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Manchester Marathon 2023 - Michael Mitchell

Billed as the second largest marathon in the UK, this was next best spring marathon to do that wasn’t London. From the 28,000 who entered, 19,000 faced the start line. Among them were 4 DRRs.

This is the weekend and race from my own viewpoint.

After a near 5 hour train journey down on the Friday afternoon, there was a bit of dread to navigate myself around a city I’d never been to before. I couldn’t have been more wrong as the buses and trams to were I was staying and were I wanted to go were very reliable. Google maps also helped. Staying at a hotel opposite the Trafford Centre was just a few tram stops from the start line at Old Trafford and a short bus journey to the parkrun of choice on Saturday morning at Stretford, Longford Park.

By Sunday morning my sister and niece had joined me and we made our way to the start area. Everyone was doing the tourist thing of taking pictures of Man Utd football ground and statues of the legendary players. At 8.30 it was time to wish my sister luck and to be shepherded into my start pen. I meet Jamie on the walk to the start line, strategies discussed (follow the pacer or not follow the pacer), and after a short delay we are off.

For the first few miles the mix of sound of Alpha Fly’s and Vapor Fly’s hitting the tarmac, and the spectators cheering takes over. These miles are flat and good for getting into a rhythm, although there are sections when the route gets a bit narrow. Lots of Scottish club vests around. As we move on there is a generous offering of sweets all along the way, I’ll stick with the gels and water. Great beats from the DJ under the bridge too. At mile 12 I’m at the wrong side of the road and miss the gel station, need to conserve some energy now as there won’t be any coming in for a few more miles. Maybe I should have accepted a jelly baby, ah hindsight. Miles 16 and 17 in Altrincham were the toughest on route with a steep incline in the centre of town, its now hard to pick up again and the gears are stuck at a pace just below what I need to hit target. Tensing up on the right side of my neck, which used to happen in my early marathon days, it eases off. The last 6 miles everyone’s a road warrior and camaraderie comes to the fore to see each other over the line. Job done and the beer on offer at the finish line did feel well earned, even if I missed out on my target time.

Great performances from DRR:

Michael Mitchell 03:05:58

Jamie Stewart 03:09:13

Lewis James 03:27:17

Sarah Young 04:51:00

Thoroughly recommend Manchester Marathon. Great spectator support during the event and the logistics seem to work well on a busy day. Route is by and large flat, with a couple of inclines and a mix of straight and twisty roads.

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