Manchester Marathon 8th April 2018
Having been rejected for the London Marathon this year I decided to tackle Manchester marathon as quite a lot of Harriers had done it and enjoyed it. Spurred on by the fact that a good for age was possible. I had to beat last years’ time by 8 minutes to do so, so training started in January.
I travelled to Manchester with our Captains Matty, Ali and Oliver and George with the usual talk of the next day’s race. We arrived at the Travelodge in Sale Manchester and decided to have a meal there rather than trek around Manchester and ordered the usual pre-race pasta and extras .
The Wells family arrived just as we had ordered with Rob stating he was ditching the usual pre-race format and was going to get stuck into the Guinness with Matty helping things along. Ali and I stuck to the no alcohol before a race policy and watched as the two of them had 1 then 2 then another…. Tomorrow would be interesting.
At some point Matty asked me if I was going for a time and I confessed I was hoping to beat 3 hours 20 (GFA) and my plan was to run with the 3.15 pacer for as long as I could then hope I had enough in the last few miles to get there. Whilst my training had gone well and I had covered some miles particularly early in the year but I hadn’t put in as many long runs as last year.
The only major long run was our 20 mile put back a week and which I went too quick in the middle of and suffered from 16 miles onwards although with a better time than last year. There was also the little matter of the Winter League which I was leading going into the last race at Paull the Thursday before the marathon and the Champagne League the Tuesday before that . I decided to have a steady run on the Tuesday but go for it on the Thursday and try and win the Winter League in our 125th Anniversary Year. I ran as hard as I could but it was not enough so congratulations to Martin Hardey on winning, it was a great winter league series this year.
Back to Manchester Marathon and we set off to the car park at the Theatre of Dreams only to be directed to the wrong car park by some Mancunian chancers. We ended up at the right car park just in time to get nearly the last parking spot and off we went to the start via the usual toilet stop(s) on the way.
We met up with fellow Harriers Andrew Deyes , Rob Wells , Steve Tichopad Debbie Jacketts , Rachel Olsen and the support crews and had our photo taken in front of the giant Asics shoe . Other Harriers then turned up Graeme Smith, Adrian Kamis , Guy Gibson , Steve Taylor , and James Pearson . We knew there were other Harriers running too.
Approaching start time we decided to go to our starting pens, mine was D but I couldn’t see the 3.15 pacer so I moved up and saw him in pen B so I waited there some 100 yards behind.
0900hrs and we’re off, a slow start and when I eventually crossed the line the pacer was even further in front. Sit tight I thought, field will start to spread out the further we go. I managed to catch the pacer approaching 3 miles so then sat in with the group and see what would happen. The miles ticked away and my first marker was 10 miles, so far so good to this point. Approaching 12 miles I started to see the leaders on their way back who were setting a good pace, a bit further on I saw Paul Teece, Andrew Deyes and Adrian Kamis all looking strong , keep going I thought.
I eased back into the group and concentrated on the next marker for me 16 miles where I started to feel it on the 20. Still feeling good and taking on the water and gels so on to the next marker 20 miles . Graeme Smith was a constant 100 yards in front all this time so he was going well also.
20 miles in and just starting to feel it so now is the time the real race starts when your legs start to ache and your body is telling you it doesn’t want to be there but ignore that and keep going.
At 21 miles the pacer starts to pull away slightly so head down and concentrate on keeping the pace up , 22 then 23 still going but hurting and the usual cries of ‘You’re nearly there’ not really helping as I know better than that. Pacer further ahead but I cannot see Graeme so he’s having a real good go, good on him.
As I do not wear a watch for racing I had no real idea of the time so at 25 miles asked some spectators the time only to be given a look of disbelief … a runner who doesn’t know the time and he’s from East Hull as well! (My thoughts not their comments mind)
Fortunately a little bit later after I asked again and I was told I was on for 3.15 / 3.20…..3.20 have to beat that so dig in and keep going and hope I can get there . Turn the last corner down to the finish and I can see in the distance 3.16…. come on make sure you don’t mess up in the last bit .Head down and with everything aching I crossed the line in 3.17… job done.
I struggled to walk to pick up my medal and bag and it was a long a walk around the cricket ground back to the finish area to meet up with the others where I was told me my actual time was 3.15.29 which really shocked me.
A great flat route which obviously helps with the time as did the weather on the day, cool, no wind and no rain! , good support all the way round. A race I would recommend.
A big thanks to all the Harriers support crews you really do help and big congratulations to all Harriers who started and finished especially Steve Bateson finishing in 4th place , 2nd GBR athlete in brilliant time of 2.26.45