Many of our club members take part in different events which we like to hear about. This year a number of the club took part in spring marathons including Phil Mason, who ran the Manchester marathon and produced a fantastic performance. Here’s Phil’s story:
The Manchester Marathon – Phil Mason
I joined Waverley Harriers in October 2014 as I wanted to meet other runners and improve my running. With a couple of marathons under my belt I always believed I could achieve a better time with the support and advice of other runners at a club. I signed up for the Manchester marathon after a conversation on a Sunday run with fellow club runner, JP, who had run it the year before and had lots of positive things to say.
Training started in the first week of January and I didn’t really have much of a plan to follow, just running twice in the week and a slower longer run on a Sunday. For my previous marathons I had always run all my runs at one pace, but this time I made a conscious decision to slow my long runs down to spend longer on my feet and to run one faster session in the week. The Sunday runs were the most enjoyable due to the company and the routes. We really are blessed living here and having so many amazing routes available to us right on our door step. As the mileage got higher the number of people turning up on a Sunday dropped but the conversation still flowed and I made some great friends. Training went well and soon the big day arrived.
I travelled up to Manchester on the Saturday morning and arrived at the hotel mid-afternoon. JP arrived later that afternoon and we met up and went for dinner together. After a large bowl of pasta we made our way back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep ready for the big day. My alarm went off the next morning and I had slept right through without the usual pre-race night of nerves. I opened the curtains and was glad to see grey skies, perfect for running. After filling up on porridge and poached eggs we headed to the race village where the excitement was building even if it was freezing cold and outside Old Trafford, an uncomfortable place to be for a Chelsea fan!
The start of the race was well organised. The gun went off and I was across the line fairly quickly and soon settled into a comfortable pace. I got chatting to a few other runners during the race, most notably a guy who had run Brighton the week before and was running London the week after and then several more in the next few months! Throughout the race I felt pretty comfortable and absorbed the great support from the crowds around the course. Reaching mile 22 I started to feel a little uncomfortable, but I remembered all the training I had put in and dug deep to push to the finish line crossing it in 3hrs and 24mins. This was a new PB and 33 minutes quicker than my previous best time. The most pleasing thing was that my splits were all fairly consistent and I managed to run a negative split for the first time. I don’t think I would have got close to the time I achieved had it not been for joining the club and meeting and getting advice from likeminded people. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can recommend Manchester marathon as a great race, it’s flat as a pancake and very well organised. I now have the small matter of training for my first ultra-marathon in July, which is something I would never have contemplated before joining the club.
Congratulations go to Phil from everyone at the club.