Greater Manchester Marathon : Race Report

Simon Pryde sends this report from the Greater Manchester Marathon 2012

“Bruce Willis is Dead! Bruce Willis is Dead”!

The hail was smashing into my face, and I couldn’t feel my fingers. There were still 5 miles or so to go, the crowds had thinned out, then disappeared completely, spectators’ umbrellas, deformed by the gales and discarded, the only evidence they had ever been there.

All I could do was repeat my mantra. Everyone has a running mantra, do they not? Mine is from a Mr Oizo song, which is on my iPod and is utterly unsuited to running, as it changes speed and rhythm, and could hardly be described as uplifting. But it always makes me smile when it
comes on. No MP3 players allowed in this race (and who am I to break the rules?), so I was left with my mantra. I could no longer think.

The Manchester Marathon, you could say, was always likely to be uncomfortable with it A. being in Manchester and B. being a marathon. It was cold and wet from the moment I first ventured outside at 7 that morning. 8,000 people had apparently entered, far fewer (5,000?) gathered at the start at Longford Park, not far from Old Trafford. The collective shiver of athletes as we waited on the start-line for the announcer to get things going (shut up, get on with it, shut up, get on with it) triggered a tremor registering on the Richter scale at 4.5.

Blimey, the gun was loud. We were off, and heading south, then west. My plan was 7.25 minute miles (optimistic, especially as I’d had 4.5-on-Richter-scale activity in my stomach through the week, too), but, as usual, I shot off too fast. This time, though, I reined myself in. Plenty were passing me as the first 6, 7, 8 miles rolled by (including the 3.15 pace man and his disciples.. surely going too fast?!). Kept the pace steady as we went through Altrincham – great crowds, considering the conditions. Some motivating cries of “Go on Tyne Bridge” as my vest was spotted…. It was drizzling at this stage, very cold, but at least the wind was slightly behind… for now. The route curved north, and just after the halfway point (the second fastest half marathon I’ve ever run – 1.36ish) we found ourselves on a country lane, and a couple of tracks which wouldn’t have been out of place in a trail race.

I ran past a bloke in a Berwick Rangers shirt, and burst into appropriate song (Berwick’s my home town). This was met with a look of distaste and nothing more. My pace dropped slightly, but I still felt comfortable, though the rain was getting harder, the wind stronger. At 17 miles, we seemed to turn right into the teeth of it. We looked the Devil in the eye, and he chuckled at us, a bit like Frank Carson might. I put a lot into maintaining 7.50 min or so miles…. but it took its toll. It was SO cold. Why didn’t I wear gloves? I’d later discover plenty of people dropped out. From the halfway point there were plenty walking…. but I knew it was imperative I didn’t stop. I’d still be there now if I had. By 20 miles I was out of gas. As we looped back towards Stretford I dropped to 8, 8.30, 9 minute miles…. my last was around 10 minutes…. I felt sick, the lactic acid attacking my legs….. people now starting to pass me. “Bruce Willlis is dead…Bruce Willis is dead”. The rain got harder, turned to hail and I ran a considerable distance with my eyes closed. Never have I been so glad to see a finish line in all my life. I crossed amidst a small and bedraggled group – 3.23.46 the time.. slower than my target but still a PB by 28 minutes, so I shouldn’t complain!

Thankfully my girlfriend met me at the end and shepherd me back to the car. It took heater full blast for an hour or so before I could function.

Conclusion: Great fun (and Bruce Willis, as far as I know, lives on).

Simon Pryde

Permanent link to this article:


Skip to comment form

    • double d on 3rd May 2012 at 07:52
    • Reply

    To complete a marathon is already a great feat of endurance, but to do so in those conditions shows a fantastic level of grit and determination. Many congratulations Simon on a truly outstanding performance. yippie ki-yay marathon runner

    • kenny mac on 3rd May 2012 at 08:18
    • Reply

    Great report Simon, I felt as if I had run the race with you such is your narrative thus I am sitting here after having just poured a bucket of ice cold water over my head singing Berwick Rangers songs.

    To do 3.23 in the conditions you had to put up with will auger will auger well for the future, enjoy the craic with the shorter distances for a while and don’t tackle another marathon for a while, get your 5k to half marathon times down..

    Oh I want to be a Berwick Ranger
    Only Live for TBH and Danger

  1. 3:23 is an incredible time, Simon, well done.

  2. Great result in terrible conditions Simon. You don’t get to take 28 minutes off a PB very often so make the most of it.

    • david rowe on 3rd May 2012 at 12:24
    • Reply

    Well done Simon, brilliant performance in possibly the worst conditions.

    • Cat on 3rd May 2012 at 12:41
    • Reply

    My god, after all that i was expecting you to say 6 hours or something, but 3’23 – that’s a blindin run! I’ve read some other reports from that day and it sounded dreadful. Resssspect!

    Well done for a cracking race report too, what a hoot to read – glad to hear my Uncle is also still alive.

    • caballo tonto on 3rd May 2012 at 13:12
    • Reply

    If there is one thing I hate it’s rain. What a brave race, what a triumph, and what an entertaining report!

    • Apples on 3rd May 2012 at 13:54
    • Reply

    Great report Simon, I felt your pain in every word you have written. I tried to track your run but the tracking service was pretty pap really. See you next week and then back with the old folks round the Moor, oh and young Louis.

    • Ian Jackman on 3rd May 2012 at 14:28
    • Reply

    Great run and report Simon.

    • RobW on 3rd May 2012 at 15:52
    • Reply

    Well, if you can pb in that…! Any other conditions will be a breeze. Literally.

    • Diane on 3rd May 2012 at 22:29
    • Reply

    BrillIant report. Sounds like hell!

    • John Tollitt on 4th May 2012 at 11:08
    • Reply

    And what would be an appropriate song for Berwick Rangers?

    • Brother Louis on 4th May 2012 at 14:38
    • Reply

    Painful stuff Simon, class report and hardman running. Well done!

    • Kev jeffress on 4th May 2012 at 21:15
    • Reply

    Great report marra, and a fantastic time, especially in those conditions

    • Simon Pryde on 8th May 2012 at 10:09
    • Reply

    Thank you for the comments.. have had a weekend off getting drunk in Norfolk… ready to go again now! Off wpork today so will be at tonight’s session…

Leave a Reply

Your e-mail address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.