Sunday, November 1, 2009

Race spectating - Manchester Marathon

Today was the third annual Manchester City Marathon and half marathon. The start and finish is about 5 miles from my house, yet given the timing I have not participated, and given my focus on other, specific races, I probably never will. However, the timing does usually work out for me to casually go and watch without having to work around a huge weekend of training.

I had a lot of extra time before heading downtown for the 8:50am start because in spite of my newfound ability to sleep in, with the clocks moving back an hour last night, I was wide awake by 6am. I appreciate the extra hour and the extra daylight in the morning, but not such a fan of it getting dark at about 4:30. Anyway, I made it just in time for the start of the race and watched the masses run by and head off on their 13.1 or 26.2-mile journeys. After walking around aimlessly for a while, I found myself a good spot on Hanover Street, where I'd see the half marathoners coming up towards the finish and the marathoners approaching their halfway point. In the interest of my random observations from my last post, here are some random observations from this race:

-The race officials offered an early start for those marathoners who were going to be out on the course for an extra long time. I believe they were given a 90-minute head start, so these people started coming through halfway long before the other racers, usually completely by themselves and without much fanfare. It must be odd to run a marathon almost entirely alone. Anyway, these people took their time at the aid station and seemed afraid to just chuck their Gatorade cups on the ground like the rest of us do. One of these guys actually asked the aid station volunteer what place he was in. Um, well, at the time he was I guess about the 15th person to come through, but not sure it really counts when there are several hundred people who only happened to start 90 minutes after you did but time-wise will be far ahead.

-Apparently, among 11-year old girls, the super-high side ponytail is no entirely dead. (spectator, not runner)

-When the race first started, I noticed that among the lead pack of elite runners was this guy with a long ponytail. That made him easy to identify when he came through 13 miles at about 1:45. What exactly was he doing going out with the lead pack?

-There are always going to be people who run really fast but don't at all look like they are running fast.

-I'm getting really sick of watching races and not running them. I haven't crossed a finish line in almost 2 months and it sucks. I feel like Kona was 3 months ago, not 3 weeks ago.

-That said, it's still cool to see the look of accomplishment on people's faces when they approach and cross the finish line.

-Even if there is a big sign right in front of people telling them to go left to finish and right to continue for the second half of the marathon, a surprising amount of people still have to ask the volunteers where to go.

-On the drive home, there was a truck in front of me with a set of fake balls hanging off the trailer hitch. What kind of a person, under what circumstances, thinks that might be a good idea?

-An amazing amount of people still wear iPods during races even though rules state not to.

-I wonder if the guy who wore the entire Canadiens hockey uniform, including wool hat, shin guards and mini hockey stick, regretted his decision?

-I made the executive decision a few days ago to start wearing my right shoes again. I'm quite happy with my decision and it makes it a lot easier to walk around. Also, my foot isn't so cold.

-I saw a guy running with a Newtons visor and Asics shoes. Is that allowed?

-I miss running terribly. Watching other people do it on an amazingly gorgeous day doesn't help.

-Tomorrow is my follow-up x-ray. Let's hope for good news! And you know, not the good news I got after the first x-ray that turned into bad news on the second. Basically, I'm hoping last x-ray for a very, very long time.


  1. Good luck with the x-ray! Nothing like spectating at a marathon to make you want to start running again..
    I've seen balls hanging off the hitch before. Just nasty.

  2. Please start training; these posts are getting excessively long :)