Georgia Wilding leaves the half-marathon to the boys and goes Marathon PB chasing.
Rock and Roll Liverpool Marathon: Sunday 29 May 2016
Started the Sunday morning in the youth hostel kitchen with a whole host of other runners and took the short walk to the already sunny and warm Albert Dock. It felt like a very relaxed starting pen or ‘corral’ everyone was very friendly, the men were helping the girls back over the barriers for a last ‘nervous wee!’ The start was delayed by a police incident but eventually I crossed the line, four hours ten minutes was my personal target (not disclosed to anyone pre-race) and four thirty my back up – my previous PB at Edinburgh 2015 was 4hr41m37s.
I lost the 4hr30 pacer before we were out of sight of the docks and running through the town centre and the huge Chinatown arch (apparently the biggest out of China). The bands were frequent with varying levels of enthusiasm and tastes in music.
Miles four through till seven took in the impressive Goodison Park, the pretty Stanley Park and the less impressive Anfield from a distance – my Garmin went loopy during this bit so the pacing was all in my head!
I lost a few jelly babies but gained a whole ton of crowd support from the friendly Scousers and my mum who was waiting at mile 11 – I was feeling good and although I knew my 10k time and then my half time in just under 2 hours were faster than intended in training I was reluctant to slow down and the heat wasn’t making me weary. I did have in the back of my head that I might be punished for this decision later. I also passed the 4hr 15min pacer.
In the beautiful sunny Sefton Park we got some shade, some wonderful support from people enjoying the weather, and gate crashed a wedding in the pavilion – the couple were saying their vows and we all applauded as we passed – though a pessimistic runner beside me yelled “Don’t do it!” At mile eighteen I thought I would be behind the 20mile time I’d got in training so pushed on and beat it by five minutes, crossing into the last 10k in just over 3 hours – everyone watching my tracker second guessed my intentions at this point. We did also pass a poor woman at the mile eighteen turning point (Penny Lane) who had to listen to Penny Lane on repeat for the duration.
Sub 4 could be possible, 58 minutes to do the last 10k, my PB is 48 minutes. I wouldn’t say I felt good, okay maybe, and in my mind strong so I pushed on a bit, head first into winds. It seemed to last forever running along the windy docks but I didn’t hit the wall like I have before. My watch died at 24 miles so I was playing the guessing game with pacing. That was until I caught and overtook the 4 hour pacer. I still didn’t quite dare to believe it until I saw the finish line, the time reading four hours (I crossed the line at 6min 25secs), I stumbled through a sprint finish and promptly burst into tears at seeing my mum.
Incredible race and atmosphere, wonderful city, would recommend it to anyone as it was a weekend I’ll never forget!