Monday, 29 May 2017
I ran in this event, over the 10 km distance, once before the days of this blog, and in 2013, when it didn’t clash with the TGO Challenge. This year it didn’t clash, and the organisers introduced a Half Marathon event. It seemed a good opportunity to try to raise some more much needed funds for the Levana School Partnership, so I entered the longer event, albeit in the knowledge that I would be hampered by tired legs from the TGO Challenge.
Yesterday’s events were somewhat overshadowed by last week’s terrorism in Manchester. A minute’s silence was held before each event and the mood was a little sombre. Just being there was all that was important to many people.
Here’s what the start looked like last year. This year will have produced a very similar image.
Sue and I caught the tram into town and she relieved me of any warm clothing before taking the picture at the top of this entry. Then she headed off to the Etihad Stadium whilst I waited in an area marked for people who expected a time of around two hours, although my target was 2.10.
With about 2000 runners ahead of me, once the hooter had sounded it took two or three minutes to reach the start line, then it was fairly easy to run at your own pace in the near perfect conditions until the Mancunian Way was reached. Unfortunately all the runners were contained in just half of the dual carriageway, and then in just half of that, to leave space for runners coming the other way.
Sue took this picture of the leaders at the Etihad Stadium. The chap on the right came home first in 1 hour 12 minutes. I met them coming the other way a few minutes later.
There’s a narrow bridge at the Etihad that proved to be something of a bottleneck. Sue wasn’t able to spot me but this picture shows how busy it was.
The slow start did me no harm, and I was able to speed up a bit after getting back over the bridge (9 km).
It was good to receive support from parkrunners Andy and Kate at Old Trafford (16 km), by which time the running was becoming much harder.
It’s uphill to the finish, even if it doesn’t look like it. After having overtaken many people during the second half of the race, in the last few metres a whole crowd of folk went sprinting past when I could only just maintain my own modest pace…
All those pictured below went past me and I was only a few metres from the tape.
The finishing time of 1.50.16 was really most pleasing. Position 1451 out of 5777, and 4th out of 37 in my age group. Another Wythenshawe parkrunner, Hugh Mckenna, finished just behind me.
My split times were:
1st 5 km – 27.16
2nd 5 km – 26.18
3rd 5 km – 25.19
4th 5 km – 25.26
Last 1.1 km – 5.57, so I slowed down at the end. Couldn’t have gone much faster.
Sue appeared to meet me, as did a most appreciative trustee of the charity.
Here’s the route – click on the image for a slightly larger one.
So it was a successful outing, and I’m very pleased with the fund raising aspect. After recently donating in relation to my Toulouse Marathon effort, far more people than expected have put their hands in their pockets again. It really is much appreciated.
I’ve noticed a couple of friends were taking part in the day’s events.
John Hazleton managed 1.38 for the half marathon, making him the fastest athlete over the age of 60.
Michael Dunne, my parkrun sparring pal (our birthdays are a week apart) took part in the 10 km race and finished in an impressive 44.48, making him the fastest athlete over the age of 65.
Well done, John and Michael.
Wednesday, 10 May 2017
Tomorrow I head off to Oban to walk across Scotland for a couple of weeks. Details are here.
Immediately I get back I’m taking part in the Great Manchester Run (or is that ‘Great Run Manchester?). It’s normally a 10 kilometre run, but this year they have added a half marathon event. Perhaps foolishly, I entered it some time ago and the arrival of a timing chip a few days ago suddenly reminded me of my foolhardiness.
I know a lot of you sponsored me recently for my first marathon attempt (reported on here), but this is only my second half marathon (the first one was some years ago in Macclesfield) and it will be hard work with tired legs from carrying a 15 kilo rucksack for nearly 200 miles across the mountains of Scotland.
So I’ve started another JustGiving page, here, if anyone would care to make a small donation. The Levana Partnership team will be really most appreciative. I know the money I raised by doing the Toulouse Marathon (£3150 including Gift Aid) enabled the charity to provide much needed support to a second township school in Cape Town.
The page is here, should you wish to donate.
The next posting should be from Oban after a long train ride….
