(Kind of everything was done at the last minute with this trip. My Liverpool hotel was literally booked while on the train from Manchester.)
Was I gonna stay in Manchester and go in the morning, or go to Liverpool the night before? Ultimately, I just stayed in Manchester and went in the morning. I checked into my hotel, and even had time to grab a little breakfast there before heading over across the street to get my bib.
There seemed to be pretty big increased security (because of the bombing in Northern England earlier that week).
So it took a while to get everyone into the expo, but I think everyone got in… and there was a second start of the 5k, I think half an hour later. So even if people didn’t get in quite in time, they could still do the race.
After bib pickup, I headed to the start. There was a moment of silence for ye bombing victims and in this crowd of sooo many people, you could hear [what’s a more original way to say you could hear a pin drop? ‘Cause that’s what you could hear.]
As far as the race itself, I don’t have a lot to write home about. I just finished without falling asleep, so I call it a win.
You got to end running into a stadium which was pretty fun!
Before the race, you could only pick up your 5k bib, and you had to go back afterward for your marathon or half bib. So, after the race, I did that.
I had accidentally signed up for the full marathon, and thankfully they let me go down to the half. (I’ve heard there can be way more issues with this in the international races, but it was all cool.)
However, they let me keep the full bib, which came in handy the next day… but… I’ll talk about that tomorrow!
The funniest/cutest thing I saw here was a hen party (that’s what they call a bachelorette party in jolly ol’ England). The group was all dressed up and they pushed a cart (like a baby stroller) that was full of alcohol they could drink throughout the course 😂
And they would stop and dance to the bands. It was very cute.
Also, I didn’t realize until someone told me race morning… you know how in America, running etiquette is that when you walk you do it to the right? Well, in England, you go to the left (of course – but that hadn’t even dawned on me).
Although, running anything after the first few corrals seems to be a little loosey-goosey in England. When I asked what side I should walk on, everyone was very much like, “it doesn’t matter.” People didn’t seem too concerned about time or anything. It was suuuuuuuper laid back – definitely a change from how it had been in Spain (my only other European race experience).
I walked the whole thing. I was just kind of exhausted. I know jet lag isn’t a great excuse and people can argue it’s not a real thing, but I was just tired! I’d been burning the candle at all ends with the running project and work and therapy and everything. So, I just walked.
The time limit of the full marathon was 6 hours, and they started an hour after us, so technically we had plenty of time – especially because our course was basically the last half of the full course. So… I wasn’t terribly worried about time – except.
It did state that there would be a van for both the half and full marathon. And I just thought “how?!” The course overlap so much how will you tell and why will you?
Thankfully I had my full marathon bib, due to the happy accident of signing up for the wrong thing at the beginning of the season. So, at least if someone had to look (if I had to pull up my layers), maybe they wouldn’t question me.
I was so scared of a shuttle (that never came), that I went to the sidewalk and tried to just look like a pedestrian walking along.
(I later learned that a human being acted as the “shuttle,” and walked along with the last person at the pace they set. So, it all would’ve been fine even if I hadn’t been hiding sort of in plain sight.)
I did go onto the road to make sure I hit all the splits, and yet none of them showed up in my results! I’m guessing it’s because my bib didn’t change from marathon to half in the system quickly enough, so it wasn’t equipped to do that. But that was kind of a bummer.
At some point, I stopped off at this place to grab a little food, and I saw this man outside just decked out in Donald Trump gear. Oh no. Where am I, and how was I transported here?
Thankfully, he was merely part of a stag party and was wearing it for a laugh. Phew! (Why would I imagine for even one second that anyone in England would actually like Trump?)
I went inside and asked how long food took, and it was gonna take 25 minutes, so I was leaving to go back on the course when the guys said, “no no no. Stay with us!” So I did. I ordered some food and took a beak hanging out with this stag party.
The food was exceptional. The company was hilarious. And soon enough, I was on my way.
They pointed me in the correct direction, and then I reached this area that kind of had this out and back loop-y stuff of the half marathon. And I wanted to make sure I didn’t go miles out of my way.
So, I asked a spectator nearby if she could tell me which way was which on the map. And then, because it became confusing as to why I’d wanna know that if I was some random person, I just blurted out that I was trying to find a friend in the race.
She was being so helpful like, “oh, I have the tracker app! What’s your friend’s bib number!”
“I uh… I don’t know.”
“That’s okay. What’s there name?”
“I’m sorry, could you just tell me which way is the right way to be on the path to the finish?”
“Well, let’s just see where your friend is! Maybe they haven’t passed this point yet.”
And this is why you don’t lie, kids!
You find yourself in a very uncomfortable weird semi-non-argument with a person trying to be so nice.
And I totally, by this point, didn’t think I could say I was in the half.
Eventually her and her friends just told me the path that led to the finish (not the turnaround), and I’m sure they thought I was SO weird (and they so have every right to).
And I kept moving forward.
When I was coming in at the end, I felt bad because the crowd was *electric,* and I just wanted to be like, “you probably shouldn’t be cheering this enthusiastically for me when I run by you, as I have walked until this point and I’m only doing 13.1.”
I’m sure all the marathoners loved it! Go them! That energy was dope.
And then, that was it. Half marathon complete.
I had one more day in Liverpool, and I’ll talk about that soon!