9th October, Sunday morning, Birkenhead Park. The start of the Liverpool Marathon.
After an 18 year absence, the Liverpool Marathon is back.
Also my first Marathon!
A Marathon which starts on my own doorstep? I’d be crazy not to enter.
I’d previously blogged about my training for the marathon here, but I realised that I’d never blogged about the race. Well let me rectify that.
I went into the marathon fully confident that I’d finish the race, I’d put in the miles in training. Despite not following a plan and just doing what felt right I knew I’d get round. For my first marathon that’s all I wanted, any time would be a personal best time.
The route of the race, started in Birkenhead park, went to New Brighton before heading back to Birkenhead to go through the tunnel under the River Mersey into Liverpool, through Sefton Park before heading back to the city for a waterfront finish next door to the Liverbuildings.
I knew my pace, I knew my limits, I even had an energy gel strategy in mind for round the course as well.
As I’m posting this a few months after the race (will remember next time to blog in the days afterwards) the finer details, mile by mile are now a little blurry but a few things stand out.
At mile 9-11 running past my mother in laws house by Seacombe Ferry. My wife and twin boys were there to cheer me past, they’d painted a sheet which said “Run Daddy” and the boys were content in banging a couple of saucepans to cheer myself and the runners on. Gave me a huge lift.
Birkenhead Tunnel, near enough the half way point of the race, going downhill was fine going into the tunnel, but coming up and out was a struggle, but the noise from a drum troupe waiting for the runners as we came out was deafening! I think most people who ran the race have commented on this being their highlight of the race.
Parliament street, getting towards the end of the race, this was the bit I was dreading, Parliament street… the hill… the killer…. I’m used to running half of this street in the Liverpool Half Marathon, but that’s at the beginning of the race. This was the first time I had to walk in the race, was also the first time I started to worry about how long it would take me to finish the race because I’d started to walk.
Mile 22 Sefton Park (lap 3 of), i never thought I was going to get out of Sefton Park, endless is one word I’d use. I don’t know why but the route did about 3 laps of the park, couple of times going back on itself, seeing runners going the other way past you was quite de-motivating for me, but coming to the end of Sefton park I started to struggle with cramp. It’s at that point which I thought to myself… “Never again!”
Mile 24 ish, coming down Parliament Street, hearing a small brass band playing the theme tune to Rocky! That was it, I was off. It was if I’d just started running, no previous 24 miles behind me. I found some energy from somewhere and took off… Speed increased, my posture improved nothing was going to stop me from finishing.
The home straight, this is it, I was overtaking other runners, high fiving kids as they cheered on. I felt comfortable. I wouldn’t say it was a sprint finish, but it was a strong finish. Just as I turned the corner to see the finish line, I felt a slight tweak in my hamstring. ‘oh no I thought, don’t go on me’. I didn’t want to limp, or flail over the finish line.
Thankfully the hamstring clung on in there, I finished the Liverpool Marathon in 5 hours 13 minutes and 54 seconds. (5:13:54)
I’m happy with this time, before the race I was hoping for a 5 hour finish. But with a small walking breaks on parliament street and Sefton park my time in my eyes is acceptable.
Oh and it was the next day when I changed my mind about running another marathon. This year I’ve got the London Marathon and a return to the Liverpool Marathon to look forward too.