So I'm starting with Ian Glover. On 6th April, he was entered into his first marathon, the Manchester Marathon. Here's his story in his own words.
This is the race that all my training since Christmas has been aimed at, 3 months of hard work would hopefully all come to fruition in this 3 and half hours. Training had gone really well with no injuries and I was feeling strong in my final taper week. Tapering is difficult as running provides me with mental and physical therapy, but I got to race morning eventually (after a couple of sleepless nights pre-race).
I left in plenty of time for the short journey to Manchester, but due to the road closures and frankly rubbish directions/diversions to the car parks I arrived a half hour later than planned and way too stressed. After arrival I soon met up with fellow Shabba Daz and we walked up to meet the other Shabba’s doing the run Tigger and Wellies. There were also a couple of twitter friends who it was nice to meet pre-race, along with Tigger's pacer for the run Andy.
As we approached the start line we decided to sneak in a section that was for faster runners than the one detailed on our bibs, I am so glad we did as we spent the first 5 miles running around people. It had been the plan to run the race with Daz, and we had an idea on pacing due to the Ashby race earlier in the spring. After the first 5 miles dodging people we settled into a good pace and rhythm and the miles literally flew by. Before I knew it we at the halfway point, both still going strong at a really decent pace (for me).
The Darren Redmond Paragraph
It’s at this point in the report that it would be a good idea to say a few words about the guy I was running this race with and had raced with most weekends in the madness of racing that March turned out to be. Not only did he keep me going in this race, providing constant encouragement and pacing me when I was struggling he also supported every runner slowing and stopped in the final miles of the race. He had a word and a pat on the back for all of those runners, as well as running backwards and forwards across the road to high 5 the kids stood cheering at the roadside. The guy is an absolute inspiration and I am honoured to call him a friend. I know he will get the race time he wants in the Edinburgh marathon in a month or so, and it is well deserved..
The race route seemed to be lined with people for most of the run and there were bands and choirs along the route too. The whole atmosphere of the day was fantastic. As the route doubled back on itself in several places we got to see the race leaders several times along with glimpses and shouts to the other Shabba’s in the race.
We really seemed to fly to the 20 mile point in the race without expending that much effort, it’s at this point that anyone who has ever run a marathon will tell you that things get serious. The pace dropped for the first time initially only about 20 seconds per mile, but as the miles wore on I had less and less knee lift and I could feel my running form going out the window. We had chatted on the run and broken the latter half of the race up into parkrun size chunks, the pace dropped another 10 seconds per mile as we entered our final parkrun.
I was still nervous at this stage of the race of hitting the dreaded wall, and was taking fluid on and pouring water over me at every opportunity in an attempt to refresh myself. I had hit the wall in training and knew what to expect, serious drop in pace, light headed, legs like lead, I didn’t want that here. The final two miles were the most difficult I have ever run, I had fuelled correctly before and during the race, but at this point I had nothing left.
The final mile was largely run with my eyes closed as I prayed for the finish. Even at this stage we managed a bit of a laugh and a joke, squirting each other with water and the odd terrible pun, we were HONDA a good time here (you had to be there). I was concentrating on things important to me in life like my girls to help me get through the last painful miles.
The pace had picked up slightly and as we turned into the home straight we both put on a sprint finish. As I sprinted down that final straight I had a massive lump in my throat and had to fight back the tears as I realised just what I had achieved. Over the line we had a massive man hug, both over the moon at the time (3:22 ish) and in my case absolutely exhausted and feeling sick. You can only take so much synthetic carbohydrate. As we sat in a post-race glow replenishing our energy, we talked about the race and the realisation started to sink in, we had run a marathon. We waited for the girls to finish and all gave congratulatory hugs.
The whole experience was the most physically and mentally challenging and draining thing I had ever done, will I put myself through this again……you better believe it.
Next up I have the summer to try and improve my 10k and half marathon times, before (hopefully) another marathon in the autumn