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My marathon journey started in 2014 when I did the London marathon and hated every step of it because I spent the whole time looking at my watch thinking I wasn’t going to get the time I wanted however when I crossed the finish line in under 4 hours I was really pleased with that and decided the marathon wasn’t so bad after all. When I got home I entered the Abingdon marathon for the year after but didn’t do much running. I decided to still go with the intentions of dropping out half way if the sweeper bus caught me up. The bus didn’t catch up until I was almost at 20 miles so I decided at that point I was just going to carry on and complete the full marathon even though the finish would be packed up by the time I finished and I wouldn’t get a medal at the end.  In 2019 I did the London marathon again with the aim of enjoying the atmosphere this time. I finished in 4 hours 55 minutes and really enjoyed it so decided I wasn’t going to do another marathon because I had the experience of having an enjoyable marathon so was happy with that… but then my brother decided he wanted to have a go at a marathon and he was thinking of Manchester so obviously I could not resist saying I would do it too if he was doing it.

Manchester Marathon 2022

I spoke to Jenny and told her I wanted to try and train to aim for my marathon pb. I downloaded a 4 hour training plan from runners World and started doing the training from that however it was really high mileage and Jenny suggested I speak to Dave to do a plan because it would be personalised to my ability and decrease the chance of me becoming injured by trying to do too much too soon. I had a chat with Dave and he gave me some training tips. My training went well I was doing Dave’s planned club sessions Tuesday and Thursday a steady park run on Saturday and a long run on Sunday had to mix things up a bit to make this fit around my silly hours at work so the sessions weren’t always on the specified days. The first long run I did on the new training plan I was accompanied by Jenny for the first half and then Anne, Caron, Linda, Caz, June, Marion and Fiona for the second half the miles ticked by nicely and before I knew it the run was over. My longest run was 21 miles which I got through with help from Carol who ran with me for the first 7 miles, Jenny who did the middle 8 miles with me and Caron who did the final 6 miles with me. I entered trimpell 20 to do my final 20 mile training run to have a change of scenery from the trans Pennine trail. I ran strong for the first 13 miles but struggled with the final 7 and wondered how I was going to do the marathon. The following week I did Wilmslow half marathon in order to work out what I was going to be aiming for in the marathon because although my training had gone well I knew I wasn’t fit enough to go sub 4. Caron came along to support and did the 10k. I completed it in 1 hour 56 minutes so decided I was going to aim for 4 hours 15 minutes.

The weekend of the marathon arrived I went for my 2 mile run on the Saturday morning and when I finished looked at my phone to see a message from Jenny she couldn’t make it this weekend because she was ill to say I was gutted is an understatement she had made me believe in myself again and been on nearly all of my training runs with me but the show must go on I had a marathon to do and I had the rest of the Barnsley AC support crew who were doing the relay event. We had 3 teams for the 4 leg relay and one team for the 2 leg relay. Sunday morning the day of the marathon was finally here and I felt well prepared and was looking forward to doing the run all the hard work was done all that was left to do now was enjoy the run.

While I was waiting at the start I saw Gary Briscoe flying past on the opposite side of the road unfortunately I didn’t see him until he had already past so didn’t have chance to cheer him on, not too long after Mark Havenhand came flying round the corner too this time I noticed him early enough to cheer and he replied with a thumbs up and smile. When I finally got started I was on the look out for other AC vests and this took my mind of thinking about checking my watch every few minutes this made the miles tick by so much faster. I spotted Helen and June running on leg 1 of their relay and they both smiled and waved and cheered me on which gave me a boost, shortly after this there were 4 South Afrian runners along to the beat of a tambourine so I ran along with them for a short while. The atmosphere was fantastic there were so many people supporting and the conditions were perfect for running a marathon I was in my element. At the change over point for the relay I spotted AC vests and as I ran past heard them cheering me on which gave me another boost on leg 2 of the relay I saw Caz running and as I ran passed her she shouted words of encouragement to me and I was thinking this is the best run I have ever done and carried on looking for AC vests. At the next relay change over point I spotted more AC vests and Linda who had come along to support at this point I started to wonder about hitting the wall and at what point this would happen I quickly shook this thought out of my mind and concentrated on all the support. A couple of miles after this I spotted Claire running on the opposite side of the road and wondered where her AC vest was but couldn’t miss her strong Barnsley accent as she shouted words of encouragement at me not long after I saw Lynne who shouted more words of encouragement. The miles continued to tick by nicely and the crowds continued to show their support and provide jelly babies, jelly beans, oranges and water. Going past the final relay changeover I spotted Anne and Jacqueline in the church yard getting prepped for their starts. The miles started to go by a little slower but I was still on to finish in what I wanted to and still soaking in the atmosphere so I was happy and then it was here the crowd were announcing that the finish was just around the corner then I saw it the huge inflatable finish I had a quick glance of my watch and smiled to myself I was going to be under my time. I crossed the line in 4 hours 12 minutes and 12 seconds all that was left to do now was find everyone else and that was a task and half but we all found each other eventually.

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