I know, I say it every day, but today I think it might actually be even more true than normal. A million thoughts are swirling round my head and the loudest one is “why am I the only one out of the 4 of us that didn’t like that run”
Annette loved it and wants to do it again next year. Her friend “Steve” who I met for the first time yesterday, (more about him later) loved it, Tom – my nephew (probably more about him too) loved it. ME?? fucking hated it. 3 hours 31 minutes and 53 seconds of when will this be over, actually that’s slightly unfair, the first mile was pretty good, that is until the hundredth person barged past on me left because they cant be fucking arsed to go round me and have no manners.
I digress, back to how shit that run was! We started in the city of Manchester, somewhere near Portland Street, or even perhaps ON Portland street ! where by some miracle I saw Tom and we shared a couple of photos together (he’s bloody tall)
The “Great Manchester Run” is an annual run through Greater Manchester. It has consisted of a 10k run since it was established in 2003, and a half marathon since 2017. The 10k race is pretty massive, there were billions of runners for that, in fairness I can see why (now). The half marathon course consists of the 10k course with a 7-mile detour ! ( 7 miles is more than half the distance, that does not qualify as a fucking detour) The “detour” begins before you have even run a mile, (seriously!) when it turns east onto the Mancunian way. (The Mancunian Way is a two mile long elevated motorway in Manchester) The course heads down the length of the motorway section and continues for another mile before heading back. At the end of this road was the Manchester City stadium, complete with some trophy that they had won, proudly on display for all the runners to see, and then we had to run over the worlds highest fucking footbridge to get back onto the same bit of Mancunian way to run all the way back to civilisation.
The ONLY good thing about that section was that as I was heading up towards the Etihad stadium (that’s the posh name for the Man City stadium) I saw Tom coming the other way, he was about a mile and a half ahead of me, which was pretty much as I predicted (1/3rd faster), he was smiling and looked comfortable, we High 5’d and carried on. A couple of minutes later I saw Annette and Steve coming down off that high footbridge, I took the opportunity to wait a minute for them to get to me and then I hugged Annette and gave her a sweaty kiss (got to love a sweaty Redway kiss).
Back along the Mancunian way, seriously what a boring bloody road, although I guess its pretty cool to be able to say I have run along a motorway (is it actually a real motorway?)
Just past my mile 8 and I see Lottie, (Toms Girlfriend) she’s on a corner waiting for him to arrive, his mile 12 I think, I had a quick chat, and she said he hadn’t passed, that’s good, another chance to check he’s ok, he’s still about 1/3rd ahead and was looking ok when he had passed at mile 8ish.
We actually passed at about my mile 9 and his mile 11 and a bit, (I think) to be honest everything was a bit of a blurr by then, I literally just wanted it to be done. I had zero enthusiasm left and had spent most of the run alone with no one around me. Again a quick hug and high 5 with Tom, who was looking delighted with himself (rightly so, but still!) I bumped into Annette and Steve a couple of minutes later, so more sweaty kisses with Annette.
Eventually I arrive at the home of Manchester United football team, I say I arrived, I “plodded” into the car park very slowly but actually running, where a photographer thought it would be a brilliant idea to ask me to stop moving so he could take a smiley photo of me. Of course I obliged, all the while muttering that this was an opportunity to get a photo of me A: actually running and B: with absolutely no one else in the photograph and he fucking missed it because he wanted me to stop and shagging smile. I am 10 miles in to the run from hell and he wants a smile. The “tour of Old Trafford” was a disappointment to say the least, we quite literally went in the car park one end and out the other, there was no enthusiasm from any of the stadium staff (wont be supporting them in the future, I’m City all the way now!) and then back onto some crappy bit of road that looked like it had been dug up and re-tarmacked by a bunch of toddlers on day release from play school.
At Mile 11.5 I approach a first aid station, I am miserable (actually I am beyond miserable) its up another fucking hill (flat course my arse) and Mr “St Johns ambulance” comes over and says, there’s a bus to the finish just around the corner. Do I actually look that bad? Hang on, “if I get on the bus, I wont get my medal” I said, that doesn’t matter, you will get a lift back to the finish he replied. 11.5 miles of hell for no medal, no T shirt, no whinging rights? bollocks to that. I have 1.6 miles to go and I am not quitting now. He actually looked disappointed the bastard.
Mile 12 – I actually saw the mile 12 sign and my watch was only .25 of a mile out, I genuinely was near the finish, not like at landmarks where Garmin had me at 13 miles before I got to the 12 mile marker. I cried, another mile and a bit, at least another 15ish miles, fucking hell I hate running. Some old arsehole cruising up the path with a cup of coffee asks “is it tough”? Luckily a couple of lads with pints of beer in their hands heard him and said “of course it’s fucking tough, it’s 13 and a bit miles, your mobility scooter won’t go that far without a recharge” (that made me smile, so I gave them a thumbs up and whispered thanks)
No idea what happened to the 13 mile sign, the next thing I saw was 400mts to go. I asked one of the Event Volunteers ( Bless them all, I thanked hundreds of them for their time) if the sign was accurate. He said “yes luv, see that tall building its there!” ( I secretly wondered how many turns I would have to take to get there). 400mtrs is the length of our track, I’m genuinely not sure I can physically run that, and I want to cross the line physically running so I walk (again) 200mts to go, I ask another helper he says “see that bridge thing, once you get to that, I promise you will see the finish” now even with my dodgy eyesight I can see I pretty long way, I swear if I couldn’t see the finish I would have gone back and hit him ( if it hadn’t mean walking even further) but by some miracle, I got to the bridge thing, I saw the finish line, I could even see the time 3:3? was that actually 3 thirty something? was I actually going to get something good out of the shittiest run in the world?
I feel sick, my head is swimming, I ran that last 200 Mtrs completely alone, no other runners near me, in front or behind, finally though some audience participation and some clapping and encouraging.
Crossing the line was epic, for no other reason than it was finally fucking over. What’s the first thing I actually see ? Lottie with a McDonald’s chocolate thick shake !! Right then, In that moment, it was the most wonderful sight in the world…. EVER
I hated that run, I feel robbed again, robbed of the pleasure of running that everyone else seems to get, of the joy they feel during and after. Me? I just feel pain.
A half marathon official time Pb by about 10 minutes (I’ll ignore what strava says today) but for some reason there is no joy at that.
This is is 3:31:53 of a whole weekend, a weekend that (aside from those 3 and a half hours of misery) was actually bloody hilarious and enormously enjoyable and I promise I will share the remainder of the weekend with you shortly. But suffice it to say, right now, at this moment in time, running can go poke itself up the backside of any of the other 4,519 runners who no doubt had a brilliant time running and can’t wait to do it again.
I HATE RUNNING