I’ve done. I am now a Marathon runner. Well half runner, maybe 90% as I’m not going to lie I did walk some of it. My time was 4hrs 25 minutes a little off from the sub 4 I was hoping for but with the elements trying to kill me the result is something that I am happy with, that and I’m the first one of my friends and family to run a marathon.
Greatest respect goes to those who put themselves through this ten times, in the case of the 10 by 10 in the Lake district. Ten Marathons over ten days and those people who run ultra’s. There were times when I wanted to break down and cry, my run became a trot, the thoughts turned to a warm cosy bed, I wanted out of the race I wanted to be finished. I could have pulled over and seek medical assistance, pulled out got a lift back to the start but my mind was forcing me to finish ‘You are not a quitter’
So the day begins at 5.30, I woke to my usual breakfast and a couple more green tes’s and energy drinks. Travelled to the park which was wet and cold. visited the loo I don’t know how many times and then headed to the start. The gun went and we were off. I was going a little fast 8.45 miles which I had to slow down, by mile 3 I had settled into a steady 8.59 – 9.09 pace and was enjoying it. My body warmed up and the sea of colour that laid in front of me once again amazed me. Us runners are a hardy bunch with the temperatures below 5 degrees and a wind chill factor and rain, here we all were jogging and loving every minute of it.
The race was going well, apart from the several loo breaks into hedges my bladder insisted on taking. By mile 4 I had taken my first gel, coming into sale I took on an energy drink and waved to my friend. This was going well, I felt good. Timperly was the next village and the atmosphere was electric, I heard a member of the crowd shout ‘It should be you runners clapping us for coming out supporting you in this weather’ and she has a point, the conditions were not ideal for long distance running but they were even more horrendous for the crowd as they stood there in the pouring rain and wind bellowing shouts of encouragement. Manchester stood up and came out to support the return after a decade of a marathon with huge support. Crowds cheering, calling out names, giving out jelly babies along the route helping to tie shoe laces in the latter stages when it was too painful for people to bend, offering warm drinks and some respite from the cold. to sum up the crowd made it, and this is where it wet wrong for me.
In the run up to the event it said no headphones, now I had been training with music and podcasts but like a good boy I took notice of this and left my iPod at home, others didn’t, this was to be my undoing as you’ll soon find out.
After Timperly came Altrincham where my mum and dad were posted who I failed to see, the race moved on into the open country and down what can only be described as a dirt track. Narrow and wet. How wet? Very wet. It was like a river in parts and as the pack slowed up, to avoid running in the ankle-deep puddles that covered the lane people soon realised they had no choice. With sodden trainers and very wet socks we moved on to Dunham Massey or Muddy Massey has it will be known to many a runner from now on. Another track, this one made from cobbles, wet cobbles, covered in mud, and more puddles that were hiding pot holes. Not a safe or fun environment. I don’t think you need to be a runner to appreciate how the morale dropped. Also now in the open country the wind had picked up, the rain had started to fall heavier and colder, it was like ice and I was a drowned rat, cold and wet I was no longer finding this fun my hands numb I could open my zip to get my jelly beans or gels and for the next 4 miles there were no crowds to cheer us through and I hit the wall at mile 16.
That was when I waved my sub 4 goodbye. The next ten miles to the finish were only achieved by the crowds shouting words of encouragement. By the time I crossed the line, I was a shivering nervous wreck with a phone that had got water-logged and wouldn’t work. I eventually managed to find my friends and family in the park that had now been turned into a giant mud pit. I was exhausted, I wanted to break down and cry. I had just carried out a feat of human endurance all in the name of fun.
I’m glad I did and will do it again, but no training can prepare you for your first. I know what to expect now and know I need to do a lot more running and a lot more training. My legs to-day are on strike, I can’t move one inch. the pain in the final 4 miles was so hard to describe, but the joy and emotion of crossing that line and getting that medal to say “I’ve done a Marathon’ and not any old marathon one in my back yard. I started running in November 2010 and Manchester saw my first race with the 10K, a year on from that race Manchester has seen me do a marathon and I am so happy that I did it. “At mile 20, I thought I was dead. At mile 22, I wished I was dead. At mile 24, I knew I was dead. At mile 26.2 I knew I was too tough to kill” Anon