A superb marathon and weekend away.
So Saturday morning bright and early with a few snacks (not mentioning excess baggage!!) off the Harriers went to Manchester. With well organised transport arrangements and seamless links (thanks to Mr Warren), we arrived in the northern capital. Hotel check in completed and baggage unloaded, we made full use of the excellent tram service, popping into the city to check out the sights and coffee houses, with ongoing banter keeping us mentally relaxed and excited for the next day (along with the football results for some!).
We whiled away an enjoyable evening ‘carb loading’ at a local Bella Italia (food for athletes!). Then returned to the hotel for an early night, full of high expectations for the following morning.
The day!! Nervous, scared and yet excited!
After the compulsory team photo with the new Ryde Harriers banner and Mr Warren in his usual pose, off we set to the start line, following people also appropriately clad in lycra. Bags all dropped off and an impromptu team photo shoot done by Optimum Nutrition (we are now famous athletes!), we were ready.
Start areas were found along with various car parks /toilet excursions!
We were ready for the off!! Just 26.2 miles to go!
The race involved fabulous support along the way from crowds, families, bands, choirs, race angels and even a young male dancing angel to help us on our way. There was also drinks, gels and sweets galore.
The flat route with some small undulations took us through varies surrounding areas of Manchester from terraced houses to gated houses. With support from the public for the majority of the way especially if you have a 3 lettered name, aka ‘Ken’ or ‘Sam’ and just when we thought we couldn’t take another step an encouraging cheer of ‘Go Ken’ or ‘Come on girls, you can do it’ picked us up to carry us closer to the elusive finish line.
Looking out to hi-5 fellow teammates going the other way helped while away the miles and give us all a sense of team spirit. Running in a group to begin with, allowed for excited chatter, dancing and general frivolity which slowly reduced as the mileage increased. Resulting in the last few miles being totally unable to even calculate basic maths, 6 x9 is?, 3 x9 is?. 51 mins goes into? Bugger!, just keep going legs because my head is starting to say, ‘STOP! NO MORE!’.
But eventually the elusive finish line came into sight. Thank goodness!!
Now I think I might make it, but I’m sure someone is moving the finish line away from me!, I think I may be delirious! The head says ‘sprint, sprint’, but the legs can’t seem to change pace.
Then it’s all over, we step over the finish line and instantly stop. Everything hurts; walking, breathing just living!!! BUT we have done it, yeah!
Thank you Manchester for an amazing marathon experience. Now where’s the medal and cake?
Armed with copious beer and more snacks we head for the train home (which may have included a small upgrade to first class).
Well done team harriers and all runners.
We would highly recommend Manchester for a first or PB marathon.
Finish line video available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XA-9lE-EqFE