Today, I observed the courage, determination and tenacity of the runners taking on the Manchester Marathon... and the weather! For 26.2 miles the runners were battered, bruised and drenched by the strong winds and, at times, torrential wind; and I hear it was the same for those at Milton Keynes.
Having vowed never to run a marathon again, when I'd heard about the return of the Manchester Marathon, I decided I would take the opportunity to 'pay it forward'. The crowd support at London is amazing, and I honestly believe there were times where I wouldn't have continued running if it hadn't been for the supporters, it makes such a difference. So, I wanted to give that back a little bit - If I'm not going to run a marathon, I can bloody well help other people run it instead!
My first marshalling responsibility was on Park Road, just down from Stretford Fire Station, which placed me between the 3 and 4 mile marker.
|Park Road before the runners arrived|
At this point, people bounded past. I was joined quite quickly by a handful of local residents and stranded car drivers (the less said about some of them, the better!) who joined me in whooping and cheering the crowd of runners (Hi again to @m4rkyben who was also cheer leading there) who were coping very well with the weather conditions at this stage. Big smiles... heavy rain... several angry drivers later and my marshalling responsibilities were over. The rain was really coming down heavy now, so we headed back to the warmth of the pub meeting point. This was also on the 25 mile stretch of the race course, and after only 10 minutes the front runner came whizzing past - and seriously - whizzing is the best word I can find! I was astounded by his speed! It was at this point our group leader discovered they were short on marshals for the second part of the course; it seems not everyone was willing to brave the weather.
Well, when you're wet, you're wet... you certainly can't get any wetter! So, I headed off with a couple of other people to continue the marshalling fun. This time, I was placed on the downward slope of the Stretford Mall underpass. Yes, you read that right: downward slope - I could read the pain in people's faces as they began that decent - ouch! It was a brilliant position though. By this point the runners were quite spread out, so it was easy to see everyone I knew. It was also a great position for whooping and cheering, and that is exactly what I did... sometimes with others, sometimes alone... but always doing my best to pay back what others did for me. Which is when I decided that people are amazing... despite the weather, despite the pain and despite the fact they'd run more than 25 miles by this point, people thanked me! seriously! they smiled, they cheered, they even complimented my hat... well, it is a lovely hat!!
|Top tip: wear a stupid hat; it keeps you dry and |
cheers runners up!
It was cold and wet, but today, I saw the very best... and worst... of human nature. But the worst - the sweary drivers, the mean pedestrians and the angry 'I've got to get to workers' - were magnificently overwhelmed by the very best: The local residents who braved the rain to bring me cups of tea and coffee - thank you!; the passing pedestrians who stopped to cheer with me when they heard how far the runners had run; and everyone who ran the marathon today... your fortitude in the face of what was thrown at you today, makes me feel like even I could do it again!