Report by Rod Cooper
Sunday 26th May 2019 saw my first, and maybe only, marathon. The event was part of a full weekend of running, with 1 Mile, 5k, Half Marathon and Marathon races, loads of bling, and very popular with over 10,000 competitors.
Seeing as I hadn’t made the ballot for London, I’d already done the Liverpool Half and there would be loads of other Ripon Runners there, I decided to step up and enter the Marathon. I trained with Chris for her London Marathon and was also helped by Kathryn Smith. I managed two long runs of 18 and 20 miles beforehand.
Judging by its name, the event is not necessarily for the purist, although it has a 6 hour cut off and there were no runners in diving suits etc. With bands every mile and plenty of sights it caters well for runners like me who will never win anything but enjoy challenging themselves, taking part and running their own race.
The course is on roads and paths and covers the whole of the city. Loads of people see the start at Albert Dock, but it thins out pretty quickly, so it was great to see Chris and cousin Izzy at Mile 2. A long uphill section takes you out to Everton, where you run round Goodison Park (Everton FC) through Stanley Park and by Anfield (Liverpool FC). I met James Stuart-Mills and Simon McCudden as I approached Goodison and I’m sure Simon appreciated the shout out I got for Luton Town over the Everton PA system!
The run back to the city centre followed the same course and after around 10 miles you pass Eleanor Rigby, John Lennon and the Cavern Club, with loads of tourists.
Next comes a nice uphill section through Chinatown out towards Princes Park. Great to see Chris and Izzy again at 12 miles, although the hills were starting to take their toll and I was walking them and running on the flat. After Princes Park comes Sefton Park; the parks in Liverpool are beautiful and great to run through.
Having run a steady 11 min/mile pace and dreaming of a possible sub 5 hour race, disaster struck at 18 miles when a terrible pain in my right knee stopped me from running. A brave face was put on for my support team at 20 and 22 miles, but I could only manage a brisk walk and a grimace by then, although I must admit I think I was in a better state of mind than the DJ in Penny Lane who could only play one song on repeat all day!
The last 4 mile section along the Mersey embankment has mixed blessings. It’s flat, but it’s open to the elements (and it was really windy), and there are annoying cobbles, and there are pedestrians and cyclists, and there’s 4 flippin’ miles of it!! Not great when you’re walking and the world seems to be overtaking you. Strange things go on in your head when you’re running alone; one plus along this stretch, a band played ???? Hi Ho Ripon Runners ???? (although they didn’t seem to know these words ????) which made me smile thinking of Hayley Whipp and Anne Cheeseman singing and dancing.
How fantastic to see Louise Allen waiting for me at 400m out. She got me to run again for the last section. And suddenly there were Ripon Runners all over the place shouting, screaming and cheering me home. Wow!! Absolutely amazing. Thank you all so much. Can’t believe I’m a member of the Marathon Club!
Completed it in 5hrs 46mins with help from my fantastic support team on the course (Chris and Izzy walked a half marathon to get to the support points), Ripon Runners crazies, and some lovely runners I met during the route (I even have a date with Paula from Tamar Trotters when I’m in Plymouth next but don’t tell Chris ????).
Results for other club members:
Anneke Imeson – 3hrs 52mins
Heather Glegg – 3hrs 53mins
Simon McCudden – 4hrs 21mins
James Stuart-Mills – 4hrs 39mins