The Manchester Marathon
Manchester threw its best and worst at marathoners at the inaugural Gt.Manchester Marathon. The fiercest wind and rain Manchester had to offer so pelted runners and marshals that races in other parts of the country were cancelled including the club's first National Junior League T & F match of the season in Preston. However, it did not deter inspirational good humour and boundless resilience. Everybody certainly deserved their medals and the heartiest clap on the back.
The Club's first man home had a sensational run and displayed untapped potential. Still new to running and in his inaugural marathon, Peter Crawford finished a superb 8th in 2:39.00. With less wind and rain and continued club support throughout the race, he can knock chunks off that! Dave Howlett was also a sensation in his inaugural marathon. With a background in shorter distance and little marathon specific training, he did extremely well in adverse conditions to clock 2:56.24.
It was also Chris Donnelly's debut and he too did better than expected to record 2:57.20. Given the adverse conditions and the knowledge you've got to respect the final miles of a Marathon, he'll go much faster in future. Robert Flannery is also a 'shorter' distance man just returning to running and completely lacking those marathon miles. He also did extremely well in the conditions to clock 2:58.31. Stephen Townley was the next home, also making his debut and clocked what he must regard as a satisfactory 3:03.13 in the conditions.
The next two home - Lee Woods and Olivier Gaillemin had run London the previous week and bemoaned injuries that prevented their best performances. It was surprising they should take on the marathon so soon again but they did it in good cheer with good-natured 'high-fives' generously distributed to club marshals along the route. Lee performed better, his 3:11.21 just two minutes short of London whilst Olivier's 3:17.33 was twenty minutes slower.
Congratulations to Gary Willcock, a former club runner but now a club coach who pulled a really good one of the bag with 3:19.30. M50 Jerry Smith has every reason to be 'pretty pleased'. He's knocked a massive twenty-five minutes from his last marathon, London 2012. Jerry's respected the marathon distance with thorough specific training through the winter and was rewarded with the results.
Tim Rainey's 123rd marathon, the last
three of which he's contended with windy conditions. At least this
time, he's managed to get under 3:30 with his watch recording
3:29.46. Like all the others, he reckoned the fierce headwind and
belting rain in the final miles cost him several minutes.
Francis Sweeney wasn't far behind him. He aimed
for sub 3:15 and joined the 3:15 pacing group. The first went
pretty much to plan but it was from twenty miles that things went
drastically downhill. The final six miles he described as
'torturous' and took 63 minutes. He said, "If you don't treat the
Marathon with respect, it'll bite you on the bum!!
Frank Cordingley was on track for 3:30 by half way but lost motivation in the wind and rain through Partington. He finished in 3:43 pleased to have been a part of the 1st Trafford Marathon. Like so many others, he applauded the fantastic encouragement from club members and wasn't alone in bemoaning the dreadful bag storing arrangements at the finish which meant long queues of wet, cold dehydrated runners risking hyperthermia as they waited up to thirty minutes to retrieve their clothing. Frustrated, Frank had to walk back to the station with bare legs. "I was so cold after that my teeth were chattering all the way home, I only warmed up after a long soak in a very hot bath".
Carl Cleghorn felt really good up to 14 mile then the cold and wet badly cramped him up and he fell away from the 3:15 paced to cross the line in 3:31.37. He's hoping for warm weather in the Kassel (Germany)Marathon in three weeks. Miran Aprahamien was 'very pleased' with his 3:47 and' near perfect pace management' with very even splits. "I don't think I have ever been so cold" he also said.
Helena Butler completed her second marathon is two weeks for her cherished charity - The Brain Tumour Research (http://www.justgiving.com/HelenaButler) and did four minutes faster than in London. Despite the horrendous weather, she decided to have a crack at going sub-3:30 again and kept a decent pace until mile 22 when things went off the boil but she still managed a fantastic 3:24:11. "The support for Sale Harriers was amazing. Two men I was running along with muttered at one point 'Think I'm gonna change my name to Sale' as I was getting so many shout-outs" Helen Reagan was also 'very pleased' with 3:42.32. It was her eighth marathon and second best time after London 2009, and would have been even faster in better conditions. Katie Reece too is finally prepared to shout her result from the 'roof-tops' and justifiably so. She knocked six minutes off her PB to record 3:49.06 an improvement that would have been greater in better conditions.
L60 Jenny Miles also had an excellent race taking 22 minutes off her PB to record a new 4:50:06. As a result she was awarded 2nd in her age-category, a worthy tribute to a person who's continued to make massive strides in her running. She wrote, "The weather was challenging. I couldn't feel my hands or my feet for most of the race and couldn't get my pocket open to get at my shot-blocks (a bit of a problem) because my hands didn't work. I made do with the wonderful supporters' jelly babies and jelly snakes (Yuk) and the odd bit of water. The muddy lanes around Dunham and the huge puddles in the park itself were very challenging indeed - I went through one puddle and it was over my ankles - but this is Manchester and this is what we expect!
Caroline Kinghorn wasn't going to let the weather put her off her debut marathon and despite the dreadful conditions she 'loved every step' She went through the finish smiling and still feeling quite strong in a time of 4:08:15. As it was her first marathon she didn't know how she would be at the end as the furthest she'd run was 21 miles so was hoping for 4:20 and in the weather would have been happy with 4:30.
Every competitor applauded the 'amazing' Sale Harriers support throughout the day and all express thanks for 'standing out in that awful rain and wind for hours on end. There were club supporters all round the course, some of whom must have been there for literally hours, and it was very heart-warming and moving.
Our club Chairman and Secretary David & Carol Brown were the race starter and finish official and also suffered from the weather. With complete empathy David Brown has written, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those individuals who turned out in appalling weather conditions on Sunday to help the club marshal the Greater Manchester marathon course. It was very good of you to give up your valuable time in the first place but to then have to endure the wind, rain and cold was exemplary and was a great credit to the club. I know that not all our volunteers were club members so if you managed to rope in a friend or family member to help out please pass on my grateful thanks to them. It will be no conciliation to those who were wet through to know that it was no better at the start with heavy rain and wind, so much so that Carol and I abandoned the VIP tent to return to Crossford Bridge to help out the Primary section in serving tea and in extreme conditions manage a barbeque for those who managed to return. I know that some things were not how we would have wanted them and we will pass on some ideas to the organisers and our own people who were managing an event of this size for the first time. Without exception everyone worked very hard so a very big well done to you all both from the Club and me personally. (Written by Fechin Mc Cormick. Marathon photos by www.hsphotos.co.uk).
Posted 01/05/2012 10:09