So the day had finally arrived to attempt my 1st marathon!
Got up at 6am on a Sunday. That was the 1st shock to the system!
Made it to the minibus in time despite having had to scrape ice off the car to get there and we were Manchester bound.
Arrived in good time but then we joined the queue to drop our bags off which was very disorganised and John Naylor & I ended having to jog to the start.
I got to the start with literally seconds to spare when the gun went and we were off.
Months of training and commitment on those cold & wet Winter nights were finally going to be put to the test.
With around 12,000 runners in the event and thousands more spectators, it made for a great atmosphere. Not only were there regular water/gel stations but also people were handing out jelly babies, wine gums and snacks en route.
The sun came out and the day was warming up.
My no 1 goal was to complete the course but I was also aiming to finish in under 4 hours 30 mins.
At mile 8 things were going well and I was in touching distance of the 4.15 pacer. My only concern at this point was ensuring that I had conserved enough energy for the latter stages.
I maintained a good steady pace and every so often had another chunk of my milky bar!
I was feeling pretty comfortable and was cheered on by Martin Foley, Colin Manning and Anneke at various points as well as Karyn and my kids at mile 17.
Slowly but surely the effort of maintaining a 10min 17 seconds pace was becoming increasingly more challenging and at mile 20 I resorted to walking for a minute or so. The next couple of miles were tough but when the 4.30 pacer went past me, this was the signal to dig in deep and find a bit extra. I was helped by some motivational music for the next mile which gave me a lift. Another short walk and before you could say “red rose running club rules” I was 2 miles from the finish and was determined to keep running unti, the end. The crowds were very vocal shouting words of encouragement and as I passed Karyn and my girls for the 2nd time, I could see the finish about half a mile away. It took all my strength and determination to keep going and within a few more minutes I’d made it.