Brighton Marathon 2016

The Brighton Marathon was the first race I entered for 2016 and at the time I wasn’t sure if I’d do it just for fun, or if I’d attempt a PB there. I hadn’t even run the London Marathon at this point. Though months later I entered the ballot again for the London Marathon having enjoyed that one so much. I then started to question whether two marathons in two weekends for 2016 would be a stupid idea, but I eventually decided it’d be a good challenge.

More months passed and I found I hadn’t been successful with the ballot, and decided to replace it with the Greater Manchester Marathon which became my PB-chasing race for the year. Around this time I also entered The Canalathon 2016 for the 50K distance – this meant I’d be running an ultra marathon and two marathons in the space of 4 weekends. With this then planned I decided Brighton wouldn’t be about times, it’d be just about having fun… and trying my best to still get around the course with tired legs.

So with the first two parts of the challenge behind me “all” I needed to do was to focus on active recovery after Manchester and to not worry about Brighton. Seemed easy enough – get there, run around, don’t bother checking pace, and enjoy the inevitable #ukrunchat meet-ups. Simples.

 

Pre-race day

Driving to Brighton from Leicester takes a long time so I decided for the second weekend running to take the train. Brighton does things similar to London though and hands out the race numbers at an expo on the days leading up to the event – meaning you have to be there at least the day before the race. The difference to London though is that you don’t tell them which starting pen you want to be in until you’re at the Expo so you have no idea what your race number will be beforehand. Due to this I had to take a reasonably early train in so I wouldn’t arrive at the expo too late.

This did not go entirely according to plan though – when I got to London Victoria for the start of the last leg of my journey I found my train had been cancelled due to a fatality near East Croyden meaning a lot of trains weren’t going through. With a bit of figuring things out I realised I could get around it by taking a couple of different trains. I did however arrive in Brighton about 40 minutes later than I’d planned, and was welcomed by the pouring rain.

The rain though, I think may have been an advantage – it had kept people away from the Brighton Centre which meant I’d been able to go straight in and collect my race number. When asked what starting corral I wanted I was a little tempted to see if I could push again this weekend to get close to last weekend’s PB but decided I should “behave” and stick with the 3:30 – 3:40 I’d planned. I would still have been happy with any time but this was a rough guideline of where I thought I’d be.

Brighton Expo

I then spent the next 3o minutes wandering around the expo and caught the end of one of the talks. I didn’t think it was as good as the London expo, but I guess that’s because it was considerably smaller. One useful bit of information from this though was how to handle the paper cups – if you pinch the top of the cup as you take it then you can avoid splashing it everywhere and drink form it easier. I then headed over to the corner of the room to meet-up with quite a few from the #ukrunchat community.

After a quick group photo we dispersed and went out own ways. I started by taking another quick look around at the bits I hadn’t yet seen, and was actually quite tempted by a flipbelt. Instead though I left and headed down to the beach to take some photographs. I was amazed though that as I left the queue had grown to go out the building along it’s front, passed the cinema, and around the corner and the next corner! To think only an hour before I hadn’t needed to queue just shows what a difference it makes once the rain stops.

It wasn’t quite time to check into my hotel so had one more #ukrunchat meet-up at a beach cafe before heading to where I’d be staying the night. It was time off my feet and a chance to have another cup of tea – something I later found I wouldn’t be able to have at the hotel due to lack of tea bags. The hotel wasn’t an amazing place, but it didn’t have to be. I had two hours to waste, so I wandered around with my phone taking photographs (I wish I’d had one of my DSLRs with me!). I must have covered about 4-5 miles in this time, starting off with the waterfront and the pier before wandering into town.

As I picked up a few bits for breakfast whilst out I then had to make a diversion back to the hotel to drop them off, and took the opportunity to get my race number attached to my tee ready. This left me just enough time to wander over to the Brighton Royal Observatory for a few more photos before reaching the Bella Italia we’d all be meeting up at for the last #ukrunchat meet-up of the day.

UKRunchat @ Bella Italia

Although my usual carb-loading fuel would be Spaghetti Bolognese I’ve occasionally deviated from this – one training 26.2 mile run was done fuelled by a roast dinner for example, so I decided having a lasagna wouldn’t be too bad an idea. The evening was fun and it was good to catch-up with those I’d met before, and get to know those that I hadn’t previously. We were all going to go for some small desserts however it turned out they were out of the majority of flavours so most of us decided not to bother.

By the time I got back to my hotel (with some diversions for more photographs) it was just before 22:00 so made sure I was completely ready for the race and finally got some sleep.

