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The Manchester City Marathon in Manchester New Hampshire bills itself as the largest running event in New Hampshire.
The 13th edition of the race was held on Sunday, November 10th, 2019.
My youngest sister, Autum Haley, traveled with me to this race. It her first half marathon after having her 4th child last year.
This was my 62nd marathon in my 49th state. Only one state to go!
Race Recap: The Manchester City Marathon
The expo/bib pick up was located at the Millennium Running Store in Bedford, NH the day before the race. They also offered race day pick up the morning of the race at race headquarters in Veterans Park. This was a nice option for those who lived somewhat locally.
I got a message the night before from a MTA listener named Kathleen on Instagram that her son had eaten one of the UCAN bars she needed to fuel her first marathon. She was wondering if I had an extra she could get. I’d brought a couple extra for my sister and was happy to give her one so we arranged to meet the next morning. It was fun to be able to meet Kathleen and her sister that morning and get a quick picture.
We did a MTA Meet up at Backyard Brewery on Saturday evening and it was fun to meet Allie who lived about an hour away as well as Jane and her running team. Jane is the mother of Noelle, one of my first coaching clients. Noelle has gone on to become a trail running rock star completing three 50 milers, two 12 hour races, and recently ran her first 24 hour race (she ran over 94 miles and was the first place female)!
The marathon, half, and relays started at 8:50 am and were broadcast live on TV. The 5k started at 9am and had a different course. The starting area was in front of the SNHU (Southern New Hampshire University) Arena in downtown Manchester and was very close to the hotel we were staying at.
It was wonderful to be able to wait in the warm hotel lobby until just a few minutes before the race and not have to stand outside in the cold for an extended period of time. The weather was clear and in the low 30’s at the start and there was a slight breeze which made it feel even more chilly.
I decided to wear shorts, compression socks, a short sleeve race shirt, arm sleeves, light knit gloves, my lucky hat, and my On Cloudswift shoes. I was also wearing a long sleeve throw-away shirt (which I got rid of at mile 2).
The marathon and half marathon course were identical for the first 13 miles. At mile 13 the race returned to downtown Manchester where the half marathoners finished and the marathoners ran right by the finish line to start the second half of the course. I found the first half of the race to be quite hilly and challenging.
My watch showed a total of 1,273 feet of elevation gain for the whole marathon but I’d estimate that at least 800-900 feet of that was in the first half.
Most of the course was around the city of Manchester, through the historic mill yard district, and into the suburbs. There are several sections where the course runs along and over the Merrimack River.
- The course did start to flatten out around mile 16 and at 16.5 we started an out and back section that went to mile 20.5 on the Piscataquog Trail. It was a dirt/gravel surface and there were some roots, rocks, and mud/ice puddles that had to be navigated around.
- Then the course proceeded to the Goffstown Rail Trail. This is a very scenic portion of the route as it follows the Piscataquog River back to Manchester.
- At mile 22 the run crosses the new “Trestle” bridge and continues back to the city, crossing the footbridge over the Merrimack River, and running the final miles in downtown Manchester.
- The final mile goes by the finish area again, turns off Elm street to cross the bridge, and then returns back to Elm Street to the finish.
I found that final mile to be challenging because we were teased with the finish and then had a final overpass hill to run up which felt enormous at that point.
Official race aid stations were located approximately every two miles and were well supported. Each one had water and sports drink and a few offered other fueling options. There were also a surprising number of unofficial aid stations like a lemonade stand, someone handing out small water bottles, a mimosa stop, a beer stop, and people handing out candy. I stuck with my fueling strategy of using Generation UCAN bars washed down with water from the aid stations. Use the code MTAMANCHESTER to save 15% on your order. For first time customers use the code MTA25.
There were a good number of spectators along the final stretch and they had an announcer calling each runner’s name who crossed the finish line. The total number of marathon finishers was 360. There were 562 who finished the half marathon and also quite a few relay teams. There were 270 finishers for the 5k.
The medal was huge and featured stained glass elements behind buildings in Manchester. They also did race tracking and offered free race pictures and a finish line video. The shirt was a very nice long sleeve technical shirt.
I ran with a guy named Carlos for a few miles which helped pass the time. He’s also pursuing his 50 states and working up to a BQ. I ran by feel during the race and only looked at my watch at each mile split. I felt a bit tired just going into the marathon but wanted to run as strong as possible while listening to my body.
The uphills and downhills in the first half were challenging and by mile 18 my lower body felt done. It was one of those feelings that I’ve had during marathons in the past when you feel like walking, but walking doesn’t actually feel any better. Since I knew this I tried to keep my stride and gait consistent and run relaxed in spite of my fatigue. My glutes and hamstrings were particularly sore but thankfully my feet felt good.
I finished my 62nd marathon (and state #49) in 3:43:01 and was 2nd in my age group.
I got a mug and reusable drawstring bag for the AG placing. Autum was at the finish line to meet me and get some pictures. It was great to see her and find out that she had a good half marathon, finishing in 2:19. They had a nice food area with yogurt, soup, flatbread pizza, chocolate milk, and coffee. The heat sheet felt good because the temps were still cool.
We headed out later to find a post-race meal and just happened to see Kathleen, the lady who needed the UCAN bar, finish strong. Here’s what she wrote in later:
Hi Angie, Thank you so much for meeting me this morning with the UCAN bar. Here is the photo of us. What a highlight for me to get to meet you. Congratulations on a great run today! You inspire your listeners so much. I finished today, my first marathon, in 5:33:17. The miles seemed to fly by and I had a fun experience. Thanks for your great training plan that got me there. Sincerely, -Kathleen
I also heard back from Jane from the MTA meet up
Hi Angie, What a pleasure to meet you – and your sister Autumn. Kudos to Autumn for traveling, running and being a mom and wife! Pretty amazing! We enjoyed our dinner with you, and the race the next day.
We did well on Sunday: Kelsey & Laxmi competed the 5K – Laxmi’s 2nd race ever!
Jen, Suzanne, Emily and I did the half marathon. I’m pretty sure it was Emily’s 2nd fastest half. Sara did her 1st marathon at the 2017 Hartford Marathon in 5:10:01. Last week in Manchester, using the MTA training plan, she finished in 4:35:50 !!!! So great!!
I am on a quest to be a 50 stater for half marathons. I have 17 completed. Manchester was a repeat state for me – but my 32nd half! I hope that you and Trevor have continued success with MTA. I have certainly enjoyed listening, using your training plans, doing the virtual half and especially wearing my Release the Kraken hat!! Thanks again. -Jane
Also Mentioned in This Episode
MTA Meet Up at the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.
Trevor will be running the San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon on December 8th. Please let us know if you will be there. A pre-race diner meet-up (Mexican food of course) is in the works. MTA Coach Athena Farias will be there too! Here is the FB event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/534288650726942/
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