On a bright Sunday morning several members of A and T assembled at Old Trafford for Manchester Marathon. After a quick group photo we dispersed to find our starting places. There was much discussion between Louise Simpson, Reporter Bennett and I about where the optimum starting position might be. As the three of us went over the timing strip at the start the song playing was 'we like to sleep all day and party all night' this I thought was quite apt given that Louise and Reporter Bennett are often fuelled by beverages stronger than the isotonic sports drinks out on the course.
The course takes in the sights of Stetford, Sale, Altrincham, Carrington and Flixton. In all honesty this is not the most scenic marathon you could do. However what it does have on its side is that it is almost completely flat so can be a good course for first time marathon runners. The route is a big loop which means you get to see and cheer on fellow A and T runners which can give you a much needed boost. It also enables you to see the elite runners and seeing the first lady bossing it up there with the men really spurred me on. Nonetheless, the best thing about this marathon is the support. This is the second time I have run Manchester Marathon and this year the people of Manchester really upped their game. Altrincham was a particular highlight but there were people all along the course. There were so many people offering encouragement and sweets, which, were not just out of their sweaty palms but from Tupperware containers and were not just your standard jelly babies but squashies no less. There were also people who had taken the time to make signs and two of my favourites included 'Run like you have stolen something' and another that simply said 'Motivational sign'. A further highlight is that at 24.8 miles you get to see some of the A and T massive helping out at the water station. The cheers I got and seeing some of your lovely faces really helped as my legs were starting to feel tired. As after this when my legs continued to hurt the only thing left to do was to use Jens Voight's classic phrase 'shut up legs'. The final stretch to the finish line was absolutely brilliant with so much support that I may have upped my pace from speed 1 to speed 2 albeit for about 0.10 of a mile. At the end there was a goody bag, asics tshirt and a medal almost as big as my face. You could also have a protein shake and a beer - yes it was alcohol free Jason Revill but tasted a lot better than water or isotonic sports drink.
In regards to results there were some brilliant runs and PBs. First in was marathon man himself Malcolm Collins in a speedy time of 3:06:50. Shortly followed by Steve Coleman in 3:08:23. Next in was Coach Sloan in 3:10:51 fuelled by the banter between him, Ian Joslin and James Love after running together for most of the race. Ian got a brilliant PB of 3:14:09. Followed by another fantastic PB of 3:33:08 from Kath Pearson. Brendan Loughrey was next and also got a brilliant PB of 3:44:06. In her marathon debut Louise Simpson ran an absolutely fantastic race and came in at 3:49:44. Reporter Bennett also ran brilliantly coming in with Louise and having the important job of carrying her gels for the race. Next in was me with a PB of 3:53:53. Shortly followed by Rob Lawson in a time of 3:57:26. Despite having a bowling related injury Michelle Fairclough had a great run and got a PB of 4:13:38. Jason Revill came in next in 4:28:58 unfortunately still feeling the effects of being poorly earlier in the week. Joan Cooke came in with a great time of 4:32:31. Followed by Tracy Waterfall-Chadwick with a strong performance despite being delayed waiting for some painkillers and came in at 5:03:09.