Asics Greater Manchester Marathon – 2nd April 2017



It was with a certain amount of trepidation that I lined up at the start of this year’s Manchester Marathon in my yellow disposable poncho, as training hadn’t quite gone to plan. It was a lovely clear morning though, and with only 15 minutes before we crossed the line, even in my ‘G’ start pen near the back, we were soon off and away.

The Manchester course is pretty flat, and follows a rather winding urban route, heading north-east out of town before looping round and heading south via Stretford, Sale & Altrincham, and then heading north again through Urmston, and finishing in Old Trafford

Local support on the course was really good, with people handing out water and jelly babies in addition to the official water & fuel stops, and plenty of cheering and homemade signs. A couple of my favourites were “Toenails are over-rated!” and “This is just practice for the Zombie Apocalypse!”. There was plenty of music along the way – the inevitable “Keep on Running”, “I’m a Believer” (outside a church…) and the best one for me – “Gimme Shelter”. I counted about 3 choirs, and 4 Frank Sidebottom figures by the side of the road too. Towards the end there were a couple of makeshift ‘runners showers’ in the form of some local residents setting their garden sprinklers over the road – which was very welcome, and the sunshine had become rather warm at that point.

Between about 9 and 16 miles there was a two-way section where we could see the faster runners coming the other way, something I actually find quite motivating. I did look to see if I could see my fellow Kippax Harrier Craig Worley, but I fear he’d already sped through by the time I got to that bit!

I can’t say I have too many memories of the final few miles, as I’d had to put the auto-pilot on and switch the brain to elsewhere, but it was a relief to see the finishing line from about a mile off, although I could swear someone kept moving it further away!

Eventually though, I did cross the line, and collected the rather attractive light blue t-shirt, and enormous finishers medal, and headed off to re-fuel with some much anticipated food and coffee. (PS. My time – 4:28:34….). We then spent the evening exploring the re-developed Salford Quays area, which is well worth a visit, and consuming another celebratory meal.

Photos courtesy of Ian Downham my loyal supporter!

(Helen & Martyn – you probably didn’t spot me as I was in my Water Aid shirt & not club vest – sorry about that!)

Written by Karen Downham