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Manchester Runners Take Over the City!

Published on May 23rd 2005.

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Sore legs for some of us this morning (Not us you big girl – Faye and Kelly) but it was worth it - what a fantastic day Manchester put on for the BUPA 10k Manchester Run yesterday. Running for 6.2 miles might not be everyone’s idea of a grand day out, but for those entering the money-raising spectacular, it was a thrilling event to take part in.

And the hard slog of the training regime proved worth it as all three of our competitors (Lindsay pulled out – click here to challenge her to an alternative money raising opportunity), successfully completed the course in under an hour, with big Faye in particular setting the course on fire with a jet-propelled 50 minutes and 21 seconds.

A record 20,000 competitors turned out for the event (a further 10,000 were turned away when they tried to enter), and with thousands more lining the streets, the city was a throbbing hive of anticipation as the 10am start of the race came closer. Even Tristan managed to climb out of bed after getting just half an hour’s sleep to take the pictures.

With nerves aplenty and stomach’s a-turning, we lined up (Myself somehow in the 1st fastest wave of athletes, and Kelly and Faye in the third wave) it was hard to work out how on earth we were going to even get any space to do the run as we seemed to be crammed in like sardines.

Pre-race entertainment was provided by a 10 foot tall Scotsman (he might have been on stilts – either way his longer strides would make him one of the favourites to win the race) and his sidekick man in a dog outfit, complete with a dangling set of plums.

The serious runners went along with the warm up man whilst Darth Vader, Spiderman, Scooby Doo and some 8 foot bear prepared for what was likely to be a heated race, our hats go off to them for completing the course, let alone breaking any records.

Charities galore were being represented as the crowds spread back down Oxford Road, from the start line at the Midland Hotel.

First off were the wheelchair racers, quickly followed by the elite athletes including the Ethiopian Haile Gebrselassie – more on him later!

Then, at 10.005, the gun for the first wave went off and we shot off like a rabbits from a trap, until we walked into the person in front of us as the crowd shuffled to the start line for another four minutes. When we got there though, the anticipation turned into realisation that over 6 miles lie ahead as the shuffling crowd sped up and turned into fully fledged runners.

It was downhill all the way down Quay Street before turning up past the Museum of Science. The bloke who had started talking to me at the start line was following me still trying to have a natter….this allowed me to put the pedal to the metal slightly more in order to get away from the guy. Speaking to Faye later on, she had similar problems with a bearded lady in the crowd exasperating on how last year’s event took her 3 hours in the blazing sun.

Kelly had no such problems, she merely had to deal with breaking down with cramp on 8km. The poor girl keeled over in tears before fended off a few people trying to help her up with swinging fists, a barrage of swear words based on a determination to crack on herself. You don’t want to mess with a plucky girl like Kelly when she’s determined to do something…

There was certainly no blazing sun this year, with a perfect chilled wind to blow away the sweat halfway round the course.

Running up the Cheshire Road, we passed the 4km mark and with none of the pain coming back to my shins and it was at this point that I actually thought I might be able to get a time under the expected 1hr 10 minutes that I had planned. It was also at this point that the crowd began cheering and clapping up ahead. Unsure what was going on, I only managed a fleeting glimpse of the cheetah-like Haile Gebrselassie powering his way down the tarmac like he was about to take off.

Sod him and his record books though, “You’re all winners” as one little old lady with a granny-style trolley pointed out to me as I half tripped over on the pavement coming up the Lowry. Bless her.

How our runners faired:

Big Faye – 50 minutes 21 seconds
Kelly – 57 minutes and 56 second
Tim – 56 minutes 54 seconds

The next stop was Old Trafford where the runners feared getting burnt to a crisp by the Glazer efagy-burning Man United fans who’d left their matches on the floor. Luckily, the soldiers standing at the side of the road had cleared them away and were instead content to chuck plastic water bottles at us, nice and refreshing unless one of them cracked you in the eye. Cheeky Charlies.

Past the halfway mark and I decided to leg it for all I was worth up the hill and back into town. I obviously wasn’t worth very much as fatigue and lack of a lung capacity brought me down a peg or two.

But, as Scooby Doo overtook me on 8km, it was time to take some serious action. Digging deep into the depths of my thighs, I stepped up the pace, although was it just me or did that 9km sign take 3 hours to appear on the horizon? Thankfully, when it did appear, the reappearing crowds urged us all on for the final surge onto Deansgate.

In a strange way of thanking the crowds for their support, all the only thing that overtook me on the final 150 metres was common sense as I dived towards the crowd and proceeded to ‘high five’ them on the way to the finishing line. In addition to this I spent the last few steps pumping the air and shouting with all the manners of an American Ryder Cup winning team, to ensure that the majority of the crowd changed their opinion of me in a few short minutes.

Once it was confirmed that the three of us had all achieved decent times, it was off to wear our medals with pride, cheer lots and celebrate with fellow Mancunians brought together by simply running around our great city for an hour or so.

Haile Gebrsealassie, by the way, finished with a course record time of 27 minutes and 25 seconds and has promised to return next year for a world record attempt. You’re welcome back any time Haile, although big Faye reckons she’ll be giving you a run for your money next year.

Congratulations to everyone who took part, and as the little old lady in the crowd said to me: “You’re all winners!”……now send us your times so that we can compile a list of friends of Manchester Confidential who took part….

Friends of Manchester Confidential

Simon Painter - 44 minutes
Phil Morse - 44 minutes 23 seconds
Rick Cowan - 48 minutes
Neil Davies - 49 minutes 47 seconds
Khalil Borat - 50 minutes 16 seconds
Big Faye – 50 minutes 21 seconds
Matt Kershaw - 51 minutes 8 seconds
Karl Bittner - 52 minutes
Jamie Stephenson - 52 minutes 10 seconds
Michael Carr - 52 minutes 34 seconds
Daniel Crews - 53 minutes 54 seconds
Sam Collinson - 55 minutes 44 seconds
Stacey Benson - 57 minutes 44 seconds
Tim – 56 minutes 54 seconds
Amanda Delaney - 54 minutes 33 seconds
Mark Unwin - 56 minutes 2 seconds
Kelly – 57 minutes and 56 second
Andrew Jackson (Dangermouse) - 58 minutes 55 seconds
Diane Adams - 59 minutes 24 seconds
Ian Blair - 1hr 1 minutes 10 sec
Sarah Lou Morgan - 1hr 2 minutes
Nicci Johnston - 1hr 2 minutes 48 seconds
Helen Cook - 1hr 5 minutes 46 seconds
Keris Stainton - 1hr 8 minutes 26 seconds
Sarah Mawbey - 1hr 8 minutes 48 seconds
Gilly Cunningham - 1hr 14 minutes 56 seconds
Emma Chiswell - 1hr 16 minutes 38 seconds
Charlene Hunt - 1hr 24 mins 30 secs
Beverly Evans - 1hr 45 mins 38 secs

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