The first Birmingham marathon since 1989 started in Alexander Stadium, which will be the athletics track for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and where Mo Farah ran his last track race. Parking was very easy (£5 cash), got rid of the old £1 coins last day of legal tender. This was a big national event; first people I spoke to had travelled from Newquay & Peterborough. The baggage transportation was ‘buses’ not lorries, your bag got a seat. 8:30 was race time, the expected heat wave hadn’t materialised (was sunny later). My third marathon, target was sub 3:15 to achieve good for age, I had previously experienced hills in Bournemouth and a heat wave in Brighton, so I was running in hope for Birmingham.
Start was on the track then onto the Birmingham main roads which were HILLY this is the race summary from most runners hilly not flat. Start was great the first 7 miles were all sub 7mins. Mile 7 began a 9 mile loop, local radio station had taken over a park; crowds started to appear the atmosphere was improving. After running London parks the previous week, I was disappointed by the lack of iconic venues, don’t remember seeing Cadburys World, Villa Park was a signpost, only Edgbaston cricket which we run round was notable. The great thing about marathons is the crowds and the encouragement they give runners especially the personal touch of your name or ‘Sandhurst’. I was going great until mile 17 when the hills started to take toll. I still had 2 big hills to go (advantage of loops knowing what to expect). Doubt had started to cross my mind.
By mile 25 I was hanging in but then horror as I turned a corner a really step hill, I was wiped out, my legs were killing, I thought I was going to throw up, I wanted to stop running and walk. The 3:15 pacer went by as did my 3:15 target. After getting to the top of the hill at least saw 800m to finish the sign which preceded a smaller hill, at the top the finish was in sight, somehow I got some energy and sprinted to the end, watch time 3:15:02. The steward asked if I was alright as literally stopped to breathe. The finishing area was underwhelming, there was no medal, water, banana handout here, only a finisher’s bag collection which had signs ‘water in bag’ as was the medal under the pamphlets. I retrieved my bag including phone from the bus, my time which was 3:15:00, my target missed by 1 second, NO!!!!!! devastated!
Driving back reflecting on being proud knocking 3 ½ minutes off my personal best, and one of heartbreak missing my target by 1 second, 1 second out of the 11,700 I ran, 1 second!
After posting my time on the worldwide web, I checked the website to find my time had been revised to 3:14:59 OMG WOW; I am good for age after all!