Race review: Greater Manchester Marathon

Following the tales of 2012's Greater Manchester Marathon – surely rumours – of lost bags, scant supporters, bad weather and a huge flight of stairs at the end of the course, I was interested/nervous to run the 38th GMM in 2013. 

First up, no stairs. Second, not that bad weather was the organisers' fault in 2012, but 2013 brought with it something I thought impossible: a Manchester suntan. That's not a euphemism, there was actual sun and no rain.

The event organisation was faultless. In the race village, adjacent to Manchester United's football stadium, the baggage tent was attentively staffed by 100-odd wonderful Army and Air Training Corps cadets. Queues for the loo were predictably long (10-15 minutes wait), queues for the massage tent post-run the same (hopeless to queue by my 3.34 finishing time), but marshals were cheery and Ron Hill was a welcome start line MC. Supporters lined 90% of the flat smooth course, with brass bands, cars blasting the Rocky theme and sweet old ladies banging pans with wooden spoons. Water stops were regular and well-manned with energy jellies, gels and isotonic drinks handed out at well-thought-out intervals.

It is a shame the course doesn't take in any of Manchester city centre, but rather loops from Trafford, through Salford, Sale and Altrincham – with a few dispiriting switchbacks. Chip times with oddly irregular splits hit the website on the evening of the race. And along with a LOT more mile markers, putting the finish line in the Manchester United stadium might be a good idea for next year… though Man City fans might not agree with that one. All said, the atmosphere more than makes this an enjoyable race that has overcome its horror story past. Good for a PB too.

Previous story
Red Bull Steeplechase returns in October 2013
Next story
Bupa - My first run


Discuss this story

I ran this Manchester marathon.and wow it was a fantastic day from start to finish,the support was amazing.i watched London week before and ive got to say the crowds were as good as London if not better,will be doing this race next year again for sure,be very proud of what you did Manchester,

Posted: 30/04/2013 at 21:13

Did your timing chip work ?
Posted: 01/05/2013 at 11:43

My timing chip worked eventually, but needed me to email in my times based on my Garmin to get my splits accuratelyreflected. That was the only thing wrong with the marathon.  Toilets at every water station, excellent crowd support, good organisation overall. Would definitely run it again.

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 08:01

I wonder if they adjusted times or just asked everyone for their own splits and finishing times........

Posted: 03/05/2013 at 08:45

I loved it and had no trouble with the split chip times. But then I was further down the pack but it was still a PB and the first marathon I have run all the way. The support was fabulous I really appreciated it along with the pacers.


Posted: 04/05/2013 at 01:22

I had a great race, and set a PB. Initially, my name didn't appear on the results list, but I appeared on the updated version and the finish time matched my Garmin to within a second.

Manchester public were fantastic.

Full report at http://keithscovell.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/manchester-marathon.html

Posted: 04/05/2013 at 20:07

I ran the 2012 version and am pleased to report a huge improvement: race village, baggage ,course etc and the toilets at water stations was an excellent idea. Manchester support was again excellent and I enjoyed the doubling-back course since we could see the leaders and where we were going.Andy 4600.

Posted: 06/05/2013 at 17:12

Glad it's better than it was last year. They aren't rumours: it was shoddy as anything, with people getting ill because their post-race kit had been lost. It clearly represented a huge learning opportunity for the organisers, which they seem to have taken, especially re. baggage. Part of me is a bit oddly proud about having managed the ending through the underpass last year, though. Sounds like this year's course was wussy in comparison...

Posted: 07/05/2013 at 17:14

After running Manchester marathon 2013 , I would like to say how well run this event was run , it was my first Manchester marathon , my 4th marathon , picked Manchester  because said was a good course to get PB , after running 4.07 my last two marathons I managed to run 3.39 , this time , trained. Hard for four months , well pleased , thank you Manchester spot on thank you again 

regards scooter

Posted: 08/05/2013 at 15:10

I ran with the pacer for the first time. It was a good experience though he did fast firstr two miles but I think it was his first marathon though he was an experienced speedy half marathoner. I was a bit shocked - if it was true and he wasn't winding me up.


Posted: 08/05/2013 at 17:25

Well done Manchester organisers... I thought the event was well organised.  The pacers were great, although the 3.45 pacer was going pretty quickly at some points - not complaining tho as I managed a pb under 3.45.  I would definatley do this again.  Thank you

Posted: 23/05/2013 at 07:13

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member

RW competitions