By Manchester Marathon Queen – Annette Magill

Since my sister moved to England, I’d been toying with the idea of running in the London Marathon. Unfortunately, I was unsuccessful in the ballot, but had been told the marathon in Manchester was a popular alternative, so registered for that instead.
For most of 2017 I’d been suffering from Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot which had made long distance running very painful. November 2017 saw me visiting the Physio and being told in no uncertain terms not to run at all for 3 months. A trainer friend set me a training program of swimming and long bike sessions to maintain my fitness during this time. In mid-February this year I was finally given the all clear to start running again. I had 8 weeks to train as the marathon was on 8th April.
After a 27hour flight, I arrived in London on Thursday 5th April and felt nervous about the run but excited to see my sister and nephew, who were coming to Manchester to cheer me on.
I arrived in Manchester on Friday 6th April and was canny enough to be staying at the hotel at Old Trafford Cricket Ground which was a 5-minute walk from the start line and right at the finish line.
The day of the marathon dawned cold and foggy. I made my way to the start line with several thousand other runners, soaking up the excitement and keen to get running. It was a relief to get started and settle into a comfortable pace and begin to wind my way through the streets of Manchester.
There was such a fun, festival atmosphere felt by the runners and I have never experienced such amazing crowd support before. People lined the streets to cheer us on, waving signs of encouragement to keep us going. About the 10km mark, I was passing the 4:45hr pace group and one of them was carrying a speaker. They were having a marvelous time singing along to the music and entertaining the crowds and other runners. Church and community groups opened up their halls and centers for the runners to use the toilets and there were so many people holding trays of lolly bags for us to take for sustenance.
Different areas had bands or choirs singing songs and playing music to show their support. At one point I felt like I was running in the Olympics.
With all the injury issues I’d had leading up to the marathon I was stoked to be able to maintain a consistent pace and with the exception of my 4 “fuel breaks”, I ran the whole way.
I crossed the finish line in 4hrs 32mins and best of all had my gorgeous nephew there to greet me.
I’ve run 7 marathons, and this will be one I look back on with joy and pride. I know there were times I was tired, sore and ready to finish, but I mostly remember having a great time.
If you ever want to experience running in a marathon overseas, I would recommend Manchester as one to do.