 

Race day

I woke up at 03:00 and never really went back to sleep. Slightly earlier than planned I had breakfast at 06:00 and took my time getting ready – thinking the pre-race prep for Manchester worked well so would try the same here. It seemed relatively warm but decided I’d wear a compression layer underneath my tee just in case I’d misjudged it.

At 08:00 I set off in the direction of Preston Park, having left my backpack at the hotel. My only option was to leave my backpack behind, as to many people’s dismay the kit bags provided were too small to fit my backpack into. There were two stories going about here – one that it was a mix-up when ordering, and then later another message saying it was done in the interest of safety and security. Not entirely sure how that helps to be honest.

It was only a 30 minute walk so was effectively like doing a warmup. I couldn’t leave out any earlier either though as no staff were about before 08:00. The closer I got to the park the busier it got and the slower my progress was. Eventually though I got there and noticed they only had a handful of portaloos for the thousands of people in the park so immediately joined a queue with 45 minutes until the start time.

Whilst in the queue, two ladies behind me, both with bibs indicating an expected time of 5+ hours were belittling another runner who was larger than them and how unrealistic they thought it was about him running, and that he was in the corral ahead of them. It’s completely the wrong behaviour in my opinion – they either run because they enjoy it, or because they want to lose weight, or both. And who’s to say he wasn’t going to finish ahead of them! They didn’t know him, so they shouldn’t have judged him.

Time passed and I’d barely moved in the queue and the red corral started. When the blue corral started I thought maybe I’d stick around and wait as I wasn’t that far from the front, and could start with the next corral instead. However the next corral started just before I got to the front of the queue so ran after them and joined the back of the group. The path to the start line was incredibly muddy from when the mini marathon had been run on it in the rain the day before. Either they’d not thought about it, or hadn’t had time – but they should really have put some boards down.

Before crossing the line I actually decided to join a queue to “high five” Zoë Ball, a presenter from BBC Radio 1. The mud was then left behind though tried to clear it from my shoe a little as I ran. The first few miles were hard work – everyone around me was running at around a 9-10 minute/mile pace, but even though I was taking it easy I did really want to be running a 8min/mile pace so found myself weaving around a lot, and slowing, and speeding up. In trying to overtake I even tripped on a traffic cone and at that point decided what I was doing was silly and I’ll just hold back and overtake as and when I can. Other (male) runners who had not been able to get through the queues earlier were also dashing to the side of the park to “relieve” themselves.

The first water station passed, and then at the second I thought I was getting quite warm so grabbed a cup and tried the “pinching” method as I grabbed it. Sure enough it worked! As I passed the third water station though I did slip on cup, but regained by balance pretty quickly and carried on going. Up to this point the route had included a couple of hills, one of which was fairly steep, and had been winding around gradually getting closer to the sea front – it had even passed the top end of the road the hotel I’d stayed in was on! My legs were feeling good and was confident I could hold this pace, despite the hills, for a long time yet so continued on, not looking at my watch but trying to take everything in instead.

Not worrying about time made this a very different race for me and I actually took notice of the masses of people that were out in force to support the runners and the various bits of music being played as we went. I paid more attention to the other runners too – in part because there were more of them about than I was used to, and noticed so many different charities being represented, and a lot of costumes too. My overtaking at this point had become fairly consistent as I was running out of “yellows” to overtake – by mile 6 I was amongst the blues I’d intended on being amongst to start with.

Once the route reached the seafront it turned East and headed out into the countryside, with a long steady incline before heading back down amongst the hills. I started to look out for other runners that I might recognise but to start with couldn’t see any – though the crowds had thinned out enough now for me to mostly be settled into a rhythm. Somewhere around mile 8 I was ready for more water as the station approached – though due to the block of people that had been through a moment before there were only two cups of water ready – unfortunately the runner at the side of me grabbed both so I realised I’d have to wait until the next. Unfortunate, but nothing I could do about it.

Just before mile 9 the course then turned back on itself to go back towards Brighton. Around this point I spotted @AdamPrav but didn’t get to say “hi”. Again there were parts of miles 9, 10 and 11 where forward movement was slowed, but I didn’t worry about it – I just stepped around when it was safe and sensible to do so. By mile 11 I realised I’d not looked at my watch since before the first mile marker and then realised I should have looked at mile 8 to see which side of the 1 hour time I was. I looked and found my pace was around the 07:30 – 07:45 point so was going faster than intended, but had no idea how long I’d been doing that for.

