The day before the big event
I entered the Manchester Great Run along with two other girl work colleagues. The weekends focus was on having some fun in Manchester the day before, which took some pressure off the actual race.
We arrived from the Isle of Man into Manchester airport, and then made our way into central Manchester to check into the Travelodge. It is worth mentioning that the check in process at this Travelodge was brilliant and very friendly. Our rooms were not ready when we first arrived but the check in staff were more than happy to keep our bags while we made our way to the Crystal Maze (via Wagamama’s).
The Crystal Maze
The Crystal Maze was a fantastic experience, the staff were again friendly (common theme this weekend), and helped guide us through the hour and half-long challenges. Soon after we arrived at the Crystal Maze, we paired with another group of three girls, and then ushered to our first room. In this first room, we met our very energetic host. She then guided us through the different themed areas of the maze and each of the group chose to do 2-3 challenges each. The successful completion of a challenge won the team a crystal ball, each ball added more time to collect golden tickets. Just like the show.
We went for our evening meal at one of the Alchemist bars where I avoided anything with alcohol and their famous chicken in a basket. Thankfully, the bar offered a decent range of non-alcoholic cocktails, which surprisingly were not all full of sugar. There were also a few healthy options on the menu. My stomach cannot handle food that is too fatty the day prior to a hard race, so my only real options when eating out are a salad.
The race was unusually in the afternoon, which meant that I could lie in and feel relaxed in the morning. My start was at 13.02 with the fast-paced club runners, the pen behind the elite. My friends start time was an hour later so I had to make my way the start by myself. This initially scared me but the event organisers staffing the starting pens were so helpful, and guided me to where I needed to be. I arrived at the start an hour early but time did seem to whizz by.
After the mass warm-up the elite women, and 20 minutes later it was our turn. I always get emotional just before the start of a big event. A lot of hard work goes into training and it all comes down to 40 minutes of running. I am very glad that my time got me into the smaller fast-paced pen, this allowed for a good start.
Pacing, race atmosphere, and Sub-40 breakthrough
On the road I got into my 6 min 20 per mile pace in the hope, I would break 40 minutes for the first time. The atmosphere created by choirs and DJs along the route made the experience really up lifting. This pushed me through the final couple of kilometers! Before I knew it, I was at the finish line with the board reading 39:46. My actual chip time was 39:42, I was ecstatic.
Would I Recommend?
I would definitely recommend this event to other either, fun runner, or more serious faster paced runner. The event is well organised, and the atmosphere is fantastic, and a flat and fast course. Early bird tickets are now available for next year’s events so now is your chance to enter.