Great Manchester Run Half Marathon – Race Recap

I hope everyone has had a lovely bank holiday weekend. 

I’ve spent the weekend in Manchester taking part in the Simplehealth Great Manchester Run – Half Marathon.

On Saturday I travelled to Manchester from London By Coach… it was horrific. Don’t do it. Spend £100 on those return train tickets because the coach is horrendous and had severe delays so what should have been a 4hr 40 min coach ride turned into almost 6.

On Monday 22nd May there was a horrific suicide bombing at Manchester Arena. During the week event updates were given regarding if it would go ahead etc thankfully it was going ahead and extra security measures had been rolled out.

I had a lovely chill out evening the night before the race and got myself ready for the early morning.


RACE DAY 

The Start

So I made my way to the start line and left my friend Rosie who would be cheering me on along the way. It was well set up and organised with lots of toilets available and many coffee shops and food places available for runners to take a seat and wait. I jumped into the pack around quarter to 9 and joined the warm up. I stood by the 2hrs10 pacer (This may have been a bit ambitious for me).

We didn’t actually start the race till quarter past 9 because there was a minute silence, an applause, everyone sang “Don’t look back in anger” and then another applause. With all the events of the past week this was a lovely tribute to those affected.


So as you can see on the map there is a long stretch when you run back on yourself. This was all marked out with Yellow Tape. Instantly people tore the tape and ran on the opposite side – I don’t think people realised that before long people would be running back on this side.

I stopped for a toilet break around before 3 miles – I hate doing this but it was very much needed – being a lady sucks! I felt better for going, and more comfortable to run.

I carried on and apart from that, up until mile 4.5 I didn’t stop.

THE WORSE BIT

Around the Etihad stadium you run over a very tiny bridge. The route had been narrowing beforehand but as people had torn down the tape and run wider suddenly there was a lot of people squished into a small space. It also didn’t help that people should have started by a 2:40 pacer had started next to me and run out of steam and were walking already. I can’t tell you how many times I cursed to myself that you have to run right, walk left. Come on people – it’s race etiquette, they did mention this in the programme.
Anyways we were all squished on the bridge and some idiot told me and another girl to run, so we let him past and told him it was impossible to move very far or run at all and then he ended up joining us in the shuffle along the bridge for a good few minutes.


After a really brief run around we ran the same bridge the opposite way. It wasn’t as tight but I lost time at this point and it started going down hill from here. The 2:10 pacer has past me going the opposite way and in my head I was thinking I’m running a 3 hour half marathon. I didn’t have voice feedback on my Nike app because sometimes I find I get discouraged by it if I’m not at the pace I want to be. Well I got disheartened by not having it on and the pacer having sprinted off.

I carried on and saw Rosie around Mile 8. Up until this point it had been quite boring in term of things on the route, there wasn’t many people around no entertainment or anything apart from at the stadium.

Mile 8 – End

Where I mentally checked out at this point and was pretty pissed off I’d slowed down and walked a few times for max 30secs to a minute. My hips had started to seize up, my feet were like balloons and blisters were forming. Everything hurt and I mentally felt weak. All my motivational songs on my playlist weren’t cutting it.

I saw Rosie again around Mile twelve and she was cheering me on loads but I was on the verge of tears from the pain and she just set me off. People then kept being nice cause I was crying like the big baby I am. I carried on running but kept slowing as I was having a panic attack. Until the last 400m. ​


I ran from 400m to 100m and then sprint finished. I always manage to dig deep right at the end but can’t find it in me to keep going and not walk the rest of the time.
I picked up my medal and race bag, and found somewhere to sit down. People were starting to arrive for the 10k (which they put a lot of more organisation and thought into in terms of wave starts etc).


So let’s get real a second: my time to beat was 2:13:34 and I got 2:16:42 which isn’t bad considering how disastrous the course was and how mentally checked out I was. Regardless I feel terrible and I am so disappointed in myself. I’ve been trying hard with running and I don’t feel like a runner and I don’t feel like I’ve done well at all. It doesn’t make any sense to anyone else how I feel but I’m feeling this way and I can’t shake it – so I wish people would stop thinking it was that easy to just be happy.

So I really didn’t enjoy this race – I’m trying to find more positives but right now my head is like a big dark cloud that isn’t moving out the way of the sun any time soon.

For the rest of the weekend I rolled and stretched and ate loads of cake and pizza and chilled with my friend which has been great!

 

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