It’s Marathon Season! Part 1…

With the spring marathon season well underway we’re pleased to report success from a number of club members across events at Barcelona, Manchester, Huddersfield and Boston!

Marathon fever has well and truly set in, with both experienced marathon runners returning for more and an impressive array of first timers chalking up their first 26.2.

Roll call so far this year, WELL DONE to all of you;


Rob Blemmings


Wayne Pacevitch, Ross Lovett, Paul Ebrey, Jess McMullen, Terry Simpson, Tracey Piper, Karen Sherras, Rachel Cryer, Helen Watkins


Helen Swallow


Lynne Fallon

We’re now looking forward to a big day at London this coming Sunday, but in the meantime, enjoy the reflections on Manchester from first time Marathoner Tracey Piper and second timer Paul Ebrey (with a top tip on facilities for those running next year!);

Manchester Marathon – By Tracey Piper

It was an early start for Manchester Marathon with the race starting at 9am and needing to cross the Pennines to get there nice and early. It was mine and Jess’s first marathon so we were very apprehensive about what to expect even though we had undertaken all of the training.

I set myself up with the 4.5 hour pacer and then before I knew it we were off. The main thing I realised from a marathon is how friendly everyone running is. We had a lovely group running with the pacer and all got chatting and into the spirit of it together.

I had been promised that the Manchester Marathon was flat but this was not the case, there was a number of inclines that took me by surprise and I did have a laugh to myself thinking of Sara Jackson and her words of ‘flat this isn’t flat’ J

The crowds along the whole of the route were amazing (I never expected so many people to turn out) and it was lovely to spot STAC faces shouting encouragement along the route. We had sweets handed out and live music along the route and it made such an enjoyable experience (It was funny singing along to Dancing Queen with our arms in the air).

I can honestly say I now understand what everyone means when they say the last 6 miles is a mental challenge that you need to get over and how amazing you feel when you cross that finish line. Once I crossed I did say never again but I soon changed my mind (within 30 minutes) and decide that I will definitely do it again.

Tracey Marathon

Tracey – Smiling her way through her first Marathon



A sign held-up by a young girl at around mile 25 that sums up why we run, why we compete and why we ultimately challenge ourselves.
At 6am, me and Ross Lovett took a taxi to town to catch the 640am train to Manchester. For those who don’t tend to spend 6am at Leeds train station, its a strange mix of people. Railway enginners coming off shift, bedraggled young adults going home after an all-night session and a collection of fellow runners.
We got on the train and after arriving at Piccadilly and spending 30p at the toilets, we got the tram to Salford Quays and had a 10 min walk to Old Trafford. Getting there, the queues for the toilets were long, very long. We made polite conversation next door at Hotel Football next door to the ground and enquired where the toilets were, first floor. These toilets were 10/10. No queues, marble, clean, modern, nice soap and we got changed in the Hotel. After dropping the bags off, it was off to the start.
Conditions were ideal, cool, no breeze, and we were off on time. For those that don’t know the route, you do an out and back loop from the ground and then another small out and back loop eating up about 5 miles. It gave us the chance to see our team-mates, Jess, Terry, Tracey, Karen and Rachel. Heading out of the ground, we passed the first STAC supporters, the Coops, Kev and Si Sherras.
Me and Ross set off at a lovely tempo, a shade under 8 min mile pace, easy running and going great. Going through Stretford, a young lad was singing in his microphone, good voice, we went through Sale, and onto Brooklands at 9 miles. A fellow runner, a lady called Janet was cheered by her supporting party and we joined in, she did 3hrs 32. A brass band were playing in Brooklands, fantastic, the support there was awesome, waves of people and we passed our 2nd and 3rd supporting parties, the Loftuses (or Loftii) and the Hodgsons with Ross’ wife Amy
We went onto Timperley,where again the support was fantastic. On the right was a church with what must have been an 80 strong female choir singing, briliant. We went onto Altrincham where we saw Wayne on the tail of the 3hour pacer going back and we were greeted by STAC party number who were waiting, Jo Powell, Sam and Andy Tinsdale, Dawn and Nick and Karen and Caroline Haunch. It was Karen’s birthday and her and Caroline had about 5hours sleep from the night before.
Andy had made a pocket rocket sign as well which was uplifting. Going through Altrincham another band were playing Keep On Running and we looped out of Altrincham. At halfway, we were on 1hr 42, going very strongly, a gel and on for the 2nd half. We passed the STAC party again and made our way back towards Manchester. The Hodgsons and Loftii saw us at 16 miles. We galloped through Brooklands and were into 10 miles left and counting down.
We got through 20 at 2:27 and a Welsh lad with us said “we’re on for 3:30 here lads”. I replied there’s a long way to go yet. We got through 21 but I started to feel tired, the legs starting to get heavy. Ross went a shade in front but pulled up temporarily with cramp. A stretch and we were back together. I said to Ross to carry on and at 22, our final gel, the fatigue was beginning to set in. At 23, it was fully set in. I was spent, it was an effort to raise my knees, the strides were miniscule, barely a stride. At that stage you can either give up, cry, waste time and stretch or dig in. I chose to be pragmatic and philospohical, I resorted to walk 60 strides, shuffle 60 seconds, walk 60 strides etc, shuffle 60 seconds etc. I was getting cold as well.
At mile 24 Jo, Sam et al were at Stretford, I was shattered, physically spent, the support was great, the sign cheered me up, Jo said to take it slowly and it was onto Old Trafford, walk 60 strides, shuffle 60 secs, walk 60 strides, support from the locals was great. I got to the 26 mile sign and it was slow shuffling home. The Coops et all were at the side, I went over, had a hug with Phil and shuffled to the line. 3′ 45, a PB by 2 mins, it was over. For some reason I got upset for a few minutes, don’t know why, but the medal was great and the goody bag fantastic.
Paul Marathon
True grit- Around 24miles, less than a mile later and Paul was running again; on to a new PB of 3.43:37
I got my bag, got changed, rang Jo and walked up to the STAC support. Phil Coop got me a Wilsons Pork Pie and a pint of real ale, magic. Mark and Stacey’s daughter Katie gave me her a last Cadburys Creme Egg. I saw Terry in and walked back to Stretford to meet Jo. I passed Tracey and Karen and lots of lots of shattered, tired runners, fair play to them all.
I met up with the party and it was the tram to Piccadilly, a pint there, a pint at Stalybridge and a pint at The Kings Head in Huddersfield where a David Bowie tribute band played, the place was packed. It was then back to Leeds and a few hours with friends at The Devon for a great night to cap off a memorable day. Pain is temporary, pride is permanent.
– I could not believe the number of STAC people who gave up their spare time to support yesterday and the race volunteers. The race is very impressively run, off on time, slick baggage operation and the marshals are wonderful and extremely supportive
– Extremely supportive Manchester crowd, jelly babies and sweets everywhere
– Refreshments. There is water about every 3 miles, another 2 isotonic drinks points as well, toilets at each water stop and you get a protein shake and isontonic drink at the end plus a pint of non-alcoholic lager (optional)
– The medal, massive and the goody bag is very good
– Transport, very well served with the tram, although I do believe it got busy just after 9am
– if I had one, it would be there are technical errors with the race splits.

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