Manchester Marathon 10th April 16

This was to be my third marathon, each time I learn something new, with training, tapering or the racing itself. I didn’t have an ideal build up with the usual bouts of winter colds and flu, but I defiantly had plenty of rest this time.
Having arrived with time in the bag, I avoided all the parking nightmares and last minute baggage drop off panics etc. Good job as it was pretty confusing just trying to find the start.
Everything got underway fine, and I settled down to my 6:15 min/mile pace schedule, constantly checking the garmin and holding myself back, not wanting to burn out, hitting halfway in 1:21.46 I was bang on. One of the other lessons I’d learnt is keeping the energy levels up, so I tried to take on 1 gel every 20mins.
I managed to employ the help of my brother and his family and seeing them at the 18mile point was a good booster, and also allowed me to grab some more gels and an electrolyte drink. Still on schedule and feeling ok at this point, I started to pick up the pace, increasing to 6:05 – 6:10 min/mile, and picking off a few other runners.
Hitting the 22 mile point twice was slightly confusing, yes there were two signs a few hundred metres apart! I didn’t feel any better at the second sign and started to slow a little, the last few miles were a little over 6:30 pace.
The finish line seemed to take forever, but I had to keep pushing for a good time.
Finally I crossed it, and thank f**k it wasn’t just a false finish, with the real one 200 metres away!
I was pleased to find out I’d finished 55th in 2:44.46, thus hopefully giving me a championship entry place for London next year, having achieved sub 2:45.
All in all a great day, apart from the random mile markers and the queues for the baggage, I only had to wait 20mins, but I heard later people were waiting over 2 hours! But the weather was good and it is a nice course, flat and with plenty of local support.
No more marathons for me till next year, hmmmm when was Berlin again……
Tom Grady

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