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Manchester Marathon Finish

2024 Manchester Marathon

The 2024 Manchester Marathon Training

I made the decision to bypass my second run in Boston for a more local event at the 2024 Manchester Marathon. A third trip to Boston in one year seemed too much of an expense so that was the logic behind that decision. I ran Manchester back in 2022 and very nearly captured my first sub-3 hour finish. My time back then was still a PB at the time, but missed getting under 3 hours by only 30 seconds finishing in 3:00:29. I felt like I had something to prove here.

My experience at the 2023 Valencia Marathon left me with a strong desire to train hard once again for a spring marathon. At the end of December and into the first week of January this 16-week training block began in full force. At the time I figured I needed to work on two important aspects of my training in order to run a personal best in Manchester. The first was my weight. In the 2023 London Marathon, where I ran my previous best, I weighed in at 150.6 pounds. I wanted to hit the start line at the 2024 Manchester Marathon closer to 140. The second focus was speed endurance, hanging onto my race pace for longer.

Focus one: Weight

I began the training block for the 2024 Manchester Marathon at a weight of 169.4 pounds, (77kg/12 st. 1 lb). All of the metrics will be reported at the end of this post, but as far as race day goes, my final weigh-in on the Friday before the marathon my weight was 144.2 lb’s, (65.4kg / 10st. 3 lb) for a total loss of 25.2 lbs (11.4kg / 1 st. 11 lbs). That part of the training was a huge success. Not only was my weight down towards my goal, but I was stronger and leaner.

Focus two: Speed Endurance

As the months wore on, I managed to run my entire plan, with few exceptions. There were some travel days towards the beginning of the program and a couple of reconfigurations, but overall I hit most of my sessions. From beginning to end I covered 834 miles including 12 sessions of 20 miles or more (1 x 31 miles as well).

The speed endurance focus was left behind a little. The training program for the 2024 Manchester Marathon did not focus on the speed endurance near enough. This is something that I will address in my training for the next race. Too much endurance, not enough speed 😀

The 2024 Manchester Marathon Race

The 2024 Manchester Marathon had a huge field of runners, with 32,000 slated to line up on the start. As at every big city marathon the atmosphere was buzzing on the start line. I had a place in the second open wave, the red wave, and worked my way up towards the front. It took no time at all to find my space and get into a comfortable rhythm. My intention was to go out and try to hold a 6:30/mile pace for as long as I could. 

The atmosphere was electric from the start. The People of Manchester have to be proud of their city and the event because they were out in full force. Music, cheering, witty signs met the runners from the very start all the way to the end. We also got very lucky with the weather. It was raining on Saturday before the race and picked up raining again on Monday. Sunday’s race day was cool and calm with no rain in sight. 

2024 Manchester Marathon Elevation Chart

2024 Manchester Marathon Elevation

2024 Manchester Marathon: The Course

So the course is billed as the flattest course in the UK. Hmm, the elevations don’t show it to be all that flat and I found it more undulating that I did the first time I ran it. I’m sure it is the same, if not very similar course as it was in 2022, so it is likely just my perception (see elevation chart). One of the more common comments I heard was that the hill between miles 16 and 17 sapped energy. For me, it was a slow(ish) mile at 6:41/mile, but I made up for it with a 6:24 down the hill on the way out. 

Whatever it was, there was something about the course that I found just that little bit harder than what I was expecting. All marathons are hard, I do know this, so maybe the 12 months since last racing a marathon helped me forget how hard they really are.

My biggest fault in the execution of the race was the fact that I ran over the distance significantly. Although the watch told me my overall pace was 6:36, the chip time showed 6:40 due to my distance being so far over 26.2. I should have payed closer attention to running the line (imaginary line as there wasn’t one on the road). Still, that was something I could have done better, it wasn’t the organisers fault. I knew pretty early on that I was going off the line as my watch beeped well before the mile markers regularly. This is always a bad sign.

2024 Manchester Marathon Getting Late
2024 Manchester Marathon mid-race, still feeling strong
2024 Manchester Marathon 35k
35k in the 2024 Manchester Marathon
2024 Manchester Marathon Funnel
2024 Manchester Marathon after collecting the medal
Mcdonnell runners 2024 manchester marathon
Catraoine, Roisin and I after the finish in Manchester

2024 Manchester Marathon – Overall Experience

When I did cross the finish line in the 2024 Manchester Marathon, my time was 2:54:23, over a 2 minute 21 second personal best. How can I not be happy and proud of that? In the last three years, now into my mid-50’s, I’ve ran 3 new PB’s. Something is working for me. I suspect it is the repaired heart and maybe more importantly a new self-belief that many of us runners haven’t quite got yet.

The Enniskillen Running Club once again sent a delegation to help members along the way. The shouts and words of encouragement, especially from those you know are special. In those miles when you get that support there is always an uptick in pace. The 2024 Manchester Marathon was no different. A huge thank you to those who made the trip to Manchester.

2024 Manchester Marathon Deansgate
Running down Deansgate
2024 Macnhester Marathon Old Trafford
Crossing Old Trafford
2024 Manchester Marathon Approcach
Approaching the finish

The 2024 Manchester Marathon: Some Interesting Metrics

I promised you some interesting metrics from my 16-week training block. Here you go:

  • Total Miles Ran: 834.08
  • Starting Body Weight: 169.4 lbs
  • Final Body Weight: 144.2 lbs
  • Total Weight Loss: 25.2 lbs
  • Average Daily kcals: 1953 kcals
  • Average % of Daily kcals were Protein: 24.68%
  • Average % of Daily kcals were Carbs: 42.69%
  • Average % of Daily kcals were Fats: 32.63%
  • Average Daily Step Count: 17,698
  • Average Nightly Deep Sleep: 45 minutes
  • Average Nightly Light Sleep: 4 hours 34 minutes
  • Average Nightly REM Sleep: 1 hour 57 minutes
  • Average Nightly Total Sleep: 7 hours 18 minutes
  • Beginning Average Daily Resting Heart Rate (weekly avg): 49 bpm
  • Final Average Daily Resting Heart Rate (weekly avg): 38 bpm

The 2024 Manchester Marathon – Conclusion

I definitely recommend the Manchester Marathon to anyone looking to run a personal best in this distance. The course is a fast one, not as flat as I remembered, but still fast. The people who come out to support and cheer on the runners are amazing and the city really comes alive. This race will always be special to me. The city has something for everyone and for me, having my daughter living here makes it that much more enjoyable to visit. Once again, I left the city of Manchester with a new personal best and some great memories.


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