Hi Peter. I'm planning on running it this year and if I make it to the start line it'll be third time lucky as I failed to make it due to injury the past two years!
So unfortunately I can't give you my personal experience, but it is meant to be pretty flat, with great support from the crowds all the way around. I think that there's a bit of a drag about mile 22, but nothing too bad. There's plenty of threads about it on here.
Thanks everyone. Manchester was great. Perfect day for it and I got around without any niggles, which was nice as I had a mild case of shin splints a couple of weeks before so was worried I wouldn't make it to the end. I also didn't hit the wall, just slowed down a bit for the last 8 miles, which was probably due to the unfeasible amounts of carbs I ate for 4 days beforehand.
I did it in 3:50, which I'm happy with, but am still aiming for 3:45.
Another hilly run last night around the forrest, but this time 8 miles through the trees.
Nessie - Sorry to hear about your pavement moment. At least it seems you're not too badly injured.
Haven't posted in a while as I was preparing for the Manchester Marathon, and I'm now preparing for my next marathon in 2 1/2 weeks time (Limerick).
Anyway, I had a fabulous run tonight. Six miles in beautiful Spring evening sunshine around a local forest. The forest is on the side of a fairly steep hill and most of the run is on the fire roads which makes for a challenging run. I thought that I was going to puke a couple of times, but came away feeling great. I remember thinking at one stage (on a downhill bit !) that this is what running is all about. It's the first time I've ran off road in a while and I felt a great sense of freedom.
However I was a bit surprised at the amount of devastation after the recent storms with entire patches of trees down in some areas.
Another vote for the Salomon XR Energy belt. I used it last week at the Manchester marathon and found it very comfortable, even when fully loaded with both bottles and the pouch full. Very happy with it.