Mile 16 – Manchester Marathon – 2024... 

I decided to station myself here to support my Wymondham AC club-mates and other Norfolk runners (okay, there are also some nice cafes around Altrincham...) 

But more importantly I knew it would probably be the point at which it all starts to get very real in a marathon. 

After getting over the disappointment of not being able to run the event myself, I concentrated on what I could do to help fellow Wymondham runners finish those 26.2 miles as quickly as possible. 

I know how much difference it can make to see a friendly face when you’re going through a tough spell. If your race is going well then there’s not many things better but it can be a lonely old place if it’s not going to plan. 

But I also wanted to take some lessons that perhaps I could take into my next marathon from the whole experience. 

The main takeaway is how much people are willing to put themselves through to get to the finish line... even when their A goals have long since disappeared. 

Just amongst the Wymondham crew we had inspirational runners for so many different reasons...  

From one enduring a bout of sickness (and still getting it done) to another finishing the last mile with one shoe on (and running 5:30-minute mile pace in the process). 

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Another whose longest training run had been 12 miles turning in a sub 3:30 PB performance. 

There were almost as many PBs as there were blisters – the things we willingly put ourselves through for a variety of different reasons defies logic. 

So many stories unfolded that needed breaking down afterwards over a few well-earned drinks in the pub afterwards. I love a post-race debrief. 

For every inspirational PB there is someone else whose race didn’t go to plan and needs picking up after... literally in some cases. 

The marathon doesn’t care what you deserve; it just wants to test you in so many ways that it’s almost impossible to prepare for everything. But we still try... 

It really highlighted how lovely it is to be part of a running club at events like this. Everyone looks out for each other whilst those that can’t be there keep the WhatsApp groups buzzing with countless messages watching a dot move around a map. 

A massive well done to everyone that competed at Manchester last weekend; to those that nailed it, congratulations. 

To those that didn’t get what they wanted, remember to take some time to analyse where you could possibly improve and then move on. 

The world keeps spinning and no-one is thinking about your time as much as you are. Your time will come. 

I can’t wait to watch the London Marathon this weekend; I can’t be there in person unfortunately, but I will definitely be one of the dot-watchers and looking for faces/club colours on the television. 

Good luck to anyone taking part. 


Boston baby... 

I can’t let this column end without mentioning my wife, Alison, who ran the Boston Marathon on Monday. It’s not my story to tell (check out @allyrunarmy on Instagram) but she made some excellent in-race decisions to clock a very respectable time of 3:12 in what were unseasonably hot conditions. 

I can honestly say keeping up with her progress was one of the most stressful events of the year so far. I’ll just have to go with her next time – I'd better get training to get the sub 3:10 needed to get there in my age category.