Sometime around mile 12 I saw @amy_everett in the opposite direction heading out of Brighton. It was great to see her as this would be her first marathon and had been working so hard. It was good to see her to know she was doing okay.

Finally the half way point was reached and around mile 14 headed away from the seafront. At mile 15 I checked my watch for the third time and realised that at around 1hr50 I was going to hit 16 miles ahead of 2 hours so was on target for a better time than I’d intended. I didn’t give it much thought really, but found myself needing to stop at mile 16.5 (approximately) to finally use one of the portaloos I’d not been able to get to before the race.

Starting back after this stop was a real struggle and just before the mile 18 marker I stopped, just to be grabbed on the should by another runner pulling me into motion again and saying:

you’ve been pulling me around for the last 5 miles, I’m not going to let you stop now!

I thought that was an incredibly kind thing to do, so spoke to Martin (I think that was his name) for the next few miles. This part of the route was boring as it went into an industrial estate that led towards the power station. I kept going though as he’d asked me to help pace him to 3hr30 – a time which would have put me sub-3hr20 though, but found I needed the portaloo again just after mile 20 so told him to keep on going.

I think this second stop ruined the remainder of the race for me. It was a longer stop, to make sure I wouldn’t need to stop again, but then found myself struggling to keep on running. Over the course of the next 5 miles (just as with Manchester!) I’d spend more and more time walking. It was getting incredibly warm by this point though and I’d stopped using jelly babies for fuel some miles back. I was now taking on water at not quite each water station, but certainly quite a few of them – it was also an excuse to walk, even though I knew I could now run okay with a cup in hand. I just didn’t feel like it.

After mile 22 I needed to cool down more so took off my compression layer and tied it to my media belt that held my phone. It was obvious how the heat was affecting other runners – I was coming across more and more flat out on the side of the road, some being attended to by paramedics – some being rehydrated, and some stretching out calf pains.

Each mile was heading back to the Brighton Pier and the finish line now, but I really didn’t feel like running even though spectators were yelling at me to. Even as I got close to mile 26 I was still walking, but then started running again to sprint the last bit towards the finish.

Once across the line I was handed a medal, a foil blanket over my shoulders, and then a bottle of water, finisher’s tee, protein bar, graze box, and a packet of Jacobs salt & vinegar crisps. The protein bar wasn’t too nice, but the crisps were just what I needed and tasted great! I then quickly got my photo taken with my medal and headed out of the finishers area.

I had finished with a time of 03:35:02 with an overall position of 1959 out of 10948 (first 18%). Taking it easy had made a reasonable difference in terms of position, but time-wise I don’t think it was too bad – and was exactly (well okay, almost) half-way between the two times I’d predicted. In my age category, Mens 18-34, I ranked 663 out of 3658 so was in the first 18% for that too. Due to me starting in the wrong wave it meant I’d ended up with a 23 minute difference between gun time and chip time – something unheard of in my other races!

I’d had fun though, and it’d been a good weekend, and also quite different to what I was used to. The support in Twitter was incredibly though – so a massive thank you to #ukrunchat for making it a good one. The crazy period of racing was now over and I could look forward to a week off racing before doing a 5K and a 10K race over the next four weeks.

MyAsics Greater Manchester Marathon 2016

Up until this point I’d done three marathons as races. My first was almost a year to the day after I started running and I wasn’t overly pleased with it, even though it was a sub-4 hour one. Despite training to 21 miles I found that when I got to 18 miles, I struggled to continue running after having stopped for water.

My second was the London Marathon, and everything seemed to go well. To start with the training felt like it had gone well, the expo and the #ukrunchat meetup the day before was enjoyable and a new experience. On top of this the race felt good and the atmosphere was unbelievable. To make things better I even managed to get a time I was more than happy with.

My third marathon was the Robin Hood one and that was a disaster for me. My training was tough – throughout the summer I’d had issues keeping myself motivated during long runs, and the heat hadn’t helped either (especially during my time in the blistering heat of Texas). On the day I just couldn’t keep running in the second half of the race as numbers thinned out, and found myself slower than ever (though somehow still beating my first marathon time). By this point is was feeling like I’d lost the speed I’d had during the spring time, and wondered if what I’d managed with London had been a fluke.

