While not quite in the same league as my epic, decade-long struggle to get into the London Marathon, the Wilmslow Half Marathon has been one of those I’ve fancied a crack at for a few years now but never quite made it in as various things always seem to get in the way. So it was nice to come into 2019 and be able to pencil the date in and finally get a chance to stretch my legs on the country lanes down to Mobberley and back.
My third running of the Liverpool Half Marathon and my eleventh effort at 13.1 miles overall, you’d think I’d have seen it all by now. Nearly a decade on from my first ever half at the 2009 Great North Run, there’s been a bit of everything over the years, or so I thought anyway. But nothing quite prepared me for what I experienced last weekend on the 25th edition of this little race.
For the first time since 2015 there is no marathon this year, although the month of March has two halves a fortnight apart: Liverpool this Sunday and then Wilmslow a couple of weeks later. That’s assuming they can actually get the distance right at Liverpool this year, of course.
So here we are, approaching the end of 2018 and as I get stuck into my final challenge of the year I thought first it would be good to reflect back on a little spell a couple of months ago which I’ve not had the time to really get round to writing up properly yet, including the third running of one of my favourite events at the Manchester Half Marathon.
This year’s was extra special, not just for how it all panned out from a personal point of view, but because for the first time since its inauguration in 2016 I was running with people I knew, two of them making their half marathon debuts.
I hadn’t planned on writing this one up as full post. This year’s Standalone 10k was just meant to be a footnote to the bigger picture, a practice run for the main event at the Manchester Half Marathon.
The 2018 edition will go down in history though as one of my best ever days at the office as I somehow ran the 10k of my life.
Carrying an ankle injury, I honestly had no idea what to expect from the Wirral Half Marathon. I’ve never gone into a race before not knowing if I’d even be able to run a few yards let alone get to the finish. Maybe I’d run down to the three mile mark and get a bus or taxi back to the finish line. Maybe I’d branch off and do the shorter 10k. Maybe, just maybe, I might even be able to complete the whole thing and run further than I had for nearly six months.
What I never in a million years expected to happen was exactly what did end up happening.
It’s been a while since I last trained for a race as generally I’ve found that for the last few events heading out for a weekend long run alongside a couple of shorter quicker ones midweek has been just dandy in terms of getting me round.
No, I mean really training. And with that comes a whole heap of problems
What a funny old year eh. The coldest winter I’ve literally ever run through seemed to turn, almost instantly, into the hottest summer of all time, or at least that’s how it’s felt. There was no spring. No gradual increase allowing us to begin to acclimatise to it. I got to the start of April still running in hat, thick gloves and baselayer. Since then, give or take the odd couple of days or so, it’s been pretty much 25 degrees plus, day after day after day. And I’ve decided to keep on running right through the middle of it.
The 2018 London Marathon was literally the hardest thing I have ever done, ever. It was, almost from the get go, unrelentingly, leg-shatteringly, teeth-grindingly difficult. The warmest race I have ever run, literally the hottest London Marathon on record. A horrendous experience, almost from start to the eventual finish. So why have I entered the ballot for 2019?
Because, as with last year, it was one of the best experiences of my entire life.
After last month’s little diversion into the world of cycling, or more specifically, the sad story of my total withdrawal from it all, it’s back onto more familiar ground this month with my first running update of 2018.
We’re now well over three months into the new year and although spring is only just starting to fully show itself I’ve already got a race in the bag and I’m staring down the barrel of the second. One down, one to go. A half, then a full. Liverpool, then London.