For a bit of background, I posted on 10 Jan that I needed a target, 11 weeks before Manchester Marathon, and I was fat, unfit and fifty….could it be possible (January 10th Facebook Post!!)

So, I guess it is time I sat down and reviewed how my Manchester Marathon 2022 went…

Back is Jan I just wanted to finish.  As we got nearer I (semi) secretly wanted 3:08 to 3:12, I knew sub 3 was impossible, and anything sub 3:30 was going to be brilliant, so I am really proud to have ran Manchester in3:12:58 as I had mixed expectations going into the race. I had a set plan I wanted to achieve… but we all know how long plans can often last! 

I started at the back of the 3rd wave, aiming to have a steady start over the first 5k and build as the race went on. Giving the 3.15 pacer about a 15 second head start, I never started as strong as I originally intended, I wanted to save something for later. However, at around the 3k mark, I found myself around a minute and half behind the 3.15 pacer knowing I needed to close the gap.

Through the rest of the first half, I started to find a rhythm and close the gap and ended up passing the pacer around the halfway mark. Looking across the splits, the increased tempo landed me near of even splits for each half of the race. As often people find they die on the last quarter, my steady start certainly played into this.

Moving forward, I was caught in bigger groups of runners and having to push past a lot of people to find clear road. Trying to find a steady rhythm was difficult for the most part and left me in a limbo of short drops of speed and having to get back up to pace…..but between 5k and 35k all of my splits were within 4:25 to 4:33 per km, but in hindsight I pushed a fraction too fast for the third quarter between 20-30k point as the groups of runners thinned out and I was able to get into a good stride and felt I was continuing strongly.

My lack of training volume (biggest weeks of just 60 km, and longest single run of 29 km) showed towards the end of the race as I found things difficult. My legs started to get heavy, and I was feeling the weight in each step. 100% of the last 5k was ran on steam and as those who have seen my Facebook pictures will know… I just about crossed the line in a drunken haze!

In reflection to the race, I strategized nicely and kept my splits together throughout. The 5k to 35k splits were within an 8second range and I know I covered it right, where I didn’t have lots in the tank at the end and I also didn’t have to drop off the pace to cross the line.

My nutrition during the race was almost spot on too. I had taken 6gels and took one at 7k, 14k, 20k and 26k with plans on taking one at 32k which I had at around 33k. I was energised throughout and able to keep going. The only issue towards the end was I just couldn’t stomach the 6th gel that I aimed to take at 36/37k and meant I was blowing hard at the end….I am not sure if I had taken it whether I would have thrown up or finished stronger….we will just never know!

On the day I gave it my all, didn’t walk one step, and certainly could have gone no harder, so I am really pleased with my performance.  But there is definitely more!

For my current weight and the time I put into my training, I am certain I can achieve a sub 2:45!  Just looking at reducing my weight from the 83kg I was on race day, to the 69kg I was World Tri Champs at the end of 2015 would have given (based on impact on VO2Max, running economy and a whole load of science)….but that’s a whole blog article in itself (I promise to share soon!)

In terms of Manchester Marathon as a race itself… the crowds (in places were great) but I found it INCREDIBLY tedious! There was 180m of elevation and the course was just… boring. In comparison, I have only ever ran London and Snowdonia and maybe this is just what a normal marathon is like? But for the life of me I found it such a chore to run the course. 

They say back in South Africa that in Bloemfontein, the birds would fly upside down out of boredom there was nothing else to do and there were times I was considering running backwards to get a bit of a kick!!

But at least I have got my good for age for a certain major city marathon in the UK next year (for legal reasons I can’t share the name with you), but do I really want it?  That’s a whole ‘nother question in itself!

Thanks for the support along the way.  Now what’s next…