What a great weekend we have had! On Friday I went up to Stockport where marathon preparations in my eldest son’s (T) house had been well underway for the last 3 months. The training plan was strictly adhered to. Everything was going as it should be. The plan was a 4 hour marathon, and all was on track for that. Although my second son (J) had entered the marathon ages ago he had decided not to run it after all, as after an epic effort last October doing his first Ironman event he hadn’t actually laced up his running shoes since doing 16 miles in January to keep me company on my first half marathon. However – on Friday afternoon we got a text to say he had changed his mind and was coming up after all as the offer of a hotel room going spare (a mate had dropped out) was the little push/excuse to go for it anyway – lack of training or not! J might not have been running – but he has been cycling, skiing and playing football twice a week.
On Saturday we found out that a friend, Emma, also running in the marathon was up in Manchester without her family – so we all went out for dinner in the evening which was great fun. We ate in a lovely pub, The Wharf, in Salford. Highly recommended – good food and lovely atmosphere and location by the canal.
Sunday – Race Day – early morning start, and it was definitely on the cool side, although the weather was set to get warmer later. Perfect running weather really – cool, very light wind and dry. The runners got ready – kit and shoes, running number/chip, gels, anti friction lube-y stuff for those tender spots, and running watches charged up. Supporters (me, my husband Simon, T’s girlfriend Jenny and J’s girlfriend Anna) got ready – backpacks loaded with water, snacks, tissues, hats and gloves, phones charged up and signed up for updates on runners, and finally – and most importantly – The Supporters Banner. The Supporters Banner was originally made by me and Jenny for last year’s run. We customised it with a Sharpie for this year – adding Emma’s name, plus Will and Steph (the lovely runners I met at Richmond in February), Stuart and Martyn (J’s friends) and Laura (T and Jenny’s friend running her first marathon. The Banner is held aloft with 2 walking poles. It is very portable – which is a good thing.
The run started promptly at 9 am. The runners set off in waves. T & J decided to run together, as J wasn’t sure how his legs would cope with running 26.2 miles on no running for more than 2 months! The Manchester bee was at the start giving a boost to all the runners before they set off, some of them in the first marathon and others seasoned runners. The worker bee was adopted as a symbol of Manchester during the Industrial Revolution, and has become more and more popular since the Manchester Arena bombing in May 2017. It now also symbolises unity in the face of terrorism.
Once we had seen them off at the start our band of supporters set off to the next sighting point. This meant getting the tram. One of the things I love about the Manchester marathon is the numbers of supporters – so many people – of all ages from babies to great grandparents! And all cramming themselves onto the tram to travel around in the hope of glimpsing their loved ones running past for a few seconds and give them a cheer! It’s such a good atmosphere.
We also walked a lot between various points to see the boys running, carry the banner and give them a cheer. Altogether on Sunday I walked almost 25,000 steps! There were lots of people out to give support to friends and strangers alike. As a runner myself I know how amazing it is when people are out cheering, clapping and calling your name. It really does give you a boost.
Finally we made it to the finish, again by tram, to meet T&J – who crossed the finish line holding hands (gotta love ’em!) in exactly the same time 3:43:36 – which is pretty incredible on many levels. I can’t tell you how proud I am of them! Brilliant work sons.
We enjoyed fab post run (or walk for the Supporters) at meal at Trof in the Northern Quarter. And then the journey back home down south for me and J and Anna. Such a great weekend. Well done to everyone who ran – Emma and Stuart managed PB’s and Laura also ran a great time for her first marathon.
You might have noticed that J is wearing a JDRF running vest. Last year he had his own fund raising page. This year he would like people to donate via my page. If you have already then many many thanks. If not you can donate here.
(You might have also noticed that in the photo of the T & J and Stuart, that T (in the red top) is slightly over striding. No time now to discuss this, but hopefully this week I will write up a bit about cadence, over striding and related injuries… watch this space!)