Monday, April 28, 2014

Manchester Marathon 2014

2014 Great Manchester Marathon

       When I registered for the Manchester Marathon, I was not expecting much. Manchester is not exactly a top tourist destination, but it fit my schedule and I had a friend that wanted me to pace her through her first full. Despite this, driving to the race and hearing the radio DJs wish all the runners luck, gave me nervous butterflies in my stomach. Running marathons hasn't gotten old yet! Despite my excitement, I wanted to run this one at a comfortable pace to practice my splits for Two Oceans 2 weeks later, and log the needed miles while looking for friends from my on-line running groups.
I love a bold look! To an American, this is gritty, city, England, LOL

So cool meeting Jay who was taking pictures and cheering
 from the sidelines for his wife and her friends

Mark went on to have a fantastic run in London!
Thumbs up to his buddy on a great photo bomb, LOL

        Queuing up for the race was a bit of a zoo. There was no clear organization for where to stand for your corral and as the start approached, the MC kept calling the runners forward so we would be close for the gun. Somehow, this resulted in me being WAY to far up in the crowd. I took off at a pace I knew I could never sustain, but the crowd of 8,000 runners was so thick I could not really slow down without causing people trouble. Fortunately, by the time my first 1 minute walk came up, I was able to get off to the side, but each time I ran, I was jumping back in with people moving too fast for me. I even ran through my second walk break because I could not hear the timer beep.
Best camera angle ever in a race photo, thanks to Jay!

       Despite the pace, the race was a ton of fun. I found friends, met new ones, and enjoyed the scenery in a surprisingly charming city. It also had a few out and back sections so we got to see the front runners, I love that!
       Despite my way too fast start, I managed to hang onto to some of my speed and ended up finishing at 4:25:14! That is within a minute of my finish in Malta that I had attributed to the last half of the race being downhill. Although I pushed too hard for a race that was only 2 weeks before my big ultra, I think it gave me huge confidence towards finishing Two Oceans. I finished 26.2 in near record time without feeling totally spent so I knew that backing off on my pace would give me what I needed to add an extra 9 miles.
Cute cadets helping with our bags. 

Manchester has an arch?

Buildings along the canal

Watching the elites run by

Into the city

Bummed this was blurry, he was swinging fireballs!

Patient, and a few not so patient, cars sitting at a dead
stop waiting for the runners to clear.

The finish line, YAY!

Slogging through the finishing chute.
 That is my post race "ecstatic" look, compliments of Jay
and his magic camera that makes me look good :-)

       All in all, Manchester is a great marathon and I highly recommend it!  A big city race with a small town feel.

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