On Friday lunchtime Jillian and I flew out to Frankfurt to run the marathon on Sunday morning.
Race day started a lot earlier than planned as we were abruptly woken from a deep sleep at 2am by a wailing siren and a loudspeaker demanding that we evacuate our hotel immediately. We dutifully traipsed outside into the cold and rain until finally being allowed back inside, now very wide awake.
After what seemed like 5 minutes sleep, we had our race day breakfast and made our way to the event centre to drop off our bag and play the usual pre-race toilet game. It was 14°C, windy and spitting with rain for the first half and in the second half we were treated to two heavy downpours, the second of which lasted for the rest of the day. There was a lot of surface water on the roads from the torrential rain the previous night. This resulted in a lot more weaving about than usual as runners tried to avoid getting wet feet.
I almost came a cropper negotiating a sharp left turn on wet cobbles in the city centre but the biggest danger came from the numerous tourists trying to cross the race route with their wheelie suitcases!
After numerous loops around the city centre, the race finally crossed over the River Main into the quieter southern suburbs. The public support and entertainment throughout was superb despite the deteriorating weather conditions. The highlight was a German rock band hammering out AC/DC’s Highway to Hell through a giant speaker stack which was loud enough to wake the dead.
After Manchester in April my goal was to try and squeeze under 3h15. About a third of the way in this was feeling quite a bit harder than I expected and I was in two minds whether to ease off the pace rather than risk blowing up in the second half. But if you don’t try, you don’t get so I pushed on and luckily things settled down a bit in the next couple of miles.
At about 15 miles we crossed back over the River Main via a Tour de France style motorway on and off ramp before reaching the western most point of the course and heading back towards the centre. After one final déjà vu loop of the city centre we hung a right and were back on the main drag towards the start.
The race doesn’t finish on the road. Instead it heads back through the start and into the event centre where the final 60m are run on a red carpet surrounded by a throng of cheering spectators.
I was really pleased to pull off a negative split and finish in 03:13:23, a PB by just shy of 6 minutes. Jillian finished in 03:26:11.
All the volunteers and marshals we saw were superb and the race organisation was excellent. The unlimited supply of alcohol free beer was a nice touch but it was good to get hold of a real one afterwards 🙂