I GUESS I DID IT!
Updated: Oct 30, 2021
This is a hard one to write, normally because I'm either posting about other people or asking others to submit their own race stories BUT I've been hounded into writing this one. There are many things I thought I'd never achieve when I started running, a sub 20 minute 5k, sub 40 10k, sub 1:30 half, 50k, 50 miler etc but the sub 3 marathon is the one I've put off longest, largely because I knew it would actually involve serious training. Sometimes you run out of excuses though and finally need to try. This story started in 2019 when joining club chairman Ben Renshaw on his London marathon training runs, Ben has a way of planting seeds in your brain and it was pointed out that I may as well actually properly run a marathon if I was already doing the training. So Manchester Marathon was entered as London entries had already closed. Winter training and Broadstone Quarter, Blackmore Vale Half and Wimborne 20 all went to plan at the start of 2020, then Covid hit. Manchester was cancelled, the back up plan Milton Keynes was cancelled, tendonitis reared it's ugly head, the list went on and on. All the stars then began to align as Covid restrictions were lifted, the tendonitis was gone and Ben and I strung together the biggest and longest training block we could cope with, ably assisted by fellow Bridport Runners Jon Lombard and Chris Monteith. Fast forward to October 2021 and the rescheduled Manchester Marathon, for 17 miles I felt like a god, having to consciously slow down to what felt like a sedate 6:15 min/mile pace, that extended taper was making it feel all too easy! There I was wondering if my dream was really going to be this easy, then BAM, the marathon gods smote me down, they always say if you want something badly enough you're going to have to work for it and no way was I coming away empty handed. For the longest 9 miles I hated running with every step I took, it felt like I had fallen off a cliff and was going backwards. When things go pear shaped, ask what's gone wrong, what still works and how can I best deal with this. So with some damage limitation tactics I managed to hold the pace at or under 6:45 to bring it home in 2:48:54 behind fellow locals Joel and Liam from Axminster, it's a small world!
I would love to say I was jubilant when crossing the line but those last 9 sucked all emotion and joy from me and left it in a puddle in the road. The original goal was to get under 3:00:00, the dream goal was under 2:50:00, and now in hindsight I can say this is something I'm truly proud of because I've never invested so much time into making a dream happen. A huge thanks to Ben for some brutal training and for joining me in Manchester on the day. On the drive home I vowed never to do it again, only to enter Manchester 2022 less than a week later, oh and then there is potentially a London good for age place to attend to in 2023. Once you get on this marathon bandwagon it's hard to get off. Moral of this long story, if you truly want something you'll only get there by putting the work in, not by dreaming about it. Adam