 

Training

For the Greater Manchester Marathon I’d heard it was a course of PB potential, and I figured it was a good chance to redeem myself. For this I considered the Canalathon 50K as training, and my training runs leading up to that continued to have tempo runs, and even during my long runs at the weekend I’d calculated how much of that run would need to be at or faster than marathon pace in order to push me hard enough to make sure I’d be ready. For example, the week I did a 22 mile training run the first 5.5 miles were slightly slower than half marathon pace, and then a further 8.5 miles were at marathon pace. The rest of the run was treated as ultra training and included some brief walking during every mile. By dividing the run into three it gave me three different targets to meet, and missing one of them wouldn’t be a big deal – so it helped mentally.

As the weeks of training ticked by I managed to set a new 10K PB and also two 10 mile PBs in consecutive weeks. With the knowledge I could cover 16.5 miles in just under two hours I was confident that as the training led into Canalathon that I was on target to attempt meeting my goal. As with London, I set myself three different goals with my intention being to aim for the middle one, if I fell short on the day then I’d still have a goal to aim for.

  • Gold: 3h15
  • Silver: 3h20
  • Bronze: 3h25

With only 10 minutes between my seemingly unachievable goal, and my worst-case scenario I wasn’t leaving myself much room for error. I didn’t refer to them as “best case” or “worst case” scenarios in my head though – I felt Gold, Silver, Bronze were better as they were less negative. In sport it’s all about having a positive mental attitude – if I could go into the race feeling good about it then perhaps I could achieve at least one of these goals.

Even when I did 13 miles of run/walking during a 26.2 mile training run I’d managed 3h40 so it felt like this wasn’t unreasonable, and in my 26.6 mile training run I had been on target to beat my London Marathon time. I was feeling quite positive at this point and although I hadn’t run for as much as I’d have liked to, I think Canalathon went better than I could have hoped too. For the 13 days after this though it was a struggle to find the energy to carry on training so I was left unsure how Manchester would go. I’d just need to see how I felt on the day.

 

Pre-race Day

Usually I drive to races, but I decided that with Manchester I’d be putting in a lot of effort, and it would likely be a hassle to find parking on the day when the hotel I’d be staying at was right by the start line. With this in mind I had instead chosen to take the train to Manchester. Unlike the travel for my last race, I didn’t have to be up early and as long as I was at the train station in Leicester by 10:00 everything would be okay; so was able to take it easy in the morning having packed for the race the night before.

Once in Manchester I still had some way to travel to get to where I’d be staying. Fortunately though it only cost me £5.80 for a weekend metrolink ticket that would get me around the city. It was fortunate I got this instead of an individual trip ticket as in my rush to get on a tram I got on the wrong one, and it wasn’t until after about 40 minutes that I realised a journey that was supposed to take 28 minutes had not got me to Old Trafford. I headed back to Cornfield and took the correct tram, and eventually I got to my hotel for the weekend an hour later than expected.

Once again there was a chance for a #ukrunchat meet-up, and there were a few people I were hoping meet for the first time as well. Just as it started raining I headed out back to the city centre to meet up with @Roddis22 – a good friend who I get on well with on Twitter. She was doing the marathon too and was hanging out with one of her local friends. I eventually did meet up with them, but not before more tram drama. A tram had broken down on a single piece of track that meant no trams could pass until they’d got it moved. After 20-30 minutes they finally did this and I was in the city centre ready for the first meet-up of the weekend.

It was great fun and time passed far too quickly, as before I knew it I had to leave for Frankie & Bennies where there’d be a larger #ukrunchat meet-up. About 9 of us turned up and it was a great meal and really good to catch up with those I’d met before, and meet those I’d not met before. In a traditional carb-loading manor I went for a spaghetti bolognese there.

Afterwards I headed back to the hotel, but thanks to directions from Sherie (again, was great to catch up!) took an alternative way there (which was actually more efficient), with a diversion to get milk for breakfast along the way!

 

Race Day

I set my alarm for 06:30 but in all honesty I didn’t need it. The room was overly warm and there was no way to turn the heating off. At 02:45 the occupants of the room at the side of me went crashing into their room, obviously having been on a night out. What’s amazing though is that at 06:00 they were up with screaming kids running down the corridor and from the sounds of it, getting ready for the race also.

I took my time getting ready and left the hotel at around 08:20. Whilst sitting around the hotel I’d been thinking about the likelihood of freezing to death whilst waiting for the race to start, and trying my best not to think of how hard I needed to push myself today.

I’d left my bag at the hotel as I figured it’d be safer than whatever they’d have as a bagdrop at the race. Fortunately with my hotel so close to the start I could see the meeting point as soon as I left the hotel – as I walked there I noticed they were still unloading the portaloos for people to use before the race start. It seemed a bit late to me considering the race was starting in 40 minutes and there were already massive queues forming.

