BUPA Great Manchester Run 20th May 2012
Going into this race, my usual pre-race nerves were mostly replaced by huge excitement. I stayed overnight in Manchester, before collecting my race pack from Ann Griffiths (Northern team manager and ex international 800 / 1500m runner) on Sunday morning. Opening the pack I discovered that my front number was my name, BAMFORD, very pro! In the warm up area it was surreal seeing the athletes I have watched so many times on tv going through their individual pre-race rituals, Haile Gebreselassie smiling as ever, Mara Yamauchi finding a quiet corner and the Kenyan runners wrapped up in coats and bottoms looking unimpressed with the chilly British climate.
On the start line I somehow found myself dangerously near the front, running along with the ‘proper elites’ for the first 400m or so. It was interesting to note that the Kenyans (particularly Linet Masai who went on to win) held back considerably during the first kilometer, showing their superior pacing skills. After the fast start, I found myself running alone for the entire race, holding my position and passing a Northern teammate in the final kilometer. The crowds and music were brilliant, and watching Gebreselassie float past on his way to another Manchester victory (and world lead 10k of 27.29) was a highlight. Before I saw the masses, I could smell them, during my last 2 kilometers I passed through what felt like a wall of ‘deep heat’, evidently protecting the calf, quads and hamstrings of the 40,000 or so runners in the main race.
The finish was brilliant with pre-race favourite Linet Masai winning the womens race comfortably in 31.35 from Nadia Edjjafini in second, and Doris Changeiywo third. Charlotte Purdue was top Brit coming home in 4th.
I crossed the line happy with my position (12thoverall, 4th British athlete and 2nd in the inter-area match), but disappointed with my time (35.20). I felt really good running today, unlike at last year’s Abbey Dash, but only managed to equal my pb set there last year. I went through 5k in 17.12 so was hoping for something under 35… oh well, another day another 10k… at least I should have some consolation prize money (£250 for 4th place Briton)
The inter-area match was won by the North for both the men and the women. In the women’s race Gemma Steel (Midlands) was 1st in 9th overall (33:42) with Me 2nd in 12th overall (35.20) and Felicity Milton 3rd in 13th (35.33). In the men’s race it was Matt Clowes (Midlands) 29.48 followed by Andy Ward 21st in 30.16 and Gareth Raven 23rd 30.23 both North.
Inter Area Women’s Results
Team result from full race Team result as per inter area
1st North 12, 13, 17 = 42 1st North 2, 3, 5, = 10
2nd Wales 18, 19, 20 = 57 2nd Wales 6, 7, 8 = 21
3rd Midlands 9, 32, 36 = 77 3rd Midland 1, 12, 13 = 26
4th Combined Services 14, 29, 38 = 81 4th Combined Services 4, 10. 15 = 29
Fantastic organization for the Northern team of Rob Cameron, Kirsten Scobie and Ann Griffiths, who really made us all feel comfortable and ready to race. Thanks also to the Liverpool athletes Maria Barrett, James Riley and Co who looked after me and provided lots of pre/post race entertainment
Event Coverage: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01hzsd8/Athletics_Great_Manchester_Run_2012_20_05_2012/ (spot me from 11.30 minutes in, right of field in yellow vest!)
Photo Courtesy of Dave Pinnington: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davepinno/sets/72157629817765668/