Andrew Ackerley’s Manchester Marathon 2019 Report

Manchester Marathon

After weeks of deliberation I finally decided to enter the race as I’d never ran a stand alone marathon before (all my others have been preceded by a 2.4 mile swim & 112 mile bike ride) & fancied seeing how I could go & put a time on the board. So race entered & gave myself a whole 6 weeks to train for it!

So Sunday race morning arrived & it was an absolute pleasure not to have to get up at stupid o’clock as is normal for an Ironman race. Normal pre-race breakfast of bagel, peanut butter & jam washed down with a brew & off we go across the city on the tram to the race start.

Race HQ is at Lancashire County Cricket ground, pretty straight forward, massive bag drop area so dropped bag & headed towards the start line about 10 mins away.

Got a quick warm up in en route, bumped into a few friendly NYMAC faces on the way & took a position right at the front (a wee bit optimistic!) Next to fellow NYMAC runner Paul McClean with the race nerves starting to jangle a little bit.

So gun goes off & away we go. Stick to the pace I was thinking as we set off, don’t go off too fast or things will come back to bite.

First k clicked over at 3:49 so was happy hadn’t done my usual of putting in a 3:20 at the start of a race! Managed to lock that pace in for the first 10k & went through in 38:30. Was questioning myself if I’d gone too fast but it felt ok so went with it. Halfway came & the pace was pretty much spot on again 1:21 (maybe 2:45 was possible afterall)

Normally I break the IM marathon down into 4 10k chunks, so we’d done 2 let’s get the next one done. Mentally this 10 is always the hardest I find but dug in & got to 30k in 1:57 & still on for the 2:45.

You know what’s coming next! Was managing to just about hang on to 4min/k pace till about 35k then started to feel a buzz in my right hamstring! Where was the next aid station I was thinking, desperately needed water to try to sort the cramp out, back off the pace by about 20 secs & guzzled  a bottle of water at the next station but the cramp was still there & now it was, right hamstring & left calf! Then the right calf & left hamstring to make the full set! These last 7k were gonna be interesting!

Was basically just survival now & try to get to the finish without the hammy blowing totally. I died a thousand deaths on the last 5k & can honestly say they were the hardest of my life, really did just want it all over 😂

Turned into the home straight to see the finish line in the distance & believe me it was in the distance, how can 1k be so long!

The 2:45 was gone now but the finish was there & just managed to squeak in at 2:48:59.

So didn’t get the 2:45 i was hoping for but suppose the finish time was a true reflection of my fitness at that point.

Couple of pointers for if I ever do one again. Don’t enter 6 weeks before the race & don’t forget the electrolyte capsules you take during every other race!

Once again from now on I reckon my marathons will have a swim & bike before them, believe me they feel easier!!

Good luck to all of you doing London in 2 weeks 😁