Dubbed as the flattest marathon in the UK, and being in my home city, I entered this marathon with the dream of qualifying for Boston. For my age group this means a sub 3:35, or possibly 3:40 as I go up to the 35-39 age group for next years Boston. Given the recent disturbing events at Boston, this felt even more important to achieve now.
Race day dawned and it was perfect running conditions, a cool 6 degrees, maxing out at 11 degrees, with just a slight breeze. Fuelled up on carbs and plenty of fluids the last 3 days I got to the start line in plenty time to find my place in start area B next to the 3:30 Brooks pacers. We had a 26 second silence followed by 26 seconds of applause for the Boston Marathon which pulled at the heartstrings.
And then we were off. I set off at a blistering pace out of Old Trafford at 7:40/7:45 which worried me that I might have set off too quickly, but I thought stick with it, you’ve got to give it your all. I passed the 3:30 pacers and settled into my pace which was feeling surprisingly comfortable. Keen to reach mile 8 in Sale, where hubby & a friend would be, I kept the pace up and was soaking up the great atmosphere from all the supporters. Hubby was super pleased to see me so soon and ran alongside me for some quick words of encouragement and an offer of half a flapjack which I declined.
Headed out through Brooklands & Altrincham, then back through Brooklands where hubby was again at mile 16 for a strategic bottle swap, and again some words of encouragement and a running hug!
The next 4 miles went past quickly, still holding my strong pace out past Carrington, where Manchester United train,until I hit mile 21….that’s when the pain started, my right quad was screaming pain, but I just kept thinking its only 5 miles to go, its not even your run commute to work, don’t let this awesome pace go now. Things did slow down, I had another friend out at mile 23 in Urmston which gave me a boost, but still 3 miles to go. I checked my watch and I could see a sub 3:30 slipping away, I needed to keep 8 min miles, but at this stage I was on 9 minute miles, this gave me a kick and I managed to keep my speed in the 8:30/8:45 to see me home. It was an amazing sight to see the majestic Theatre of Dreams up ahead and the last 200 yards down to the finish were in a world of hurt, I couldn’t see or hear the crowds, it was just me & that finish line! 3:33!!! I could hardly believe it myself, there were tears and plenty of smiles & hugs too. Absolutely elated! I even rang my Mum in Australia and got her out of bed to share my news.
The support along the way from all the Mancunians that come out was immense, if you are looking for a fast, flat marathon with great support then sign up for next year!
Mile 16, looking pretty happy still, but pain about to kick in!
After! Looking very pleased with myself, my medal, my PB of 3:33 and a qualifying time for Boston.