This morning myself and about 15 work colleagues ran the Manchester 10k in support of a young girl named Ellie. You can read more info about that here (there’s also a donation link if you’re looking to show some support).
This is the first actual “race” I have ever entered and I have to say that it has been a fantastic experience that surpassed my expectations. Although I’ve always trained, I’ve never really been interested in entering a race, preferring to run on my own or at the gym.
The day didn’t start well as I opened my eyes with a moderate hangover from an all-day drinking session the day before. I couldn’t imagine anything worse than a 6 mile race but there was no backing out now. I never seem to do things by halves.
Walking to the event I was amazed at the amount of people – both runners and spectators – that were on the streets of Manchester. It’s a special feeling being an integral part of such a huge group of people, many of whom are looking to make a difference by donating money for those in need.
The start is somewhat daunting with thousands of eyes upon you as set off through the crowded start line. Myself and Jordan immediately set off full pelt, dodging through the crowds at a fairly impressive pace. It’s incredibly cramped at certain stages of the course and I’m still undecided if that’s a good thing or not. Obviously it’s annoying having to continuously find the gaps to fit through, but at the same time it totally takes your mind off the running, before I knew it we were 3km into the race and my path was becoming less cluttered.
Jordan told me we were keeping a good pace but I started to tire slightly at around the 5km point. I was incredibly thirsty but once I got hold of a drink I was unable to drink it, something I found really strange.
On some of the long straight roads there was a headwind so we tried to take it in turns breaking the wind for each other. Jordan mentioned he was struggling at about the 7km stage but I think us running together was a massive plus, I wouldn’t have maintained the pace if I were on my own.
At the 9km point Jordan had more in the bag and increased his pace, I tried to do the same but struggled. Rather than blowing up I just watched him – annoyingly – shoot off (had I not smoked 20 fags the day before I might have caught him 😉 ). I can’t begin to explain how helpful the crowds are, thousands and thousands of people applauding you is just an amazing feeling. Not only does it take your mind off the pain but it’s like a speed/energy boost, I had tingles down my spine a few times throughout the race. I sprinted the last 200m as fast as I could, shooting past people and the roar of the crowd was the only thing that kept me going! I was exhausted after crossing the finish line and I couldn’t have given any more than I did.
My time was 44:54, my fastest ever 10km time. Jordan got 44:40, very impressive considering he barely trains. We came 1577th and 1455th respectably, something I thought was pretty impressive considering there were about 50 thousand runners. I try to do 10km – or an hours exercise – every weekday at the gym, but generally not at this pace, so that really made me pleased about my time. All my other colleagues finished the race and all of them were chuffed with their times and/or performance.
Overall it has been a very enjoyable day and I think I might enter some more in the future. My new years resolution was to do 3 half and one full marathon in 2015, now that the weather is picking up I will be looking to make a start on these. I would encourage anyone who’s a bit skeptical about public races to give it a try, you won’t regret it.
Well done to everyone who ran, donated, cheered or assisted in any way with today’s race.