Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Manchester Half Marathon #McrHalf

I was up far too early on Sunday morning (5AM!) to get to Manchester in plenty of time for the half marathon. However I was boosted by knowing that I was running for YoungMinds. It was still dark when we had walked to the start area near Old Trafford:

Manchester half marathon

With my family, I joined plenty of other runners in the local Costa for one last drink before the race. At this point my race nerves kicked in so I headed to my start pen way ahead of time! This gave me a chance to chat to other runners and even share a mutual birthday hug with another participant, We were all well covered up due to the classic Manchester weather:


Manchester half marathon

Manchester half marathon

The event started in waves, so being in Pen F we had over half an hour to wait before it was our turn to set off round the streets of Manchester. The first few kilometres were a loop towards the city centre and then back again to the start area - and my first glimpse of my family. Despite doing my best to go off too fast I soon realised I was far too close to the 2:15 pacer and managed to ease off a bit as we headed down the A56 towards Sale:


Manchester half marathon

After the start zone there wasn't an awful lot of support until we were passed the M60 (complete with armed police on watch!) and into the residential and shopping zones:


Manchester half marathon

There were children giving out sweets and high 5s, music and lots of placards. I was still feeling strong as we entered Sale and I recognised so many places from staying with my Granny. The mile markers were all either motivational or informational so we knew where we where:


Manchester half marathon

At this point I knew I was still on track for a 2:30 finish but knew it would be tougher for the next leg. I was boosted by a text to say my family were waiting by Dane Rd station which helped to power me through the rest of Sale:


Manchester half marathon

My son had warned me about a hill at mile 10! He wasn't wrong as the bridge over the Bridgewater Canal felt like a mountain to legs that were starting to tire. Of course there were official photographers waiting there:


Manchester half marathon

I learned a couple of things about the snacks given out on the route:
  1. wine gums can come back and repeat on you if you are exerting a lot of effort - much to the amusement of runners next to me at the time!
  2. jaffa cakes are impossible to eat whilst running as they a) stick in your mouth b) melt on your hand!
The last few miles were pretty much torture on legs that hadn't had enough miles in them... my running intervals stopped being a regular 30:30 and were more 60:60 or other variation. Luckily there was tremendous support through my mum's birthplace of Chorlton-cum-Hardy. I obviously didn't look too dead as the Race Angels didn't offer me any support! There were plenty of us struggling to run by this point...

That last 1km was possibly the longest kilometre of my life so far, finally the Finish sign appeared in the distance for a last boost to our tired bodies. I found some final speed from somewhere and enjoyed the high 5s as I ran in towards the finish:

Manchester half marathon

I think my smile on this shot just sums up how it felt to a) be finishing and b) have knocked 15 minutes off my Brathay Half time from 2016:


My family were near the line but we got funnelled into the finish zone so I lost them! My rewards for completing the race were...

A medal:
Manchester half marathon

Some alcohol free beer from Erdinger:
Manchester half marathon

And an ice bath from Optimum Nutrition:


Manchester half marathon


Such a great experience I have signed up for the full in April - OMG!



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