By Daniel Sarno
After entering my first long distance race four years ago, I’ve been hooked by the sport, entering marathons around the world and hunting down my next marathon PB.
Overall race rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Race organisation? ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Race course? ⭐⭐⭐
✓ Race pack sent out before the race
✓ No parking close to the start (within 500m)
✓ Bag drop
With Manchester being my home town, this was set to be a special marathon for me. After weeks of solid training, the flat route, great home support and strategically placed family members along the coursed powered me to a sub-3 personal best. Even the rain held off!
✓ Closed roads
The race itself was well organised and fun which is critical for such a mental sport as marathon running. Closed roads and event staff were there to guide everyone round the mainly outer city flat route, headed south and west through the small towns of Greater Manchester. The crowd support was great and where there were the odd lonely stretches along the route, I had played my home card advantage and drafted in friends and family to help me kick on in those crucial sections. The race atmosphere builds in the final few miles as you head back into the city and down the home straight, propelling everyone through the last 385 yards and across the line by Old Trafford.
Having Old Trafford cricket ground as the event village meant that there was plenty of space after the finish line to take your time, stretch out and let that race high rush over you. Collecting the marathon medal was extra special for me after a personal best and the event organisers made refuelling, photos and bag collection easy for even the sorest of runners. Friendly event staff guided me to the essential post-marathon complementary (non-alcoholic, obviously) beer to put the icing on the cake of my Manchester marathon experience.
1. Get there early – like all races really, roads and public transport are very congested in the hours before the event.
2. Mancunians are very friendly so be sure to chat to your fellow runners.
3. The crucial miles 19-21 are a little exposed to the elements in the countryside and lacking in support so prepare for that physical and mental battle.
The event in 3 words
Flat, friendly and fun