Manchester Marathon 2019 – Rob Weekes
This year’s Manchester marathon was my second, it’s a great option for northern-based runners to get a quick time without the logistics of London. My only concern was that it’s easy to get isolated in the latter stages at the sharp end of the race as it doesn’t have the depth of London although this year was much better than last.
There’s a great atmosphere all around the course and this race has grown into the 5th largest in Europe according to the announcement at the beginning, which is great if you want the big race experience without the travel expense. There was a good harrier representation this year and I think 8 men broke 3 hours which is testament to mad Tuesday training with the squad and anyone who aspires to run that sort of time would totally benefit from coming out with the faster lads even if you only hang on for a few miles at first, eventually you’ll crack it.
The weather was perfect, just a slight breeze at the end, but nothing major, I really think that’s the worst thing about running, the unpredictability of the weather after a long winter training for a PB all it takes is a bit of wind or hot temperatures and it isn’t happening. Luckily we scored here. We had high expectations for the team prize following on from our second place last year but unfortunately for us both Sale Harriers and Bournemouth put out very good teams and we had to settle for third place, with Matty, Mike and myself making up the team. Disappointing but I think that reflects how strong we are as a team in this distance that we now expect to be right up there in big marathons! The race itself went almost perfectly to plan for me, very even pacing splitting 73:08-74:02, only slowing slightly the last 4 miles to average 5:37 pace for the distance which I would have snapped your hand off for had you offered me before the race, although I know there’s room for improvement.
The race is well supported almost all the way around, only a few small patches of crowd-free areas which I think really reflects how good this marathon is becoming, genuinely evolving into a “big city” marathon without the madness often deep screaming people like parts of London. The winner was well clear of the rest of the field, clocking a very good 2:21:30, over 4 and a half minutes clear of second place, then 63 seconds separated second and tenth places, with 17 men breaking 2:30. Marathon running in the UK is not where it was 30 years ago but there’s definitely an upward curve going at the moment and I believe in the next 5 years we will see a lot more men running very good times at the distance.
Well done to everybody who ran, plenty of PBs and some great runs, altogether an excellent day out!
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