Sunday, 18 May 2014

Bupa Great Manchester Run

I have the most wonderful husband but he already has everything so he is impossible to buy for.  I was struggling to decide what to get him for a wedding present so I decided to run in the memory of his parents who died before I met James but must have been wonderful people to raise such a wonderful person.  So I signed up to run Bupa Great Manchester 10k for British Heart Foundation.  I'd never ran for a charity before so when people starting paying sponsorship for me to run I felt a lot more pressure to run well.

On the morning of the race I got the train from Warrington to Manchester and watched as more and more runners stepped into the carriage each time the door opened.  It felt like a massive occasion and the race hadn't even started yet.  Bag storage was at Manchester Central, the same place as the charity village, so i headed over there to get sorted.  It was a very hot day and it was so cool inside that I ended up hanging around inside for a little while just to stay out of the sun.  There are some very nice toilets inside that were very under used so I took full advantage until I had to go outside to warm up.  I jogged the few minutes to the finish, watched the first lady from the elites cross the line and then jogged over to the start.  The start area was really well organised with lots of portaloos everywhere and places to get some water.  There is also a detailed map on the race guide and a little quick guide so it's really easy to know what you are doing and where you are going. I was in the blue wave which started at 11:25.  The pens open from 10:50.  I avoided going in until after 11 but you still end up standing around for a long time so I'd probably skip the warm up next time.  There is a mass warm up which is fun but it wasn't very effective so I just ended up doing my own stretches (which is the only reason I could identify myself on TV later).  I noticed that i was surrounded by a lot green and pink bibs (who were meant to start an hour later) and no one checked my bib when I entered so the pens are not really policed very well.

Great Manchester 10k route
It took well over 10 minutes to cross the start line when the gun went off.  I started far to fast along with everyone else but there wasn't a whole lot of room to slow down so you do get dragged along by the other runners.  It was my first large race so it was a bit intimidating at first but within half a mile a lot of people started walking.  It was very difficult to get a steady pace going because you'd be running along and the person in front of you would just stop.  It happened quite a lot and after the first couple of miles I started weaving around the slower runners. My pace went up and down quite a lot just from going faster to get round people.  It was very hard to keep running but I was determined not to stop because I was running for all those people who had sponsored me.  The water station near the Old Trafford helped a lot and I ran through the run through shower even though everyone had advised me not to.  It was just too hot not to do it but it does slow you down quite a bit.  Then you head to the finish and you just watch the tower getting closer and closer and closer.  I wasn't fussed about much of the route, it's pretty flat but nothing special I don't think, other than having than landmark on the way back as a target point.There was a lot of people watching the race but maybe because it was getting later in the day there wasn't that many cheers  really until you got very close to the finish (the Great North Run was seriously hyper in comparison). The atmosphere comes from the other runners and the music rather than the crowds.  I think it must be hard to keep the enthusiasm and clapping going over such a long period of time so I'm certainly not complaining that they were looking a bit bored by the time I ran past them.

Great Manchester 10k Elevation

The final little uphill felt like a mountain but I crossed the finish in 56:58.  It wasn't a pb but I was pretty chuffed with it really given the number of runners and the heat.  I'd also raised £410 for British Heart Foundation which isn't too bad for a girl who couldn't run a mile a year ago. The goody bag was really good and I liked the medal but for the cost of the race I think it should have been a technical t-shirt rather than cotton.  Overall it was enjoyable but I think I need to wait a few years before I run it again.  It gets so frustrating to having to keep moving around those who stop in front of you that it's hard to keep running.  a lot of the issues I think are because of the very big time gaps between each wave start.  Maybe if the people in the waves behind had only had to wait 10 or 15 minutes they would have stayed in the right colour and the crowds might not be so bored.  

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