Gemma Hockett’s top tips for the Manchester Marathon
We spoke to Gemma Hockett, 2-time runner of Manchester Marathon. A woman who has improved her time by over an hour from 3:59 to 2:55:46 and is an inspiration for many everyday runners. She is on the bounce back from injury and has her head down to tackle Frankfurt Marathon later this year with hopes of another speedy race.
With Manchester marathon coming up this weekend we got her top tips on tackling the race:
The Greater Manchester Marathon start is very easy to get to. Officially, the best way to get to the start line is via the Metrolink (to Old Trafford), however I’ve managed to get dropped off twice in a row, very close to the start, without any dramas.
I would give myself about 1:20 before the start time (09:00 GMT). This is plenty of enough time to drop off your bag, make multiple toilet stops, take a warm-up and get into your starting area.
The following pacers are available: 3:00, 3:15, 3:29, 3:30, 3:45, 3:58, 3:59, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00 and 5:30. You will be able to spot them very easily! Headphones are permitted, however runners are encouraged to not use them if going for a prize.
The course is pretty flat. The first mile or two is downhill – don’t get carried away, lol. Let your legs feel pace without the extra effort – keep relaxed. Keep calm. Also, something to be aware of; there is a relay going on at the same time, so don’t be alarmed by any speedy runners taking over you.
There are eleven water stations on the course in total. Small hand sized, sports water bottles are distributed, which are absolutely perfect. Take what you need. Gels are also distributed at miles 8.7, 15.4, 20.2 and 23.2.
Treat the course like a Formula 1 race track. Take all the corners tight and avoid swaying out all the place. 26.2… nobody wants to run 27.
Ok, so there is a sharp up hill at half way. It’s over pretty quickly, however I’d advise to back off and take a breather. Just after this, the route goes into a central town area, with quite a few twists and turns. Keep yourself focused here, and again, no wild running.
Mile 21-23 is ever so slightly uphill and tends to be very lonely. I’ve lost the plot here twice. With the fatigue building in your legs, you may need to have a fight with yourself to keep up the effort. A caffeinated gel at this point may help give you that extra kick to keep on ploughing through the pain.
Mile 25 is a delight. Crowds build from here to the end. Keep right, run hard and just wait for the right turning onto the home straight. You will then see the clock. Just stare at the clock and focus. It’s further away than you think, but its only a couple of minutes of away. You can and you will. Left foot, right foot. Repeat. And before you know it, you’re through the finish with your glorious medal!
For friends and family wondering where to spectate, the half way point is fantastic as is from mile 21 to 24.
And that’s about it. A fantastic well organised marathon. Enjoy!
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