I know usually race reports are from the point of view of the runner, but I thought I would write briefly about the Manchester Half Marathon from the other side of the barrier!
We travelled up to Manchester late on Friday night from London to stay with our son Tom (on his not very comfortable spare bed 😬). When I asked about his plan for the Saturday evening and Sunday morning he was quite vague! Unlike son number two who had everything planned down to the minute and every mouthful of evening meal and breakfast planned to the last berry! In fact we had to go out at 6am to get milk and eggs for breakfast!
Anyway - woke up to beautiful sunrise and mild weather. If only it could have stayed like that! Got a cab over to somewhere in the vague direction of Old Trafford, before road closures meant we had to leave the cab and walk the rest of the way. Tom met up with a couple of friends who were also running and we all queued for a coffee. The skies, which had been quite bright, were gradually darkening, the wind was picking up, and I was thinking thank goodness I had brought a full set of waterproofs. As the runners went off to the start, and we went to find a good position to watch the beginning of the race, a few sprinkles of rain dropped from the now dark grey skies and I quickly put on my waterproof trousers and pulled up my hood. Literally as the hooter sounded for the start of the race the heavens opened, and the rain came down! I suppose that was apt for Manchester where (so I've heard) "it's always raining" 😉🌂
Off went the runners, and we watched them all go off, from the wheelchairs to the elites to the club runners in their club vests, to - well everyone else! The race was sponsored by Aldi, and there were lots of staff dressed as bananas 🍌. So then the fun part - standing in the rain shouting support - "go go bananas" is a good phrase! If I could see names on tops I shouted them out. Sometimes people responded with a smile or a thumbs up. Sometimes people didn't seem to notice me shouting at all. That's fine, I thought - they are focused on the next step- and then realised a lot of them were plugged in to headphones and simply didn't hear. So I gave up shouting people's names if they were wearing headphones. I know there has been discussion about headphones in races on this forum before so I don't want to go on about it, but I do feel that the atmosphere is part of what makes the race different from just a training run, and wearing headphones means that you miss a bit of that......
Although my wet weather gear was very effective I had forgotten about my feet which were now soaked. And cold. Never mind, time to get to the finish line. Tom's friend Rob smashed it in 1:32, and not long after in came Tom himself in 1:40 and Jess in 1:46.
Nice t shirts and lovely shiny medals! And a pint of beer 🍺 (non alcoholic) And then the sun came out which was perfect timing for the end, and nice for the slower runners who didn't have to do the entire race in the wet!
We walked to the Lowry Centre and had a nice lunch and quick visit to Cadbury outlet shop to stock up on refuelling chocolate. 🍫
And then a long drive back home again!
I am very proud of both my sons, who only did these half marathons after I did the marathon earlier this year. Now one has signed up for the Paris marathon, and the other has started fell running!