So Sunday morning and all set to go for the 40th Greater Manchester Marathon and my attempt at getting under five hours. On approach to the official car park it soon became apparent that I was going to have to get out and walk to the start line and baggage area. So out I hopped out and took my bag with me as it was a bit chilly and a decent walk to the start and with The Theatre Of Dreams in the distance off I headed. After walking around the ground and through “The Munich Tunnel” I took a moment to pause and think of the knob heads who still chant and sing about that disaster. So I was at the start line in time but not the baggage area (Some 15 mins more walk away plus any queue time) So would I hide my bag somewhere or try and pass it onto somebody to take for me. I spotted a couple with the fella getting ready but his bag had a baggage tag on but she wasn’t too keen to take mine as she was unsure she would go to the baggage area. Fair enough. I had spotted a building site to throw by bag over and then my 64 year plus father in law could climb over later and get to for me if it hasn’t been had off. Here I spotted an elderly gentleman on his own but with a bag with a tag on. I asked him if he would be so kind and take my bag down to the drop off. He said OK and I insisted he put his name and address in the bag so I could send him a gift to which he said don’t be silly. It was now 2 mins to the start so I headed off to the start line rushed, stressed and wondering if I would ever see my bag again. As it was The Greater Manchester Marathon I was running and I had walked through Old Trafford my running hat was suitably armed with an understated badge of scouse.
So wth the chaos of car parking off I went and to be honest I spent about the first five mile wondering if I would ever see my bag again and working out what was in it (Adidas trackie top, £20, iPhone charger and wire and a few other things I wasn’t too arsed about) It was too late now and having spotted the in-laws ar five miles all was going well on a lovely sunny day with a bit of a breeze and I was running a touch faster than planned but thought I would go with it as I find it hard to run slower. So the course headed out to Altrincham (My first ever game at Anfield was vs Altrincham in the third round of the FA Cup in 1981) Next up was Timperley and as expected I spotted a Frank Sidebottom. Around 15 miles and a few aches and mental issued including wanting to stop as others were. I had done 22 miles in training without stopping So I insisted to myself “come on lard arse get to 22 and see if you want a rest” By this time I could consume no more Jelly Babies I was armed with as I just couldn’t chew them. So I plodded onto 22 miles and at the water station took a rest and walked a bit. Perhaps I should have took my mates advice and banged on a Liverpool kit at 22 miles and got legged for the last four miles. There were a few people walking by now and a few people had taken the knock with the sound of ambulances en route. I decided like my first marathon effort I wasn’t going to kill myself and all was looking good for the sub five hour target. I must admit them last four miles were tough when I was running but I could still have a decent pace walking. Soon the finish line was in sight and I focused on a large sausage roll on the horizon.
I had enough in the tank to run about the last half mile and agonisingly about 400m from the finish line a man was being loaded up into an ambulance with what looked like a serious hamstring problem how heartbreaking. In the zone and not noticing my family at the finish I made it in a time of 04:48:31 and under the five hour target and well under 2012’s effort of 05:10:34. A perfect race and I was triumphant. Just the matter of my bag now and into Lancashire Cricket Club I went.
The end of the race was a bit chaotic and the free bevy was alcohol free (What is the point of that ? ) But I was the proud owner of a 40th Greater Manchester Marathon medal. Time to queue up for my bad. The queue looked big so I thought I would let it go down a bit and we sat in the stands of the cricket club in the sun. I went on a rekky and the bag queue was massive and I mean massive ( 2 hours for some people) My legs were slowly stopping working and there was no way I could physically queue up that long and nothing might be there. So Mrs Fay took my number and said she would pop back later as her and the kids were in Manchester that evening anyway so off home I headed. Mrs Fay popped back and the queue had grown. She went to the front and explained about my possible bad drop off and it wasn’t worth queuing for near two hours with two kids to be told there was no bag. The kind Steward checked and the bag had been dropped off and he came back with it. So out of the chaos came the second result of the marathon. I do feel sorry for those who had to wait though. If Mrs Fay would have had to queue once the bag was confirmed I did tell her just to leave it and we would sort something out. I hope the very kind random man has out his name and address in the bag as I will send him a gift.
So post race I was soon home and elated over my time and bag. I even managed to get a shower which is a good sign. Even my nipples had come through unscathed thanks to again another random person a few weeks before when he overheard me on a train who told me to buy a certain tape. There was pain pulling the tape off and next door might have been wondering what I was up to in the shower. I didn’t escape some chaffing though and my bum cheeks took the brunt today for some reason though I only discovered this via stinging in the shower !! I think my big toe nail is on the way off but as they say no pain no gain.
So only getting to 22 miles before stopping made me realise my 17 stone frame isn’t built to run 26 miles non stop and not to mention my very poor diet so that is that no more marathons for me and weekends are back to family life from now on though I will still do half marathons and accept my Rio Olympics dream of 2016 is over. After some persuasion I did do the race for sponsorship Just Giving Neil Fay(Or click banner at the bottom of the page) and I am on £438.15 of a target of £300 so many thanks to those who donated including many one pounds by text from random followers of my Twitter weather page @Liverpoolweath It was a privilege to run for Down Syndrome Liverpool and I hope to do something else for them and meet some of the kids I have ran for. If you can spare £1 Text NFAY73 £1 to 70070 to sponsor me.
Thanks to the in-laws for the lift and looking after the youngest tonight so I can get pissed and watch the golf. Thanks to all the sponsors and people who have just supported me anyway. I smell sausage rolls and Desperados. It’s been a triumph, chaos and emotional. Another one for you dad, never did beat you ha ha miss you x x
2014 Marathon Blog here “Emotional Liverpool RnR marathon review”
Fay x x x x x x x
(Had no energy left to proof read this so apologies for any errors)
EDIT just realised I forgot to put my Dezzies in the fridge aghhhhhh !