Welcome to this year’s fundraiser, and it’s a bit of an unusual one this time around.
The general premise is, as you’d probably expect, broadly similar to ones I’ve done in the past: I will do some sort of strenuous exercise, and hopefully it will generate some much-needed funds for charity. So far, so standard.
It’s even a race I’ve done before – the Great Manchester Run Half Marathon. Actually it’s two races I’ve done before with the Great Manchester Run 10k as well. Hang on, what?
Let me start at the very beginning. The Great Manchester Run was my first ever Big Race, all the way back in 2008 when I’d only been this running wanker for a few months. That 10k was the furthest I had ever run at that point but I (mostly) enjoyed it and so I ran it again the following year, dipping below 40 minutes for the first ever time and setting a PB which stood for almost exactly seven years. Seven long years, until the very next time I ran it. My two fastest ever 10ks now belonged to Manchester.
In 2017, they added a brand new half marathon on the same day as the traditional 10k and I decided to have a go at that for a change, running a highly emotional race in the aftermath of the terrible attack at the Manchester Arena. Later that day, a set of very different emotions as I stood out on the course cheering on my wife as she ran her first ever 10k. Having lived in the North West since 2003, my adopted home race was slowly becoming the one dearest to my heart.
And so to 2019, and we’re both going for something a little bit special this year.
We’re running a marathon, lads. And then some. At 9am on the 19th May 2019, we’re going to line up together on the startline for the Great Manchester Run Half Marathon and then we’re going to go and run 13.1 miles each. A half marathon apiece and then shortly after I’m going to forsake the usual post-race pint, I’m gonna change my sweaty T-shirt and I’m gonna go and run the Great Manchester Run 10k after lunch as a bit of a victory lap.
It all adds up to a mammoth 32.4 miles between the two of us, the biggest total we’ve ever done, and it’s all to help raise some money for The Wellspring so they can continue to provide support to the homeless and the disadvantaged.
For those of you unaware of who The Wellspring are and what they do:
- They are a local charity and resource centre in Stockport that helps homeless and vulnerable or disadvantaged people.
- The centre is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year and offers valuable services totally free of charge to service users, including advice, meals, clothes, health services, education & training, and practical support.
- It is an independent, non-means-tested, non-judgemental service that is open to anyone over 18 who needs it.
- They aim to support people out of homelessness and become independent by helping them develop skills and confidence.
- They have helped over 4,000 people get off the streets and into accommodation, and aim to reduce future homelessness in Stockport by engaging with and supporting those at risk of homelessness.
- They unfortunately receive no funding from the government, local council or the lottery, and therefore rely completely on donations.
So that’s why we’re gonna try and raise some money for them, and it’s gonna be an interesting challenge this one. If the weather is a repeat of last year’s 30 degree sweatfest, it could be a horrible one. Whatever happens though it’s definitely going to be the first time in my life I’ve ever attempted to run two races on the same day. Back in the dark, dark days of marathon training, the 20-milers were (unsurprisingly) always the hardest bits of the training plan, and this is going to be approaching that sort of mileage once I’m done and dusted. I also have no idea how the legs will react to the gap in the middle before I have to go back out for another run in the afternoon. Will I seize up? What do I eat, what do I drink? How fast should I run each race? Can I have a little snooze somewhere in between them?
There’s a lot of questions to answer but I’m sure I’ll work it all out as we get a bit closer to raceday. Jenn is also pushing herself and attempting a PB in only her third ever half marathon, so we’re both going big in the hope of raising a nice big total to try and help The Wellspring do what they do best. So if you happen to have a few quid spare this month it would be real nice if you could chuck a bit of it into our pot to make all our pain and struggle worthwhile. Just to put it into some sort of context, with the five times we’ve entered the various Great Manchester Runs between the two of us since 2008, the total mileage we’re attempting here in a single day is only five miles or so less than all of those combined. In this most familiar of races, we’re putting a new twist on things and boldly going where we’ve never been before. It’s the Great Manchester Run, Jim, but not as we know it.