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19 June 2017 @ 08:24 pm
The Great Manchester Half Marathon  

Yeah, so the Great Manchester Run was a little emotional this year. Lots of people were wearing yellow ribbons, or I heart Manchester shirts or banners. Armed police were conspicuous by their presence both at the start and at the two stadia on the route. The Half Marathonn started with a minutes' silence for those killed in the bombing at the Arian Grande concert.

The Half Marathon is a new event. The Great Manchester run is usually a 10k with runners organised into waves that depart at staggered intervals. This year there was a half marathon scheduled to start at 9am, followed by various junior events on shorter courses with the 10k itself starting with the "Elite Women" at 12:45. Having looked at the routes beforehand I thought the half marathon route took off along the Mancunion Way to the Etihad stadium and back towards the start where it would join up with the 10k route. I was a little surprised therefore, on joining up with the 10k route to realise the numbers on the distance markers didn't match up and in fact the half marathon took a shortcut just by the Trafford Stadium. Presumably the assumption was that even the slowest of the half marathoners would have passed this point by the time the elite women on the 10k came past - otherwise it was going to be a bit of a marshalling nightmare.

claraste and family were staying the night and claraste expressed some interest in cheering me along, so we consulted the map and tried to figure out timings. The Great Run also offered a tracking app, which I assumed would notify people every time I crossed one of the time points (at roughly 5km gaps). We agreed that I would look for cheerers on the Mancunion Way on the trip back from the Etihad Stadium. In the event, the children unsurpsingly showed no interest in leaving the comfort of the sofa so B and claraste left them to it. The app, though, was considerably more effective than I had thought and actually tracked my progress in real time so they knew exactly when I would be running past them. This was convenient though I do think it sounds like a bit of a stalkers' paradise - you could search for any runner by surname on the app and then track their movements. App notwithstanding, B. and claraste still arrived in plenty of time and so saw the front runners and car go past before filming me.

I had been training for a race pace of 5 minutes 15 seconds per kilometre which would get me to the finish line in under 1 hour 55 minutes. I knew if I could up that to 5 minutes 10 seconds then I would finish in under 1 hour 50 minutes but at the risk that I would get too tired half way around and have to slow down a lot. In the event, the Mancunion Way was sufficiently packed with runners that it was difficult to maintain a steady pace - every time the road went upwards the pack slowed down and the space was too narrow for overtaking, so I decided around the 3km point that I wasn't even going to aim for 5 minutes 10 seconds. When we got to the Etihad Stadium the race course went over a narrow footbridge and the pack slowed down even further. By the time I went back over the footbridge it had slowed to a walk on the other side! At this point I passed Amanda who was responsible for getting me to sign up for the race and we waved in passing. The runners were thinning out by this point and over-taking and maintaining pace was much easier on the way back.

The second half of the race, once I joined the 10k route, felt quite hard though I more or less managed to maintain my pace - I was slower than 5:15 in kilometres 17, 19 and 20 but picked up towards the end and my final chip time was 1:50:58 at an average pace of 5:14. I like to think if it had not been for the various mishaps and injuries during the winter I'd have got that under 1:50, but I was still pretty pleased. I was the 14th woman between the ages of 40 and 49 to cross the line. Things being what they are, that still meant I was only 1,512th over all.

Meanwhile B. and claraste had decided that since the app tracked my progress so accurately, they could go and have a coffee and then cheer me across the finish. I had not expected this and so didn't notice them at all until I had picked up my goody bag and water bottle and was starting to try to figure out where to go. At that point I spotted them them and B. managed to capture the moment!

This entry was originally posted at http://purplecat.dreamwidth.org/453344.html.
liadtbunny: Bulman Yay :Dliadtbunny on June 20th, 2017 03:56 pm (UTC)
Well done!

The app sounds handy, I hope they can weed out it's stalker potential.
louisedennis: Runninglouisedennis on June 21st, 2017 10:37 am (UTC)
The app was amazing, but I was really surprised you didn't need to supply anything more than an email address in order to be able to track the location of pretty much anyone you cared to.