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Chris Ashmead's review of the Manchester Marathon

My Manchester experience started early. Up at 5.15am to get my porridge ready and to give me time to eat it with my bread, jam and banana.  Our taxi was ready and waiting at 6.45 outside our Airbnb.  Not the easiest journey for the driver with the road closures. We thought we would be able to walk to the start from the where we were staying and tried it the day before and found it was much further than it appeared.

Bag dropped off and the obligatory loo stop made, we headed for the start.  The atmosphere was amazing and while waiting I met a variety of people -  a doctor from Singapore who was currently working in Cardiff, a runner from West Hull, and several other local charity runners and two other Harriers , John Tansey and Claire Spear.

All went well and I averaging about 10 minute miles until about 8 miles in when I found I needed to slow my pace down.  Met two Yorkshire Wolds Way Runners, who I had seen at the East Hull 20 two weeks before and a small group of Welsh Runners from various parts of South Wales.  One of them from very close to where my Dad lived as a teenager. 

At about 12 miles I was woken out of the running reverie by Bradd shouting

“You all right Steel Man” A quick wave from Abbie and Liz and they were gone. Great to see other Harriers out on the course.

17 ½ miles in things weren’t going well and all my fatigue from the other events I had done in the previous 3 weekends really caught up with me.  I was encouraged by some other runners who I had chatted to earlier in the run and who had caught up. They kept me going for a couple of miles, but then I had to walk. Eileen phoned me at 20 miles to see how I was getting on.  She gave me a bit of a pep talk and after the call I started to run again and kept going to the finish.  I found it hard to

On the way round I kept coming across Captain America who was roasting slowing in his suit.  At one point there was a woman who almost caught up with him on about 4 occasions, unbeknown to him, and on each occasion he ran away from her.  When I caught up with the woman I said to her

“Anyone would think you were chasing Captain America!”

She laughed, but didn’t let on as to whether she was actually chasing him!!

The last two miles were really tough and I had to give myself a severe talking to in order to keep going and then, my name was being called out by Rachel and Craig. What a lift that gave me.  Then there was the finish line looming large and that overwhelming sense of relief washed over me.  My medal was popped over my head and I looked for Eileen.  Smiles, hugs and few tears and it was all over.  

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