Thursday, 14 April 2011
It’s nearly three weeks since JJ and I cycled down to Wilmslow to ‘support’ (or should that read ‘mock’) Steve in his futile bid to break 1 hour 30 mins for the half-marathon route.
“It was too crowded” he explained, “I’d have done it in an hour if I hadn’t been tripped up at the start!”
To be fair, it was pretty crowded at the start, with nearly 5,000 people vying to be first off the mark. The conditions were nigh on perfect though, and despite having done no training, I was wishing that I’d been able to gain a late entry. It would have been my second half marathon. Never mind.
I was keen to spot Alastair, who finished about 10 minutes behind Steve, but he was camera shy and hid behind other runners every time he went past. I think.
Anyway, for the benefit of JJ, Steve and anyone else who is interested, the slideshow of the 11 snaps I took on the day, is here.
Tuesday, 29 September 2009
I’d never done one, so, being free, I decided during the week to join him. I’d had ambitions to tick off this particular challenge for a while, but hadn’t wanted to put myself out to do it.
Against my better judgement – I have dodgy knees - I do a bit of jogging just as a way of exercising – a 1.75 mile circuit down the canal a couple of times a week – actually about 12 miles in the last 5 weeks, so I’d done some training.
I’ve never attempted to jog 13 miles without stopping, so it would be unknown territory, and with a deadline of 2 hours 35 minutes I estimated that I’d take about 2¼ hours.
The ticket inspector on the tram gave me a quizzical look as I showed him my concessionary travel card….”going to do a half marathon!” I bragged, pointing to my breakfast (the banana was sticking out of my pocket).
The sports ground gradually filled with around 1000 competitors, and half an hour before the 10 am start many of these started to jog around the track. Luckily (and I later discovered this was a big advantage) nobody had handed me a handicap card and I didn’t have to run anywhere until the start of the race.
Alastair found time (in between going to the toilet then almost immediately returning to the queue for said toilet) to join these folk despite nobody demanding that he try to tire himself out before the start.
I was glad I’d not drunk much – that toilet queue did look a bit desperate.
As 10 am approached, I said cheerio to Al, who shouldered his way to the front of the pack. Not wanting to be trampled in the rush, I stayed at the back, expecting to remain there for a good two hours.
A gun sounded in the distance and after a while I shuffled forward, keeping step with the rest of the crowd. The pace was very gentle.
Trotting along quite happily, I found I could keep up with most of those around me. I spent a while chatting to some of them, though they became increasingly reluctant to talk. “Do you have a plan?” (I was looking for inspiration) “Where have you come from?” “Are you doing this for charity?” “Nice day, isn’t it?”
“Bit steep, this hill!” – no answer….
After three miles lots of people stopped for water – surely if they were thirsty it would have been better to have a drink before the start, I thought.
Anyway, overtaking people became quite fun. I developed a routine – catch up, chat, move on.
After six miles there was more water. I took a cup. I now realise why runners pour such water over their heads – if you try to drink it whilst jogging you choke! So, not wanting to get wet, I just threw the rest of mine away.
At this point it got a bit hilly. I’d decided to try to maintain my gentle jogging pace for as long as possible, but many around me slowed down here. I slowed down myself when I caught sight of Alastair’s distinctive leggings ahead of me, and it was with some embarrassment that I passed him on the next hill.
I have to admit, the hills – there was over 1000 feet of ascent – did get harder as the race progressed, but the weather was excellent, and there were plenty of people to chat to whilst I wasn’t admiring the legs of number 1312, a triathlete who kept re-passing me. She looked quite fit and I was puzzled that I could keep up with her – perhaps she was saving herself for the bike ride…?
The pictures (borrowed from the web site) show Alastair looking rather determined, my ‘mentor’ for the day - number 1312, and me crossing the finishing line (I speeded up for that!).
“You’ll never get a PB on this hilly course” commented an old guy at the finish. “I just have!” I grinned.
Some (notably Alastair) may be pleased to hear that I had stiff calves for a while after this sustained bout of exercise. Luckily, the knees seem to have survived.