Race Report: Manchester Marathon


Afternoon Harriers,

On Sunday 14th April, three of us made the journey up to Manchester, the hometown of Oasis, Coronation Street, Steve Coogan, Professor Brian Cox and Emmeline Pankhurst, to name but a few.

With around 32,000 runners, the marathon is one of the largest in the UK and takes on many of the suburbs of South Manchester as well as parts of the City Centre. I’ve also seen it labelled as the flattest marathon in the UK, which at certain points, did seem a little misleading!

Arriving at the start area at Old Trafford cricket ground, conditions were a little overcast and blustery in parts but on the whole pretty good for running. I also bumped into fellow deckchair, Martin Sands, and we had a quick chat before heading to our respective waves.

The race itself was a staggered start from 9am, with each wave setting off in 10 minute intervals,

I found myself in the third (light blue) wave, which based on my originally predicted time was situated with the 3:15 pacer group. However, training had been going well, conditions were good and I had a brand new pair of race shoes on so decided to try and get as close to the wave in front as I could. It turned out it actually wasn’t that difficult, and I managed to nestle myself into the wave in front with no questions asked. The gun fired and off we went.

My game plan was to try and run a very slight negative split, with the first 5 miles easing myself in just below overall goal pace and then working up to around 6:40 per mile from around 10k onwards. The course was quite congested for the first few miles but started to open up a bit once we reached the city centre at around mile 5.

Miles 6 to 13 were fairly uneventful as we made our way down through Stretford, Sale and on to Timperley with a slight headwind and I went through halfway in 1:28:11, still feeling good but also knowing that feeling good at halfway has been the downfall of many an athlete then trying to kick on too soon! I stayed patient and kept on pace, fuelling regularly and just trying to enjoy the experience and the on-course support as much as I could.

The miles came and went but at mile 23, I was really starting to feel it. I kept telling myself that it was only a parkrun to go, my pace was starting to ease but I knew that I still had a slight time buffer, I just couldn’t let it drop too much, the sub 3 was so close!

As I ground out the last few miles, I finally came to the 500m to go sign, looked down at my watch and it said 2:56:30 and I knew barring a disaster that I’d done it. I found my second wind and picked the pace back up for the finale.

I crossed the line in 2:58:30, so no negative split but a new 45-minute PB after running London in a previous PB of 3:44:09 last year.

Massive congratulations to fellow Harriers, Colin Ricketts who ran 3:39:22 and Martin Sands who ran 3:50:00, both of which I believe were new PBs as well, so a full house for the event!

The overall winners were Adam Clarke in 2:16:29 and Charlie Arnell in 2:37:12

It was a great event and the on-course support was excellent. Whilst it wasn’t the most scenic marathon, it was well organised, had a great atmosphere and was “reasonably” flat for anybody chasing a time.

Apologies for the blow by blow account but I hope you enjoyed reading. Thanks to everyone for their support and especially the Tuesday crew for pushing me to aim high!

I look forward to seeing you all soon, once the legs have recovered slightly and good luck to all those running London this weekend.