Manchester HM report by a spectator!

Manchester HM report by a spectator!

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!

15 Replies

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  • what a great photo! you two look very alike! Lovely post and Congratulations to your sons! :)

  • Thank you!

  • Well done to both your sons - and what amazing times! What a great role model you have been to them with your marathon!😀 It was lovely to read a post from the spectators viewpoint too. As for the earphones, I run with music but always turned down quite low because I don't like to shut out the world completely! Would happily go without on run day if required but it is a bit of a habit for me now to have my music on! I know that more and more races ban it these days. Hope everyone is now recovering well and showing off the medals!😀

  • Aw this is a great post, you capture it all perfectly !

    Yes , it was windy, rainy and cold at the start wasn't it , but it ended up with beautiful blue skies and the sun shining - Lovely !

    The support was absolutely amazing all around the course. I tried to say thank you to everyone who cheered me on , it was brilliant that so many people braved the rain and the cold to come out and support the event .

    The blurb on my race pack said that " they had bowed to demand or pressure ( not sure which word they used ) and decided to allow headphones this year , although it would be preffered if only one was used "

    I never use them on events, but saying that, I could have done with some of my tunes in my earholes when I was flagging around the 18k mark ! :-)

    There were quite a few bananas wasn't there ? And did you see the policeman with his wheelbarrow ? He was patching someone up with tape when I went past him.

    Oh I bet you are so proud of your Sons, what amazing times !

    Great write-up, I really enjoyed reading that ! :-) xxx

  • Yes! I saw the policeman and said Well done Policeman! To which he replied Thank you Member of the Public! Which made me laugh!

    Tom said the support all round the course was amazing, and two of his friends were cheering him on half way round which he much appreciated.

  • That was a great read! What a family! And isn't it great when you start to motivate others to get fit?

  • To be fair both of them were already pretty fit - this one likes to climb and hike, and the other plays football 3 times a week and cycles 10 miles to work a couple of times a week! I have just encouraged more variety!

    I just have to persuade my husband now - he is definitely not a runner, although very supportive of the rest of us!

  • Thanks for your report, and congratulations! My children have started running, so hopefully I'll be in a similar situation at some point.

  • Yes it's a fun thing to do - I think I saw a weekend event advertised for all the family - you could do different distances depending on age/ ability.

  • That's what we've been doing. This weekend we're attending a run that is very suitable for families. I'm running 10K, 12-year-old 6K, and 10-year old 3K. Forecast is only 2 degrees, though :(

  • Congrats to all the family, first and foremost for being such a close team. In this day and age, it's heartwarming to see. Those times are awesome!

  • Aww! Thanks! Yes we are a close family, although there is a bit of friendly sibling rivalry too!

  • Nothing wrong with a bit of rivalry, if everyone pulls together at the important times. Kiddo wipes the floor with me every time we run together, but he's a real gent when I stagger over the finish line.

  • What a gorgeous pic and well done Tom that is such a great time!!! Will you do Paris too? It's a great marathon to do.... 😎

  • Thanks J-J! No I am not doing Paris, although I expect we will go and be supporters! I really have decided that 26.2 miles is just too far for me to enjoy the training. Half marathons are the way to go!

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