There was a strong Claremont contingent in Liverpool this weekend for the ‘Rock and Roll’ Marathon. Marie Slack sends this report.
Doesn’t time fly when you’re training for your first marathon! It doesn’t feel like over a year since some old hands (namely, Nina, Julie D and a friend, Teresa) agreed to do the Liverpool Marathon with a trio of first timers, namely me, Colette and Elaine (both now with Elswick). Over the months that followed, we stuck to a plan and many training runs and club sessions later, the weekend we had all been eagerly anticipating finally arrived. We arrived in Liverpool on Saturday afternoon, went for a bit of carb loading and then a quick spin around the expo. We resisted picking up the race t-shirts, not wanting to tempt fate. The runners’ terror (or maranoia as I believe it’s called), which had denominated my thoughts for the past few weeks, was starting to abate, replaced by pre-race nerves and excitement. Liverpool gives Newcastle a run for its money when it comes to party cities so not a lot of sleep was had before the day dawned, bright sunny and hot! With tried and tested breakfast fuel on board we set off to the start and the atmosphere was brilliant. We dropped off our bags at the ‘Gear Check’ (American for bag drop) in the Echo Arena . After a quick chat with Kenny, we broke off into separate corrals (American for pens) and stood and baked whilst the start was a little delayed. Finally, we were on our way!
Whilst not the flattest or fastest route, it was a really great course, especially for a novice. It started down at the river which has been beautifully redeveloped and included so many of the iconic sights: the Liver Building, the Cavern Club, China Town, Goodison, Anfield, and parks including Stanley Park, Princes Park, and Sefton Park. At around 18 miles the route went up and down Penny Lane. By this time, Colette, Nina and Julie were well ahead and Teresa was also a little in front of me and Elaine, who had so far managed to run together perfectly to schedule. However, the going was getting a bit tough so at that point we parted company, which allowed us both to concentrate on our own running. It was only later that we found out Nina had spent a few minutes with the St Ambulance crew, having fallen on the slightly uneven ground. Undeterred, as you would expect, she picked herself up and with chin patched up went on to put in an awesome performance finishing in 3:56. Another stunning time (4:12) from Julie took her (but not us!), completely by surprise. Teresa was also pleased with a PB and super speedy Colette was delighted with her debut marathon time of 3:51. Elaine was determined to beat 5 hours and did so (4:57), whilst I was resigned to letting the pacer pass me, knowing that the most important goal was to finish comfortably. I crossed the finish line in just less than 5 hours 5 minutes, determined not to throw the trainers in the bin but to have another go.
Overall Liverpool was a great experience – the run was well organised with plenty of water, gels and Lucozade, vital in the sunny conditions. The support was enthusiastic and helpful -the ice pops a life- saver). The ‘Rock and Roll’ was provided by a host of great bands along the route and at the end of run party. The 6 Canny Lasses celebrated a grand weekend with cocktails and a curry. At this point I would like to thank Mary, Leanne and Rose who joined us for training even though they weren’t able to take part. Next time girls!
p.s. Nina had us out for a recovery jog at 7.30 the next morning – This Girl Can!