And the band(s) played on...

It was a bad start... My Garmin was still in walk mode, rather than run mode...

It was a bad (for me) weather day... The scheduled rain didn't turn up until after I'd finished, and it was warm and sunny... Though unlike London there was a breeze, a nice gentle one blowing us along the promenade...

I had no expectations of a time, I had no desire to break myself and in many ways had put this is in the "long training run" box for the Ultra next month.  I'd said to a mate that given the hills I'd treat it like a fell run on tarmac and that approach worked.  If it was hill and I was going slowly I walked up it.  Around that I tried to keep my 900m run / 100m walk approach going.

The course... ahh the course...

Through a World Heritage site, around the Cavern Quarter, past the cultural quarter as we worked our way up towards the Football Stadiums, around Goodison through the park and then up to Anfield - the locals were out in force, I was offered a smoke at one corner and an orange segment at the other - one I accepted and one I declined.

Across the park again, down and then the Powerbar hill with a steel drum band - the bloke in the Powerbar top kindly offered to run with me, I politely declined, I walked hands pushing thighs as if I was going up Mam Tor on a good day.  Then there was the view back across the Liver Building, the city centre and on to the North Wales hills.  The long run down hill came next, I pegged my fastest KM as the walk breaks disappeared in a smiling couple of miles of fun.

Through the city centre, and the slightly unnerving bit of running with cars on either side, and then up through China town, then along towards the hill of hell - Parliament Street is a sod.  So hands on thighs I worked my way up, remembering all the times I've tried to run up it and burned myself up.  Princes Road, Princes Park, the loops of Sefton Park, with its tree lined high humidity were my lowest hour. I walked more than I ran, and it helped... A final hill, I have no idea where that one came from, all I know it was somewhere around IM Marsh & Sudley house, before dropping down to Otterspool park.  The band there had an amp stack that looked like something from Spinal Tap and belted out the numbers.

The Prom is just under 5 miles from the finish and is flat and monotonous.  The views of the Mersey are ones I know a bit too well for that motivation,  however the need to avoid the cyclists who decided that bells were not required and weaving between runners was a source of adrenaline. 

At 26 miles almost exactly a few drops of rain hit my head.

So, 26.2 - the bands were playing (or had tracks playing through their systems) as I went through, all the water stations had water, the gels were vile (honestly they were rank, I'm so glad I took my own) but were available.

A couple of friends were on the course, Manuela around the parks and I'm not sure how Christine got from one bit to another but she did, and her help with my "sprint" finish was great. The post-crossing line organisation was brilliant; medal, snacks, technical t-shirts, beer token... and then out to the concert.

Serious Bling:-)

The results were up on my facebook page before I had time to text them to the gang, and most of the photos up today.  5:44:13 - 10 min outside my PB but my second fastest marathon:-)

I'm impressed.  And as ever need to thank the marshals and volunteers - you were unfailingly nice, patient with me not being able to explain why I wanted water rather than go-go juice, and the ST John's for the supply of Vaseline when one of my nip guards came off.

The Rock and Roll team have worked hard to make the run up the Marathon as much fun as possible (their runs with burgers have been great).  The best indicator of that, my only decision about which run to do next year? The full or the half....




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