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The Road to Asics Greater Manchester Marathon

March 13, 2016

4 weeks today, in 28 days the results will be in and the Asics Greater Manchester Marathon will be done and dusted.


This time last year even seeing the name of the race was giving me butterflies in my stomach and the race was a huge unknown. 3 hours, 0 minutes and 1 seconds after leaving Old Trafford I finished the race exhausted and elated but convinced I’d missed the 3 hour mark by a good chunk. Oh how wrong I was. Since then that one second has been a very funny, but nonetheless challenging presence on my running copy-book.



I can’t recommend Asics MCR Marathon enough to anyone looking for a fun, flat race. This year it’s starting near the Trafford arch still but is finishing at Emirates Old Trafford, home to Lancashire County Cricket club. It’s great that there’ll be slightly wider finish area and chance to take in an extra part of the city.

This year thanks to Ben and Full Potential I’ve got training sessions that I can directly compare to last year’s efforts and I’ve got 12 months of running for fun, running in new places, doing track nights, missing challenges, hitting challenges, having to say goodbye to my favourite trainers (so-long Kayanos), running in foreign lands and running the A5 many many times. As for the race itself, I know what the course is like and I’ve got an idea of what I should be able to do but I really don’t know if that’s a good thing.

If you’re an elite runner I’m sure that knowing every bend and every incline is a great thing but for me I often feel that if I know the route I get more concerned with the distance to go and whether I can keep going. This year I will be running without headphones since London won’t allow them in Championship starts and they are classed as “performance enhancers” in most races. Since stopping using music I’ve posted marathon times of 3:21:05 (London) 3:04:50 (Bournemouth) and 3:04:02 (Lake Garda). There’s a part of me that wonders if those extra minutes are the ooomph that the music gives. Hmm. However, training has been going well and I’ve been hitting marathon pace when I’ve needed to. I just don’t know if I can do it for 26 miles straight!

I’ve been running a lot with the AR Collective and there’s huge crew of us heading up to Manchester. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how this lovely lot get on:

James Brewster
Adam Lennox
Claire Clifton Coles
Nicolas Wuethrich
Matt Hanson

and lots more to be added as I remember.

I really enjoyed Manchester last year, it’s incredibly flat (though even the slightest incline feels like a mountain after 20miles) and it gave me some moments I’ll never forget – the kids rock-gospel choir, the chat with a German lady at mile 18, an old Uni friend appearing unexpectedly on the cheer line and Mr B shouting his head like an utter lunatic as I came down the finishing straight. Oh, and of course these lovely people that I met thanks to Athletics Weekly (you can read all about our experiences here). It’s great to see that Amile, Tim and Andrew are out there tearing up the pavements as usual. Amile in particular is doing an amazing job as part of WMN Run.


Before Manchester I also have the small matter of the North London Half Marathon and Cardiff World Half Marathon Championships, but they are just part of the journey to MCR.

p.s A huge shout out to Sarah, Cara, Jess, and George all representing  the AR Collective at London Marathon too, but more or that later #readytorun.


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