Report – Brian Boyle
16 weeks training plan seemed to have been too long, I’d been ready for a month!
But on Sunday we found ourselves on the dual carriageway between the two Old Traffords (Cricket & Football).
I was aiming to PB (spoiler: I got it).
From the start I was behind the 3:30 pacer but after a couple of miles the swarm of other runners surrounding him was just too annoying so I latched onto Chorlton runners, who have the reverse colours of the mighty Stratford.
All went well until Altrincham at 16 miles, the town centre was a sharp incline through twisty paths and my legs weren’t up to the job, I had been running at 3:22 pace, so serves me right for getting carried away.
The last 8 miles were a battle and as you take the last turn, the 800m final straight seems like 8,000m.
As I crossed the line the realisation that I’d taken 29 seconds off my best was a huge surprise, I thought I’d lost too much time. 3h 35: 04.
It is a quick course but has a surprise waiting for first timers to the course.
Report – Pip Bell
I have always been in awe of anyone who has run a marathon. I really never thought that I would actually ever run one but last Sunday I did just that in the amazing city of Manchester.
After a long winter of training in all kinds of weather and overcoming 2 illnesses in March that made me taper far too early, I found myself on the start line.
What an event! The crowds were fantastic and they helped me smile pretty much all the way round. The weather was perfect and whilst I was running I tried to remember the advice that so many people had given me.
Don’t go out too fast
Trust in your training.
Smile and enjoy it!!!
I did all of those things and I can honestly say that I enjoyed almost every mile (22-24 miles were tough!).
In my wildest dreams I had hoped I would be able to finish in 4.30 but I finished in 4:23.09 and I am literally still buzzing and smiling from it all.
I know that I could not have done that without the amazing support of my SAC friends. It has literally taken a village to get me to the finish line in that time. They know who they are and I am forever grateful for their fantastic support.
So, if you are contemplating running your first marathon, just do it!! I was inspired by Jan Turner’s story and maybe, just maybe, I can inspire someone else…….
I can finally say that I am a Marathon Runner!!!!!
Report – Ginny Davis
The human body is not designed to run a marathon… No, but some human minds are suckers for a challenge and mine is one of them.
So, having completed the Warwick Half in February I told a friend that I couldn’t have run another step. Casually she told me that I could if I decided to. That was the trigger and I gave 24k a try next time out and did it.
She’s right, I thought. Nothing should stop me being able to run a marathon, I thought. I also thought that since my mum and husband were both a bit poorly, it might be nice to go for a long run from time to time.
In some ways I was right that running marathon is possible but quite a lot of things got in the way. Fuel, distance and mental resolve being the main contenders.
Anyway, it was chilly in Manchester on 16th April and there was a long wait for the start but off we went in a puff of gun smoke and the first 30k were reasonable enough.
I followed David Jones’s advice not to weave and tried to keep my pace slow. The city centre was definitely the best section: massive crowds and everyone was cheering. Then out of town to Altrincham via Sale and Timperley.
It was interesting to watch other runners since I’m a lonely long distancer by nature. I listened to music in the quiet sections and to the crowds when they were there.
It was fun to see the silver band, an adorably huge troupe of tiny children and funny placards cropping up again as their holders trammed their way along the course. “Don’t go there, it’s a trap” made me smile.
It was also wonderful to see my family. It was surprising to see a girl from my village dressed as a fairy or a zebra or something.
I’d listened to a couple of really helpful motivational audiobooks in training. “How to Run a Marathon” by Vassos Alexander and “It Can’t Hurt Me” by David Goggins. The latter helped particularly when it got tough, which it did at 30k. By then I couldn’t face another gel. I tried some snacks and sweets from an onlooker but neither a pretzel nor a strawberry string was enough to get me much further.
So I plodded on, getting slower and slower. Goggins advises runners to draw on previous successes when the going gets tough. I couldn’t bring any to mind but the hill in Altrincham was hard. Most walked it. I ran and was helped by somehow finding the funny side of trotting up a hill.
Running to the top was the success I drew on later – telling myself that there’d have been no point doing that if I was going to give up and that this was my one and only chance to do a marathon with no regrets. So I carried on. The 4:30 pacer overtook me. I tried to keep up but couldn’t.
Around 24m there were some sad sights – a girl wrapped in blankets sitting on the kerb, a man throwing up but also a man urging his teammate on, fantastically well.
The last mile felt interminable. People kept telling us we were nearly there, but it wasn’t near enough and when we rounded the final bend the finish line was on the horizon.
I badly wanted to stop but there were so many onlookers it didn’t feel appropriate.
So I crossed the line. A man with a microphone asked how I felt. “Tired”. And then an angel appeared in the form of a colleague from Warwick Medical School who was volunteering for St John Ambulance. I had no idea. I fell into him and he let me sit on a chair and brought water and then I suddenly remembered I had a medal to collect.
My family and friends were amazing and they are what I look back on for having made this a good experience. I have impressed my son and his mates and that’s worth a medal in itself.
I have so many other people to thank. David Jones features high as the club member who gave me really great support and useful advice (sorry I just couldn’t give up alcohol for 2 weeks in advance, David .. and beetroot juice is disgusting!).
I thank the friend who set me off on this venture, other club members who’d run Brighton and gave welcome support and encouragement and everyone who donated to my Justgiving page and helped raise over £2k for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
PS Mum and husband are doing OK now.
Kate Barney also competed at Manchester in what appears to have been her first marathon. She finished in a time of 4:23.02, just 7 seconds ahead of Pip. She was in the top half of the senior females, finishing 985th out of 2049. Pip was 66th out of 223 FV55s. Ginny Davis was 7th in her age category.