Maldon Half review by Julian Tapp
The Maldon Half Marathon was my second “Half”, and took place on Sunday 25th September. I decided to enter to keep up the momentum following the Southend Half Marathon, and to ensure that I kept running and did not return to my old ways as a couch potato. I had been warned by my fellow flyers that the course was quite hilly, so I had tried to prepare with the Wednesday Hill sessions as well as a few of my own on Lifstan Way.
It is only the second year of this particular event, and it was on the same day as the Flyers Monopoly Run, which meant there were fewee Flyers taking part than usual for a local event, only a handful of us brave Flyers took part. I say brave, because rather like Keith’s description of a LSR in Benfleet as “mildly undulating”, this was in fact very hilly! Others Flyers in attendance included Deborah Rehling Garner, Sarah Harris, and their other halves, as well as Lisa Bolton. Apologies if I missed anybody.
There were 500 places for the race, but I think less than that actually ran, and it was still possible to enter on the day.
The event was well organised, with plenty of parking either in the school itself, or in local car parks, and as it was Sunday, the cost was only £1 for the day!! I collected my race pack including number, timing chip etc from the sports hall. I spent the first 20 minutes trying to put my number on straight (for some reason this always causes me problems) with my trusty Flyers Race Clips, and I then attended the briefing. This was fairly standard, but in particular they pointed out that some sections of the course are on roads without pavements, and not all roads are closed, which meant that we needed to keep our wits about us!
The event started at Plume school, and then the route ran through and out of Maldon, and down many country lanes around the local area, taking in some interesting villages including Langford, Ulting and Woodham Walter, before returning to Maldon.
Did I mention the hills?? Well once we got out of Maldon; it seemed that the route was a continual series of very long slow inclines followed by downhill sections that seemed much shorter! Thank god for all those Wednesday sessions, to prepare, as in my opinion this was hard. Luckily the weather was kind to us, it was cool and there was a breeze. The whole race was so different from Southend, which was flat, with an enormous amount of support from fellow flyers, other runners and the public. While all of the Maldon spectators were great, there were far fewer of them (particularly outside of Maldon), and as I ran most of the race on my own, the race was far tougher although still good. Luckily there were Jelly Babies being given out on route that kept me going!
The final 3-4 miles seemed the hilliest with the final section of the race being the toughest, as the route began to re-enter Maldon. The final hill, the longest and steepest (in my opinion) arrived just a mile or so from the end and seemed to go on forever. Thankfully, just as I reached the top and was about to take a short walk to recover, another runner told me not to stop as the rest of the race was flat. This pushed me on to finish the remaining mile or so and my time was a PB of 2:08.
The post-race pack included the obligatory medal, and a T Shirt.
Overall I enjoyed the race. I would recommend the Maldon Half for those looking to challenge themselves, it was well organised, friendly, and picturesque. Just be prepared for the hills!!