Before the Greater Manchester Marathon 2016

A few #ukrunchat-ers met-up here, outside The Trafford pub, before the race; again some familiar faces and some new. This is one of the best things about the running community – how friendly everyone is, and I’m sure I’ve made some good friends over the past year as a result.

The temperature was warmer than I’d expected, and I actually felt comfortable in the layers I had. After a group photo I decided I’d have to leave the others behind and make my way to starting group B as I had quite a walk from this zone.

As the time drew closer to 09:00 we all shuffled forward into a starting position – leaving me just behind the archway over the road that I’d photographed from a distance not long before. When the gun went everyone continued shuffling forward until there was enough space to break into a very gentle run. I had a rough idea where the start was, but there was no gantry over the road to really say where it was, but I had enough chance to spot the start mat to get my watch going as I crossed it.

I’d worn a base layer and a tee as the weather app on my phone suggested it was going to be around 3C at the start and around 8C by the end so figured it might get a bit toasty in a base layer in the last few miles, but I’d be able to cope. In the first mile though I soon started to question the weather report and thought it felt like it was getting closer to it’s later prediction already.

To start with the course headed towards the city but looped back round on itself very quickly and headed up towards Media City, an area of Manchester filled with sound stages for TV production. Although it’s not a program I watch, one of the buildings was labelled with “Coronation Street”, one of the “soaps” in the UK, and the ITV channel logo. I thought that was a little interesting to see, and before we knew it we were looping back on ourselves again so we could see runners behind us – a good thing as it means you get to give a friendly wave to them.

At around mile 6 the route then took us straight passed the hotel I’d been staying in – a point at which I wondered if I should take off my base layer and throw it at the hotel as I passed. A silly thought, and one I could do nothing about as by the time I thought of this I was passed it. Although the Greater Manchester Marathon is the flattest marathon in the UK, there are still hills and we’d encountered a few gentle inclines already by this point. From this point onwards we were headed away from the city.

In my head I’d split the race into sections – mile 8 for the start of eating jelly babies, mile 8.5 for when I wanted to be at the 1 hour mark, mile 16 for when I wanted to be at the 2 hour mark, and then mile 21 from which point I decided it would be okay to walk from if I needed to. Might sound crazy, but I knew I could still meet my target if I didn’t drop below 10min/mile.

After a while it came to another point where the road was split in two, and around this time the first of wheelchair racers zipped passed, with the next one a good few minutes behind. By mile 10 I started to think of where I’d be in my run if I’d been doing a 26.2 mile run from home, and started to visualise the route. It took my mind off where I was running for a few moments, but before I knew it a water bottle came flying at me from a runner who hadn’t looked where he was throwing it. It soon shook me back to reality, but before I got to mile 11 it felt like I was going to vomit. It made me think that I’d underestimated how warm I was, so I swallowed and kept on running as the route.

This next bit was probably the steepest hill in the entire route, and wasn’t anywhere near as bad as some hills I’ve done – and didn’t last long either. This led us into the town centre of Timperley where the streets were lined with people cheering us on. Up until here we’d had mostly great support with only a few stretches where there weren’t really any supporters (possibly due to the location). At this point I started to find my rhythm again and was starting to enjoy it as I crossed the mat marking the half way point. It was in this town it then looped back and started to head back towards where we’d come from – along the path we’d seen oncoming wheelchair athletes and elites quite a few minutes before. This was my chance to get some more water and take a gulp to try and rehydrate.

On my way down the hill, as I was doing my 15th mile, I spotted @Mazzie1111 but didn’t get to wave or say “hi” as by the time it’d registered in my head who it was we’d passed each other. It did remind me at this point though to start looking out for other #ukrunchat runners as I’d likely be passing some again soon. Sure enough I saw @SarahDevall, but she was on the far side of the oncoming runners so was difficult to say “hi” to. I was starting to really struggle with the heat at this point, but soon saw @Sherieamore1 coming the other way and actually got to wave and high five as we passed! It turned out that getting to interact with another runner, and a friendly face was all I needed to keep on pushing forwards.

As I started to falter the amount of people supporting the runners kept me going a while after this, and at mile 18 I was still running and getting the splits I needed to get the PB I wanted. Not just the “silver” time, but possibly better than the “gold” one too (see above for how I named the different time goals), but I hadn’t realised that at this point. Once I passed mile 19 I decided enough was enough – I needed to cool down, and water wasn’t helping. I slowed to a walk and stripped off my t-shirt and base layer (sorry everyone, hope it didn’t make you feel sick), put the base layer around the waist and got my technical tee back on so I could continue running.

