Report by Gemma Davies.
Much like the pain of childbirth one week on from the marathon and I’ve kind of forgotten most of it! It almost seems like a dream that we did it!!
Myself and Lou entered this flat marathon as our first attempt at the distance. Kelly not one to let us do it on our own signed up too and helped us with training plans! On signing up we placed ourselves in the 5hr bracket.
Training went well bar a few little injury issues and we managed 3 over 20 mile runs, and so on race day apart from the nerves we felt ready to attempt this challenge.
Kelly went off in one of the earlier waves at 9:30 and mine and Lou’s wave (yellow B) was the last wave off at 10:55. As it happened as we were heading down to the start area Kelly was around 8 miles in and appeared on the tracker as being just around the corner so it was great to spot her and give her a cheer en route!
Then before we knew it off our wave went, we had a 5 hr pacer and 4:45 pacer in our wave who started just ahead of us. The route started in Old Trafford and headed down a road which was also at the end of the course, here we saw some of the elite runners coming up to the end of their races. We still had a long way to go though!
The route took in Manchester City centre with a little out n back, turning by a huge tv screen around the 5 mile mark. We had already passed the 5hr pacer at this point and the 4:45 pacer turned a few minutes ahead of us.
There we headed back out towards Trafford and caught up the 4:45 pacer, always wary not to be going out too fast we said we’ll stay by this group for awhile. However that didn’t last long and soon enough we moved slightly ahead of the group!
At around the 9 mile mark we saw our supporters – our husbands and kids who had driven us up to Manchester that morning. My husband asked if we’d stopped to which he got a very indignant No! (Apparently the tracker had been playing up!)
The route then headed out towards Sale, Timperley, a loop of Altrincham, then back towards Sale, taking in Chorlton before finishing back in Old Trafford.
It was a complete mind game ticking the miles off, trying to get every ounce of energy and motivation from the supporters and music on the route. It is lovely and gives you a boost even when complete strangers shout your name out. We did find that there were some lulls and quiet areas so would probably run that distance with music in future as when it’s needed it can be so helpful to lift spirits!
We were running well and after getting to 20 miles it was the ‘only 10k’ to go now (or as people say the second half of the marathon!)
My husband made another appearance at 23 miles to give us another cheer from a friendly face. Then we had 5k to go. Just after this I had a ridiculously sharp pain in my toe – I hobbled for a bit and it still hurt so I thought the quickest way for the pain to be over was getting the race finished and with Lous encouragement we started running the last 20 mins or so to the finish.
The finishing straight was great, loads of supporters lined the road and we even managed to pick up our pace. We heard Kelly and saw our kids cheering us on. Grabbing one another’s hand we finished as we started and came over the finish line together in 4:40:10. A time we were absolutely over the moon with!
As I said at the beginning it still feels like a bit of a blur and dream that we did it but we did and the training miles (on cold, wet Sunday mornings) came good!
Goodies included medal, T-shirt, water, Erdinger and a protein bar. There was also loads of water and gels available on the route.
It’s not a ballot place marathon and the second biggest marathon in the UK so if you’re wanting to take on a marathon challenge what are you waiting for, get signed up!
Will I do another? Well I was fortunate to get a London Marathon ballot place so watch this space!
(I’m not sure I want to do it without my running buddy though!)
Other Croft results in Manchester: Matt Yapp 2:34:58 Kelly 3:15:29 Anna Yapp 3:52:29 and Liv Moses 4:18:28 they all did fantastically each one setting marathon PB’s!! Well done to you all!