To say I’m a little late on this recap is to make an understatement! It’s Friday morning, and I’m just getting around to writing about the Manchester Half Marathon from last Sunday. Here are some impressions… gotta get ‘em down before they float away and I’m off to the next race! We’ll start with a selfie from right before the horn blew and we all took off. Actually, that’s several minutes ahead… I would eventually move to the back of the pack, and was one of the last few runners to pass the start. More on that later…
The race was incredibly well organized. Race officials, DJ, post-race food and massage, volunteers, traffic control… all top notch. I was surprised at the size of the crowd. This was an official USATF New England Grand Prix race, and I think the last marathon of the season in New England. I think there were around 1,200 runners to cross the finish line, including half marathon, marathon, and relay.
First, this was my first race that had an expo the day before. I wish I had more time to peruse the vendors set up in the hall, but I did pick up a pair of snazzy new running tights which I wore for race day. $22 is a good deal… probably should have bought more than one pair.
Next thing worth noting is the course. Manchester is a hilly run. They described it as challenging and hilly, and they weren’t lying. By the time all was said and done, my running app said I had climbed 980 feet over the course of the run. I’m grateful that the last mile was mostly downhill (and it showed in my speed at the end of the race). Here’s the elevation chart; you can see several places where the climb was very steady.
Compared to Hampton, you can see that this was much more challenging.
This is why my recent workouts have seen me running up and down the hill at work. Getting ready for Manchester. I also changed my strategy some… I went out slow, with the idea that I needed to save energy for the end. I’ve heard other runners say you need half your energy for the first 10 miles, and the other half for the last 3.1. I think that feels about right.
Again, comparing to Hampton, you can see that I went out slower than that race, but that left plenty of gas in the tank for the end. By the time I got to the last mile, I was really pushing. 7:38 is a good pace for me when I’m fresh, let alone after running twelve miles!
As for the course itself, I liked it. It was a nice city run. Hilly, but not overly so. We ran through downtown, and we ran through neighborhoods. Past parks and then through some even more pastoral areas.
And then, out of nowhere, we were trail running. I forgot that there was a trail running element to this course, so was surprised when it started, but I really enjoyed this portion of the race.
All in all, the only downside to the race was how cold it was. It snowed as we drove in, but there was no precipitation during the race. It was about 35 degrees Fahrenheit at the start of the race. I ended up wearing ear covers, a hat, tights, two shirts, and gloves. My feet were about frozen by the end of the race (and I have since purchased merino wool running sox and a pair of Gore-Tex lined running shoes). I had a good time. Final time: 2:03:24. I’m still around the 70th percentile for my age group, but I still have two races this year, and I’ll do better.
And a special shout out to Mom, who picked up this good-luck rubber chicken on her last trip to Israel. Any suggestions for the name of the lucky rubber chicken?