Always the runner, never the crowd

Over the past 18 months, I have participated in so many races in lots of different locations: on the road, in the countryside, on the beach, in a valley, round a racetrack, in a different country – you name it. But no matter where I have been, or whatever the weather, there has (pretty much) always been someone there to support me.

Even when friends or family couldn’t make it, there have been locals out and about, cheering runners on with signs of encouragement and handing out jelly babies. Blasting out music on their bluetooth speakers or cooling us down with their garden hoses when its been ridiculously hot outside. What excellent human beings.

So yesterday it was my turn…

My BFF’s brother was running the Manchester Marathon in memory of his friend, Sam.

Coupled with the fact that the route went directly outside my block of flats, there was zero excuse not to step outside and support the race.

You may remember from my NY marathon blog that I learned about the tragic news of Sam’s death within about an hour of crossing the finish line. It hit me hard – bringing me back down to earth and reminding me of the sole purpose of the 30for30 challenge. Another young man from the area, taken far too soon.

It was heart-warming to read that Sam’s brother and a group of his good friends had decided to take on the Manchester marathon in his memory and raise awareness – an important message coming from a group of young men of their age.

You can read their story here:

I wandered into Timperley village early doors with my handmade sign to meet Stuart’s family and take our positions for the next few hours at miles 10/14. (I made a sign to help Stuart spot us but then forgot to tell him to look out for it) 

If anyone wants to hire me for any sign making then please let me know, as you you can see my bubble writing is very good…

We did our bit for the runners, yelling out their names if they had them printed on their t-shirts and generally just adding to the atmosphere they will have needed, coming up to that half way mark.

We saw about 3 people that looked identical to Stuart before finally seeing actual, real life Stuart. The whole thing made me realise that Mum was telling the truth when she says how hard it is to spot me at these things, especially if I don’t tell her what colour I am wearing beforehand…

Our Timperley time was over after successfully seeing Stuart on the outward stretch and back again – ‘looking relaxed and maintaining a good pace’ as Rachel reported 😁 We headed to the finish line where all four of us were also using our last bits of energy to cheer everyone on for the final few yards…it was a long day for us too 😉

With the Paris marathon looming over me, watching hundreds upon hundreds of runners complete this race gave me the kick I need and last little bits of motivation to get pumped for next week’s race. I’m ready for that post-marathon feeling again (fingers-crossed).

Stuart crossed in 4 hours 20min and didn’t say an absolute ‘no’ when I asked if he would ever do it again 😄

Congratulations to Stuart & team for completing the marathon and raising over £13k in memory of Sam ❤️

So what have I been up to… And what about Paris?

Paris marathon is happening this weekend! eek.

Due to the constant stress and how much training for a marathon takes over your life, Jemma and Steph have been sensible and ducked out of running it. When you’re doing things like selling a house and working hard on uni papers, something has got to give.. and for the girls, on this occasion, it was the marathon.

I’ve decided to still take part because I have fewer life pressures at the moment and have the time to spend running around the streets of Manchester at the weekend, ruining my joints and muscles by clocking up too much mileage.

To be honest, I am glad that they both came to the same decision together because the thought of one of them walking around Paris trying to spot two of us in a race, doesn’t sound like too much fun… But the two of them are going to have a great Saturday night and Sunday, without the burden of 26.2 miles. I’m going to regret this decision when I have to say goodnight at 10pm on the Saturday night…

For training, I’ve been doing more gym stuff and a fair few long road runs to prep.

Getting out for a 13+mile run at the weekend is so hard on your own, so I did a couple of local races to force me up and out of bed in the morning.

I completed the ‘Race on track’ race at Oulton Park back in Feb for a 16mile training run. It was probably one of the most mentally challenging things I’ve done – running 7 laps of a 2.2mile race track. When I was 20mins in and realised I had to do it 6more times – on a very misty day where I could hardly see a thing..not great.

I told myself I would blog about it once I was over the experience, which I am still clearly not.

The madness continued though when a couple of weeks after I completed the Wilmslow half marathon after running 7miles to the start line, making it my longest marathon training run of 21miles. Mel and Abby were at the finish line waiting for me and whisked me off for a nice rewarding lunch after I’d had a little pain cry.

Knowing my friends were there got me through, even when they text me saying “hurry up, it’s cold”. 

Luckily, the weather was lovely and the sun was out for the Manchester Half Marathon yesterday, which made supporting Stuart a great time for us.

So many races that I have done have been in the cold and wet or even freezing and snowy – so if you are reading this and did support a race during 30for30, know that I am more grateful than you’ll ever know.

So, I am done running now until Sunday. I’ve had my last sports massage and I am panicking about little aches and pains so just walking, stretching and (the best bit) carb loading for me this week.

This Friday will mark the 3 year anniversary since we lost Adam. Signing up for this marathon was another way to keep my mind focused and do something positive and not go under that weekend. I can’t believe it has been three years without him – but I am looking forward to running the marathon and having lots of great food, drinks and creating memories with Jemma and Steph in PARIS ❤️

You heard it here first – this is my last marathon (at least for a good few years). If you don’t hear from me for a week after this race it is because I’m staying away from technology out of fear of signing up for another one during the high. I’ll stick to half marathons in future… Wish me luck.

Image result for paris marathon

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