I then continued running for some time, and at mile 20 although I’d done the last mile split in 09:00, I was back running and managed to get the next mile back to the splits I was looking for. This bit though, along Carrington Lane was really nice. There was a field on the right-hand side with a number of horses in and after looking quizzically at us then started to run along side, churning up the mud. It was a great sight, and I really wish I’d had my phone out to record some video – again something I didn’t think of at the time.

Before getting to those horses though, something unexpected happened – I was at most 2 centimetres way from being hit from behind by a cyclist that was one of three that were cycling like their lives depended on it, and started weaving through the runners. Okay maybe they were training for a cycling event, but some common sense from them wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Just before I hit mile 22 I then changed my strategy to taking 1 minute walking breaks for every mile so walked along some of the straight that was line with speakers before continuing running. This time though I started to feel a twinge in both calves, but carried on running, albeit at a slightly slower pace with a short walk. After about half a mile after passing the mile 22 sign, I then passed another 22 mile sign and the runner at the side of me commented that they must be playing mind games with us. The mile 23 sign though was then around the right place! Once passing it I then slowed to a walk again having had my calves cramp up quite a few times during that last stretch which was really affecting the pace, when I was actually running. Not long after this the 3:15 pacer ran straight passed me – I’d not realised I’d been in front of him, and considering how much pace I’d lost over the past few miles I must have been on target for a comfortable sub-3:15 race until I lost it. I knew though that it was down to loss of salt – my forehead was coated with it.

For the miles that followed it was a struggle – I was managing shorter and shorter distances before my calves were giving me trouble and my running had turned into a sort of half-limp in between walking breaks. Eventually though the end was in sight, but I couldn’t keep running. I had to walk about half of the long stretch to the finish and then tried to run the last bit, each step causing absolute pain.

 

I looked at my watch as I crossed the finish line and noticed it was sub-3:20 – hoping it was accurate as not only was it a PB, but it also beat my intended goal. A goal which I thought I couldn’t meet after having run Canalathon.

Moments later I was handed the medal – one I felt I’d actually earned after those hellish 5 miles at the end, and was then handed a bottle of water and a goodie bag. I handed the bag back though when I realised the sign above the stand said “Medium” – obviously referring to a t-shirt size, which resulted in a snarky comment from the lady saying “well it did say it was medium”. I didn’t care though, I just kept on walking and collected a small t-shirt. Just before leaving the finishers funnel there was also beer and SiS gels being given out for those that wanted them.

The goodie bag consisted of:

  • the usual assortment of leaflets,
  • a finishers tee celebrating the 40th anniversary,
  • drumstick “squashies” sweets,
  • Aunty Winifred’s Sweet and Salty popcorn,
  • Jack Links Beef Jerky,
  • Urban Fruit strawberries,
  • and a Kellogs Nutrigrain breakfast bar.

A good assortment, and although I didn’t eat any of them on the day, it was the best goodie bag I’d had after a race this year.

The car park for the Old Trafford cricket ground was mayhem though. I battled my way out and then hobbled back to Chester Road to pick up my backpack from the hotel. It felt like a longer walk than the day before, but my legs were really aching.

From there I walked over to the Toll Gate Inn for another #ukrunchat meet-up that involved cake! I then heard about the baggage situation and how people were having to queue for two or more hours in many cases due to the level of disorganisation there. I did feel bad for them – to have such an amazing race with a brilliant atmosphere just for it to be spoilt by that. I did hope though that it wouldn’t spoil anyone’s day. I spent a few hours here and took the opportunity to have a drink, and to have some food with plenty of salt.

On the way back to Manchester Piccadilly I even bumped into @designrach on the tram – yet another person on #ukrunchat I’d not met before so was good to meet!

At last the second of my “big” races for the month was over and I could start focusing on active recovery in time for the Brighton Marathon the following weekend. My official time for this race was 3:19:31 in position 1124 out of 9368 finishers (first 12%). I do at least know that with enough salt I could do better and so my next target needs to be to go sub-3:15. It confirmed though that the training plan I’d come up with to get me around Canalathon and to PB here had worked – I was shocked!

For me, the whole experience was great and I enjoyed getting to meet up with people before the race. I can’t thank @Sherieamore1 enough for having organised the meet-ups and the meal.