mentally but we got out on the other side.  James, his brother, and his brother's girlfriend were at the check point with more gels and Lucozade.  I didn't plan very well and we needed some electrolyte replacement.

Lap 4- The last one brought us to a happy place mentally but Lucy still struggled with her calves.  We met a stallion meters from the finish line who was checking out his new neighbourhood.  Rather than a sprint finish, I had to stop to say hello so as to not spook him. Lucy did the same but then his trainer got a bit chatty.  But we both finished in under 6 hours.

In the end, we endured. Probably one of the hardest races I will ever do, and it was lonely too.  With only about 70 runners, we quickly spread out.  The route was a lap without any hairpin turns to see oncoming runners.  There were various signs marking the trail, but I got distracted by dogs twice and would have gotten lost if I was on my own.  Luckily, Lucy was paying attention. We did get lost once while chatting with Pattie, which lead to a short detour in a residential area.  This probably added a half mile to the 26.6 mile course.  At one point , I was so delusional I considered aiming for 30 miles so I could call myself an ultra runner but I quickly came to my senses.

Thanks to my friends for braving the hail, snow, and rain to watch me run by once or twice: Jamie, Miranda, Matt, Pattie (she came back after a hot shower), James, Michael and Lee.  The group of runners and organizer's were smiling and friendly the entire day.  This community spirit was fantastic.  If they re-route the race to be flat next year, I might consider signing up.  If you like trail running, I would definitely recommend this race.  The first finisher crossed the finish line in 3:29 so it is not for the faint-hearted.

I was back to work the next day and am still struggling on stairs 2 days later.  I have 2 spinning sessions his week and will volunteer at Park Run on Saturday.  I will try to get a longer run on Sunday as the North London Half is not far off and I haven't run much because of my cold (which still lingers).  No rest for the weary.

Note, this isn't even the worst bit
A video posted by Mollie millington (@ptmollie) on


  1. Well done Mollie!! Sounds like a pretty crazy course! lol x

    1. Thanks Elle. It was rough going! Looking forward to Berlin- flat and dry!


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