Manchester marathon – Simon Croft

Manchester marathon – Simon Croft

Manchester marathon – Simon Croft

I love it when a plan comes together

So what would race day bring. Its in Manchester after all so bound to rain, right? Woke up to a heavy frost, in April, but at least the sun was poking out and a good day had been forecast. Sadly the road closures lead to some grey clouds gathering and some blue language. I ended up parking on some random street a couple of miles from the start as I couldnt get to the car park I had paid for and the event staff in the area had no idea.

Anyway, still managed to get to the start on time and met up with Karl Hodgson so we could run together. Both with a target of around 2:55 it made sense to pace each other and help each other out.
The race went well, very well. The first 8 miles flew by and the Red Rose Roar from the marshalls at this point was much appreciated and with good crowds round most of the course we were never far from some encouraging words.

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Halfway in under 1:26 put us well ahead of schedule and both feeling strong. We hit 16 and it was just a “caldervale” (without the hills) till the end. At 20 it was just a 10k to go but we were both really feeling it by now. For the next few miles it was just a case of grinding it out and realising how close to the end we were and how good a time was on the cards. At 24 Karl told me to kick on as he was feeling it a bit more but I knew he would still get a great time so I opened up the legs and kicked on. More Red Rose support at 25 gave me another rush and the last mile was spent overtaking those starting to really struggle. I crossed the line in 2.53:57 knocking 17 mins off my previous best in 2014.

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When I look back and compare this to my first marathon 5 years ago I cant believe that I’ve hit this time and felt so strong doing it. Its amazing what can be achieved over the years with hard work and setting yourself goals. Anyone who has not done the marathon and is thinking they can’t, well you can. Just do it. A mile is a mile whether its 6 mins or 10 mins and you will feel a rush like no other when you cross the line and join the marathon runners club.

I think I’ve earned a few days off now, a little holiday to New York next week should help the recovery, even with a 4m race in Central Park on the cards 😃
Never again? Right now I have no plans but I’ve said that before and if Natalie says she wants to make her marathon debut I’m ready to offer my pacing services 😉

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