The 2013 Greater Manchester Marathon was my last attempt at breaking three hours for the marathon. Things didn’t quite go to plan.
My training went well, running twenty miles or more nine times before race day and with regular ten mile runs at target marathon pace, I was feeling the fittest I ever had. In February I had a run out in the mud at the National Cross Country in Sunderland and recorded my best ever result, in March I recorded a 10k personal best of 38:18 at Trafford and a 20 mile personal best of 2:15:56 at Lancaster.
A few weeks before the marathon, I picked up a slight niggling injury in my left abductor, whilst running a local 5k. A little rest and a little massage and hopefully I would be fine for the marathon.
My plan of race day was to go out at 6:30 miles and try and maintain that pace for a long as I could, a tactic that had worked over 20 miles earlier in the year. I went through 10k in under 41 minutes, feeling comfortable, but by nine miles I was beginning to feel my abductor and starting to slow.
I went through the half way mark in Altrincham in eighty-nine minutes, but I felt like I was dragging my leg by this stage and had expended far too much energy. The second half was a long drawn out experience in which running was painful and walking happened far too often.
In a bad place during the 2013 Greater Manchester Marathon © Scott Sadler
I finished in 3:19:34 and as absolutely trashed, both physically and mentally. My minor abductor injury was now something more significant, which took me several months to recover from, but more significantly I never wanted to run a marathon again. What I didn’t know at the time, but was a bit of a kick in the teeth when I found out a few years later, the course was nearly quarter of a mile short.
Fast forward four and a half years, I am starting to think that maybe I am ready to put myself through it again. Discussing running plans for 2018 with Jill a couple of days ago, the idea of a late spring marathon was floated and for the first time in years, the idea did not fill me with dread. Edinburgh is the favourite at the moment.
I’m 42, I will be 43 in January and plan to be the fittest, fastest and strongest I have ever been.