For me, this year's race was fun. Paula and I went down early and acted as Haile's personal cheering squad as he sprinted passed us, closely followed by Chris Thompson; we danced at the side of the 'Bupa Boost Zone' to the Kaiser Chiefs; we cheered Elmo on despite the fact we only remembered his name once he was 50 metres away from us; I surprised myself by recognising a celebrity and then acted in a suitably embarassing manner as Nell McAndrew raced past us; and if you look really closely at the side of the television screen at about 1 hour into the race, you'll see Paula and I heading back along Chester Road whilst I happily chomp on a peanut butter sandwich - what can only be described as an epic failure in 'trying to get on TV'!
And that was all before we even started running! At 12.30pm, the final wave of the Great Manchester Run set off with us in it. Within seconds, Paula had disappeared off into the crowds dodging past Spiderman, a Tweenie and several tutu's. Next to disappear from sight was Lisa, who fuelled with enthusiasm bounced effortlessly in and out of the crowd of colour until she too could no longer be seen. Which left
However, at just past the 3km point, I spotted Pete, resplendent in orange, stood high above the runners, astride the central reservation barrier. I waved like mad, he spotted me and jumped in to run alongside. As I was running Lud-style, he informed me of my pace (sub 9.30 at that point) and kept me occupied with stories of the other club runners he'd jumped in and run with already that day; at this point he had clocked over 5 miles (hitting just under 10 miles in total whilst supporting runners in a 6 mile race!). I always like it when Pete runs alongside and could feel him pick my pace up instantly. However, I know I didn't manage to keep this pace as my overall average dropped to just below 10 minute miles overall. Still, as he left me at Old Trafford, I swept into Salford Quays feeling energised and confident.
This feeling continued as I passed the legendary Clint Boon, DJing in a discrete corner of Salford Quays and as I, unexpectedly passed the 7km mark and realised quite how short 10k actually is these days! Short it may have been, but as I came into the final 3km, I started to feel it and became very aware that it was only 4 weeks ago I completed a marathon. Once again, I found I had the stamina and strength in my body to continue with ease, however my breathing was very laboured at, what used to be, a low speed and I found myself really having to push hard in the final 2km. At just before 9km, Pete swept up the road on the other side and found me again immediately identifying a target for me... a giraffe!
|Lanky - LCCC's Mascot|
So, Paula and I have completed our first race on the Countyathon challenge: Greater Manchester has been conquered with the Bupa Great Manchester Run, 2011. As expected my overall time from last year was up, with a finish time of 1.02.40 and so for now, I have a new 10k target for 2011 to beat and my target for the race next year... beat the giraffe!