Now that my calves have finally recovered (even if you think you’ve stretched, stretch some more!), I figured it was about time I posted about The Great Manchester Run and my experience!
I was running in the green wave, which meant my race only started at 13:10. We arrived in Manchester at around 11:15 and, from Deansgate Station, made our way towards the starting area. As we were walking along Deansgate a couple of the wheelchair racers were finishing, and that was great to see! The crowds weren’t too busy at this point, so it would have been a great time to get your place at the finish line – something my mum found out later! As soon as the orange/whites/elite men were starting, the finish line area was jam packed!
By the time we got to the starting point area, it was around 12:00, and my wave started walking to the pen at 12:35, so I just hung about until that time. When the time came, we all headed to the starting pen, and waited around in there until 13:00 for the warm up to start! Understandable, but I was getting a little chilly. It would have been nice to have had a friend there – I’m not one to just randomly chat to strangers hahah!
The warm up was okay… I couldn’t really see anything because it felt like I was surrounded by a load of 6ft tall people! I’m 5’4… Short. I just copied everyone around me, and it seemed to work! Would have been useful to maybe have a TV for those of us at the front.
At precisely 13:10, the gun sounded and we all set off! It wasn’t actually that bad at all in terms of congestion. I was expecting the first km to be slow whilst everyone got out, but the area cleared quickly because we had the full road to run on.
The race itself was probably the hardest one I’ve ever run, and I think it’s because I went so fast (compared to my past 10k times!) I had placed myself in the green wave, saying that I would likely finish in 50-60 minutes. The fastest I’d done a 10k previously was 69 officially, and 65 in training!
I think we ran around 6km out, and then headed back in the same direction. On the way out, it was a little depressing seeing us at 3/4km, and then the other side of the road saying 8/9km, but then it was also great to see all the earlier runners heading back! The support was fairly constant throughout the run, with people cheering, shouting names and music playing along the way. A few bands were dotted about, and speakers made up for the rest of the time!
As I said, it was really tough for me, but as we neared the last 2km, strangers began calling out names as we passed. Seriously, hearing a random person shout my name, telling me I can do it and I’m doing so well really helped! It definitely pushed me, and I just couldn’t thank them enough if I knew who they were! I was in pain, but I was smiling, giving high fives to the people holding their hands out and I just felt great at that moment.
As I neared the finish line, I saw the clock was around 60 minutes, and I could have cried. I crossed the line officially in 01:01:24 and I couldn’t believe it. That’s an average pace of 9:47 per mile, and I generally run at around 10:30 for longer distances.
My mum had managed to get to the barrier just after the finish line, and I spotted her almost immediately! I was glad that she managed to at least get a little close! The photo below was just before the race, and then there’s my finishers medal. Isn’t it pretty?
So yeah, I walked through the finishers area and a very attractive volunteer said well done Katie as I walked past and that definitely had me smiling hahah! The I picked up my finishers bag and headed out into the crowd to find my mum. We walked a little before heading to the station, and that night I just couldn’t do anything! I felt so weak, ate loads and fell asleep early hahah. Woke up with very tight calves and quads, and it’s taken almost all week for them to feel normal again. I’ll say it again, if you think you’ve stretched enough, stop and stretch some more!
In the bag at the end I got my medal, a t-shirt (which I’m sure was described as a technical shirt… but was just a normal one), maggie 3 minute noodles, lucozade sports, eat natural fruit and nut bar and I think that was it… Can’t remember anything else! I do like the t-shirt, and the noodles are surprisingly nice!
These were all my official placings and times. 14,116th out of an estimated 40,000 – definitely pleased with that. I loved this 10k, and I’d happily do it again next year!
TD;LR It was tough, but I felt incredible at the end of it.