Manchester Marathon – Jill Mair

Our final instalment on the Marathon Manchester comes from marathon debutant Jill Mair. Progressing from 10k a few years ago Jill committed to a marathon plan through the winter giving her the confidence to aim for a time specific target. Jill’s enthusiasm for running comes through this review. In turn her friends and family were out in force giving her timely boosts around the course, an important element for any marathon runner. ***Spoiler Alert*** We’re delighted to say that Jill deservedly smashed the Manchester Marathon.


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Never ever in my life did I think that I could complete a marathon!!


I started running when I was 30 and set myself the goal of the ladies 10k in Glasgow May 2011. I ran with mum’s from my daughters dancing. Four of us completed the 10k and I finished just under 57 minutes. I had caught the bug and the same year completed the Glasgow half marathon in 1hr 59. Sadly I didn’t do much after that, I returned to work, my girls started school and my running fell by the wayside because life got a bit hectic!!   Over the coming years I went out now and again but not racing.


Fast forward to July 2016, I was trying to get back into running when Gillian Glass told me about The Runbetweeners and as they say the rest is history and over the past couple of years my running has been consistent. I have completed a few half marathons and 10k’s since then and even joined the Bellahouston Harriers, my race times have got better and this is what made me believe that I could take on the Manchester marathon.


I have to say it is one of the best things that I have ever done. I trained hard five times a week and I stuck to my plan like glue. I just felt that for me, I needed to know that if anything went wrong on the day it wasn’t because I hadn’t trained. With being part of two running clubs I have plenty of people to go running with. I tended to do the weekday runs myself then always had company on the long ones. Susan and I did a lot of running together, having someone with the same goal is really helpful. We faced a lot of horrible weather but we laughed through it.


On the week leading up to the Marathon my excitement rose. I had no nerves, which for those who know what I am normally like on the start line of a race, this is not like me!!


The Marathon:


I woke up at 5.45, 15 minutes before my alarm. I had brought porridge and banana with me (my usual long run breakfast) I had that with a cup of tea and drank plenty water.


We all met up in reception at 7.45 for the walk over to the start line. The weather was perfect. There was a toilet stop and then we mustered with the 4 hour pacer and walked over to the start line with him. By 9.08 we were off it was all quite quick and we were on our way. We seen our first supporters Vicki and Lee(hubby) at around 4 miles. At 7 miles friends of mine that live in Sale were out to cheer us on. One of my best memories is at around 11 miles we turned a corner and The Proclaimers ‘I would walk 500 miles’ was blaring and that was just amazing and just after we saw our supporters again including my friend that had travelled down from Glasgow with her family just to watch the Marathon. Susan and I ran together for the first 16 miles which was great as we chatted away the miles.




Once I went off on my own I just kept focus and kept an eye on my watch, to make sure I didn’t start to run too fast. I had a plan and I wanted to stick to it. 16 miles is when the route comes off of the tram line so our supporters were not able to get to us, I knew that I was not going to see them until the finish line. It was actually ok because there were plenty of people out to cheer on all the runners. It is amazing when someone shouts your name even if you don’t know them, it gives you such a boost.


I had trained to 22 miles so I didn’t even think about the miles until around 23 when I realised that was the furthest I had ever run. My legs were ok, but my feet started to hurt!!! The toughest part for me was the last mile and a half, I started to get a bit of a stitch and I felt a little sick but there was no way I was stopping. The finish line was insight. With not very far to go Lee and all my other supporters popped up and that gave me the boost I needed to cross the line.


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I can honestly say that I loved it. I still can’t believe that I have completed a Marathon. I am now resting but itching to get going again!!


Thank you to The Runbetweeners for creating an amazing group and to the members for becoming my running chums and support crew.

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