When I entered Manchester, I was targeting a PB attempt and it would be a key event in my Spring line up. My training had gone really well, the build up was looking strong, then all of a sudden I was on my back inside an MRI scanner again. Luckily it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared, however it meant I had 2 full weeks off running and another week building back up, which really put an end to any PB attempts for this race.
Still I wanted to give it a good crack and targeted going through half way in 75/76ish minutes, then ease off ever so slightly, but still clock a respectable time. All good practice for London.
Sarah and I travelled up on the Friday morning, a pretty uneventful Pret fuelled train journey got us into Manchester for lunchtime. We jumped into a taxi and headed for Media City, where our super luxurious 'Ibis Budget' awaited. £184 for two nights, when the usual rate is £19/night, gives you some idea of the demand around race day, or I just got ripped off..probably a bit of both!
I was nursing a niggle in my ankle, but could still run ok, so headed out of Friday and again on Saturday for some easy recovery miles. The carb loading process went well and we finished it off with a huge pizza from Rudy’s on Saturday lunchtime.
I’d done pretty much all my recent training in Hokas, however I went back to my old favourites for the race. It just felt right and wanted to go with a shoe I knew had served me well in the past. Nothing against the Hokas at all, I just need to get some more miles at speed in them before they become a race option.
The race started at 9am, but as our hotel was so close we didn’t have to set off until 8 and before we knew it the bags were checked, warm up done and I was in the starting pen about to set off.
It was really nice to see so many familiar faces at the start, then after a few hello’s and ‘what do you think you can do’s?’, it was time to get this show on the road!
It was a quick get away, the first 5k came up in 17:31 and 10k in 35:15. I’d got in with a good group of people all targeting a 2:30 finish, well so it seemed, so it made sense to stick on their tail for the opening part of the race.
The course was very flat, as all the advertising had promised. We were flying through Sale, then on the approach to Altrincham there was a bridge to get over and a few ‘hills’ to climb through the town. This was the first point in the race where I started to feel tired, but crossing the half way mark in 1:16 was a good confidence boost.
The gels were going down well. I’d been trying the new Spring Energy gels in training, but for the same reason as with the shoes, I went with the SiS gels on the day. I know they are reliable and I will test the Spring gels more in training, really like them so far. Check out 'my kit' page for more on them.
The stretch around mile 16 where there are runners on both sides of the road was so much fun! Having other runners shouting your name was incredible, it really got me pepped up and kept my head in the game. Thank you everyone!
I knew I was slowing down, but everything was steady and in control, that was the plan. 20 - 25km was 18:33 and 25 - 30km was 18:52. A few runners were struggling ahead, as I was catching them faster than I should have been. It was a shame to see some well known people stood on the side of the road, clearly struggling. Your day will come!
The long finishing straight seemed to go on forever! Being able to see the finish when you’ve still got a couple of K’s to race down isn’t easy.. but before I knew it the line was there and the Garmin said 2:37:15.
Given I hadn’t raced since November, planned to run the race steady and had zero issues during, I couldn’t be happier with the result. It was a real confidence boost about what’s possible for this year.
Well done to everyone who ran Manchester, it was such a fantastic race. So many great stories and it was so nice to meet lots of runners I know from Strava and Instagram!
Now the training is solely getting ready for London. The big one and I can’t wait!!