Manchester Marathon 2021

On the 10th October 2021, I finally took part in Manchester Marathon. After being scheduled to pace sub 4 in April 2020, this has been a long time coming to run the new course at Manchester Marathon. But it was worth the wait. Until recently I had been disappointed that I would be missing this race. When the date was moved it clashed with Chicago Marathon, which I already had flights and accommodation booked, so I deferred. Biden had other ideas though, so with the travel ban still in place, I reached out to the guys at Manchester Marathon and jumped back on the 4 hour #funbus.

Can you count the burgers 🍔

I love coming to Manchester, and making it a family trip, seeing friends, and obviously being very sensible with my pre race nutrition strategy. I was glad to be back pacing sub 4 again after Berlin Marathon 2 weeks ago, and getting a brand new Marathon PB at London Marathon last weekend. It did mean my legs felt a little tired before starting. But that wasn’t going to hold up the Funbus.

Today was my 91st Marathon plus event, working towards the 100 marathon club. This is also the 91st Official event I have been a pacer, which is the 30th Marathon I have paced. This is my 4th time pacing at Manchester Marathon, with a year covid break, and the last time being April 2019. Check out my 2019 Manchester Marathon blog HERE.


As always, I laid out my kit the night before, and really happy that I hadn’t cancelled my place so I got #Funbus on the bib. The morning of race day was a little different. With the change of date the Marathon was moved to the half Marathon date, and they ran together. The waves were a little more spread out, that seemed to work well, but they sent the half marathon first. There will be pros and cons for whichever way they organised the starts, and it must have been a logistical nightmare ensuring that both events could ran together without impacting on the other. It meant that I did not start until 11:05, which is very late, but completely understandable. The pre race bag drop was simple, and the wave starts were easy to understand. I got into my pen, and got the funbus together for a pre race pep talk, and it was a huge group. I always like spreading a little cheer, settling nerves and providing some pacing strategy information. If you were with me, I hope it helped.

The Funbus

It was already getting hot before we started. Typical that the Saturday was perfect running weather. It was a beautiful day, possibly a little hot, and it would have impacted a lot of people. But we had a busy group, and everyone engaged well together, knowing that they are the funbus and I was just the driver. We ticked off the miles and I shouted out information each time to keep everyone updated. I was so impressed that we kept so many people together for so long.

Water was provided in bottles regularly with some SIS gels on the course. I think this well organised. The heat meant I was drinking the whole bottle each time, and I would have been grateful for one more water station before the last. Around 24 miles I definitely felt like I needed some more water, but to be fair, if it wasn’t for the weather, and the later start, it would not have been an issue.

Half way and having fun

My group stayed together with dozens of runners staying with me until the end. The new course was nice, it had the usual pot holes in places, but it took us through more of the city centre which was nice. I’ve not compared the elevation but it felt like the new course had more elevation than usual. Certainly not a hilly course, but it didn’t feel as flat as usual, but maybe that’s just my tired legs.

Sub 4 funbus

Lovely big medal as expected from Manchester, which definitely feels like the second largest Marathon in the UK, close behind London. My official time was 3:59:43, but most importantly, there were lots of happy faces at the end of people getting sub 4. There were a number who didn’t make it, but they were close, still delivering a PB. Well done to everyone who took part.

Finish line smiles

How did you all get on today? That’s all for me, well until next week when I’m pacing 3:50 at Amsterdam Marathon.

5 thoughts on “Manchester Marathon 2021

  1. Wonderful! My friend Maria did it but I don’t know if she was near you as I couldn’t get the tracker to work! Great work as always, and they obviously learned from the Birmingham marathon/half not to start the marathon first!


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