24 October 2019

Event review: Pharmalink Maidenhead Half Marathon

September 25, 2012

I moved to Maidenhead a few years ago so taking part in this half marathon was ideal, as the start line is only five minutes from my house! I am also training for the Liverpool Marathon so getting to the half way mark in a race environment was important with only five weeks left until that race.

The Pharmalink Maidenhead Half Marathon only started last year and is now running as an annual running race. Henley, Marlow, Reading and Windsor are all local and established half marathons in Berkshire so it will be interesting to see how this progresses and hopefully grows.

This half marathon offers an unusual feature in that participants keep their race number for life. A charity auction allows people to bid for numbers and all proceeds go to a local charity called The Link Foundation. I thought this was great and it really added to the community feel of the race. This year also saw Sophie Christiansen, triple Paralympic gold medallist, start the race.

The course

The course starts off in the town centre outside the town hall. It follows through the main high street, down along Boulters Lock and into Cookham. You repeat this as a loop and finish off in the town centre at the same point we started.

The course has changed from last year when it ran through Bray, and I heard that this year’s route was a bit more scenic from those that ran last year. It also meant it was a single lap route. There is something psychological about having to run loops which doesn’t work in my favour!

The race itself went well for me. The conditions were great and not as sunny as they predicted and I managed to shave seven minutes off my last half marathon, so a PB for me. As the race was so local, it was nice to see lots of friends and family along the course cheering me on. The route has the advantage of being spectator friendly.

Would I run it again?

Yes, seeing as the course is local I would be lazy not to! However it is not the most interesting of courses so convenience would play a major role in my decision.

Good points

  • A flat course ideal for beginners and also the more experienced runner to achieve a PB.
  • It was nice for many to run through your hometown and see many of their friends and family along the course. Most races are too far to get support so I am sure it was a boost for most local runners.
  • Not too many people entering at the moment, so lines not as long as other races I have been to for baggage and toilets.

Bad points

  • Only water was provided at drink stations, no energy drinks or gels, which personally I think should be offered at this distance.
  • Also the water was provided in cups which was really hard to drink while running – bottles are easier to manage.
  • Less than a mile in and feeling quite warmed up we approached a subway which was part of the route. However about 2000 people were trying to get down the subway so we had to stop and wait till the queue went down and walk across the other side. This was quite frustrating as this took around two minutes and meant we had to warm up again and also had lost this time in the race.
  • No goody bag! Only a cup of water and banana at the end.

Sheena Sidhu, Sportsister
The Women’s Sports Magazine

Note: Sportsister has been advised that runners also received a medal at the finish and that the subway problem mentioned above will be rectified next year as the organisers have spoken to the council who have agreed to remove the barriers in the subway for all future races.

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