When I mapped out my plan for 2021 I decided a practice race before the Manchester Marathon would be a good idea just to reacquaint myself with the old routine after close to two years away from racing. And very well it all went over at Wilmslow last month, but what I didn’t expect was to get a second bite at the cherry a fortnight later, with a last minute charity entry in the Great Manchester Half Marathon.
No matter how many virtual challenges I’ve taken part in over the past 18 months, even though some of them were amongst the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, there’s nothing quite like taking part in a real race with real people. The adrenaline on the day just isn’t there when you’re starting and finishing solo on your own drive.
So, after the longest break I’ve had from an actual event probably since I became a runner all the way back in 2007, it was nice to finally have something in the calendar: The Wilmslow Half Marathon 2021.
With the official announcement postponing the 2020 Manchester Marathon coming relatively close to the intended event date I was just going over the very top of the peak of my training plan and so I began to moot ideas to try and still mark the occasion in some way and not let it all go to waste.
The result of all this was the findarace.com Plan B Virtual Half Marathon; a chance to stretch my legs at race pace, earn a cool little medal and raise a bit of money.
After posting my “I’ve signed up for a marathon” blog back in February, it’s safe to say there has been a somewhat significant turn of global events which far, far overshadow whatever little nonsense I was planning on doing this year.
With this coming Sunday’s Marathon For The Christie long since postponed, I’ve gone and signed up for a virtual half to mark the occasion, and by officially registering through Find A Race I still get a cool little medal and all the race proceeds going to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Stay safe everyone. x
We run the same races, we get different results.
None of the four races in my autumn running calendar should have been anything beyond the unexpected. Or so I thought, until I actually ran them.
At 9am on the 19th May 2019, my wife and I are going to line up together on the startline for the Great Manchester 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 10k after lunch as a bit of a victory lap.
It all adds up to a mammoth total of 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 support the homeless and disadvantaged.
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.