Liverpool Marathon 2016

On Sunday I completed the Liverpool Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 4 hours, 59 minutes and 28 seconds.

Now that we've got that out of the way, lets backtrack a little... We headed to Liverpool on Friday after lunchtime, stopping at Westmorelands Tebay services (best food of any service station), and then arriving at our cosy Airbnb house around 5.30pm. That night we ate at the Maray, which I would highly recommend- order the grilled cheesy brocolli and thank me later. We slept well and on Saturday wandered down to the expo. Honestly, it let us ask those last few questions about the start line and pacer placings but there wasn't much else to see. I read reviews of the big marathons with huge hall expos, whilst this had four stalls and some free magazines. That said, at least it stops you wasting your legs on a long browse. Afterwards, we sat in the roof garden of Oh My Goodness (gorgeous view) then grabbed lunch at Bills and played 'spot the marathoners'. Back at the Airbnb the three of us jogged 1.5 miles around the pretty local park before eating a sensible dinner of salmon pasta, and ignoring the Champions League Final (Madrid won, oh... wait).


Race day dawned and it was hot out at 7am. We got a lift part way to the start line beside the ACC, walking the rest of the way. The half started at 9am, the full at 10am. It really was a fantastic day- during the race I was constantly both thinking 'this is torture' and 'this is amazing'. I ran the first 10k in 1 hour and 3 minutes then realised I'd have to slow down. The next 30k was pretty even at around 5.2 mph. I would say more about the race itself but I just don't remember that much apart from the heat and the aim to be constantly moving forwards, even if some was walking. 

Half-Marathon start




Liverpool is a gorgeous course but much hillier than I anticipated- up, up, up for the first 10 miles; small rolling hills for the next 10; down, down for 2 miles after mile 20; then flat out along the front. I loved the view back down on the city from the Chinatown hilltop, the wonderful architecture dotted throughout, the parkland (two parks with some shade to keep my sanity), and the sensational view at 20 mi right down over the Mersey. There were parts I didn't like as much- Penny Lane meant little to me and just felt like a crappy out and back, some of the parkland looped a lot and it started to feel like you'd never get to leave- but overall the course was awesome. 

RnR really know how to put on a marathon: great bands, perfect organisation, clean portaloos, water and gel stations every 2 miles, simple but lovely goodie bag- technical t-shirt, water, salty crisps, banana, blingtastic medal; all you really want or need. I would recommend the Liverpool Marathon to anyone, bearing in mind it will likely always be warm. 

Those are the basic facts of the day, but that isn't really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the people.

I want to talk about the marshalls and the bands...

Who provided amazing course support- you could literally get away with carrying no gels or water and be fine. There was water every 2 miles, which was badly needed on Sunday (not always to drink, sometimes just to pour on my hair), sports drinks every second water station, and gels were available five times on the course. The marshalls provided smiles and cheers the whole way around.

The bands played the Beach Boys, Motown hits, acoustic guitar with smokey vocals, and of course the Beatles. Some I liked, some I didn't, but they all contributed to the only race I've ever completed without once using earphones. Even heavy metal music at a mile point lifted a smile.

I want to talk about the public supporters...

Thank you to the man with the orange slices, handing them out to anyone who wanted one; to the guy washing his car who started spraying the runners; to the kids playing with garden hoses; to the lady with the amazing signs, who was clearly following someone around the course. I was particularly touched by the lady who ran after me to give me money to donate to CALM. In fact, thank you to all the people who donated and to all the fellow racers who commented on my choice of charity.

I want to talk about my friends and family...

Who messaged me throughout the race, who tracked me online, who texted and called straight afterwards, who tweeted me congratulations, who reached out to say 'Go You!!!' with no reservations. 

I want to talk about Jackie...

My wonderful training partner, who dragged my ass out every Sunday morning and listened to me moan about running, who I have texted back and forth for months now about aches, about worries, about miles. My wonderful friend who absolutely killed it on Sunday (though her exact time is her own to brag about). Jackie, who finished looking like a model who'd been for a stroll, not an incredible woman who charged through a marathon. You are my personal hero, you were amazing



I want to talk about our S.O.s...

Who biked about 10 miles through Liverpool on crappy hire city bikes to see us as much as possible on the course. I want to talk about a man who repeated reassuring things from the sidelines when all I could reply with was, 'it's so hot'. Men who were proud of us. Who are still talking about us in glowing terms to anyone who will listen. And the man who has babied me the past two days as I've hobbled about sleepily.



I want to talk about Tara...

A woman I only met because I liked her aquarium leggings and told her so in the starting pens. An ultramarathoner who was planning on running the same pace as my original goal then when I couldn't hold it at 10k decided just to stay on pace with me. A woman who chatted, distracted, and cheered me; who bantered with the marshalls and thanked them for me; who I scared at mile 14 by asking where I was (I meant in the city in general, she thought I was confused and unsure of what I was literally doing). This kind stranger contributed the wisdom of her many marathons to mine, acted as my voice for miles when I was too dead on my feet to thank people and too dead to speak to my S.O.. She pushed me (figuratively speaking) through the last few miles by the sea front, and then into a sub-5 hour finish. 



Thank you to you all.


Lastly, I want to talk about me...

A woman who is a marathoner. 

I honestly didn't think I could do it until the finish line was in sight. And then I did. At mile 8 I thought I would fail out in the searing heat, but I didn't. During training, I thought I would give up, but I didn't. If you'd asked me if I'd do another during training... I would have said no. But now I'm a woman who'd be up for another, around 4.5 hours this time... But for now I'm going to be as happy with this time right now.



Post written by Scallywag and published on Scallywag Sprints on 31/05/2016

14 Comments:

  1. Congratulations on finishing your first marathon, and on what sounds like a very tough day! I didn't know Liverpool was so hilly- yikes! And the heat...wow. Awesome that you have such a supportive team.

    Do you think this was a "one-and-done" or will you want to do more marathons? Too soon to tell? Congrats again, and great recap!

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    1. Thanks Jessie! I was pretty tough :) And yes, the people around me were everything in this.

      I think I want to do another... In fact I knew during the race itself that I wanted to do another!

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  2. Fabulous Recap and huge congratulations - Honestly, I think you did fantastically and should be seriously proud of yourself and the money you raised for a seriously important cause.
    x

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  3. Awesome result! Glad you enjoyed it. You're a marathoner!! It was a hot day though so major kudos to you surviving that extra hardship.
    Also, love the Jurassic t-shirt. I have a girl version ;-)

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    1. I know! I'm a marathoner!!!

      It's a great tee shirt - I bought it for him ;-)

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  4. Such a nice recap <3, I felt a bit of your emotions there :). Well done to you! Sounds like a nice course, but I don't think I could handle the heat. I'll put it on my list though. xx

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    1. Thank you Andreea :) Definitely put it on your list! A very fun race to be sure xx

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  5. Amazing stuff not only surviving but enjoying a marathon on what sounds like a tough day- and I love that you've got the bug now!

    What did you think of the shorts? :D

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    1. They were GREAT, thank you for the recommendation! And thanks, I really enjoyed it!

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  6. Congratulations on becoming a marathoner! Great race recap, and I love how much support you had from everyone. Its so often the people that make running really great.

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    1. Thank you :) And definitely, yes, the people made it!

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  7. Congrats! Amazing achievement :)

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