It was due to be a wet day from the forecast, so I was prepared to be soaked as I took to my tenth British Marathon course. Training had been Ok until three weeks before the race when I lost several days training due to a virus. So much so I nearly withdrew. However, stubborn as I am I headed over to Manchester to line up for marathon 33.
Support was in the shape of sister, Ange and brother in law, Paul along with friend, Ali, who cycled the West to East route with myself and Chris Britton in 2012. Ali had cooked a fabulous meal the night before so I was as prepared as I could hope to be . The race started from outside Old Trafford stadium - to the delight of my Man Utd fan of a brother in law. I sported my sport relief head band and T-shirt ready for the 9am off.
Greater Manchester Marathon
The race started fine, passing team Lucas at the planned points by the start, mile 1.5 and 4 miles. I had a good pace and felt ok. The rain had held off thus far too so everything was going well. We headed off down the A56 towards Altrincham and I was doing a good pace for the first 8 miles, chatted to another guy who was also gonna run the London Marathon a week later and as I went through mile 9 saw Ange, Paul and Ali as I turned into the section where we ran out and back on the same part of the course. This was where I started to lose a bit of pace. I am never motivated by the idea of repeating a route either!
The support was good and I headed round and through the half way stage in around 1 hour 42 mins, but felt energy beginning to lack. I continued to run most of this section, albeit with a ever slowing pace and spotted the support team as I went through mile 16. Whilst I was still on a reasonably average pace of around 8:15 mins a mile I knew it was not gonna get better and had spells of short walks with slow jogs for the remainder of the course. Even when I felt a bit more motivated in the last few miles, my ongoing injury problem (now diagnosed as a sciatic issue in my upper right quad/glut etc) was not allowing me to run comfortably. Even seeing a fellow Canary fan (Norwich City football club for those wondering what that is!) wasn't enough to boast me for the final mile back towards Old Trafford.
Ali, Ange and Paul were just before mile 26 as I pushed for the final 400 metres to the finish on Sir Matt Busby Way in the shadow of Old Trafford stadium (I am sure this adds to the torture if you're a Manchester City fan!). I finished in 4:05:55 and according to my Garmin had only run 26.1 miles! Nevertheless, I had finished my 33rd marathon and a step closer to the 40th. Massive thanks to Ange, Paul and Ali for their support along the route and to friend, Lisa Holland, who was working with Red Cross on First Aid at the event - sadly I didn't catch her at the finish - but I didn't need treating!!
With Ange & Paul before the start
To the right - Another finishers medal!
Lucas comes through just after mile 4 near Old Trafford Stadium
With Paul, Ange and Ali after the finish
Ali & Ange take time for a bacon buttie while Paul is behind camera with two!