It’s been a week already! Running the Wigan half marathon was THE hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it was so worth it!
The Wigan 10km didn’t have staggered starts, so I wasn’t expecting the Wigan half marathon to – and it didn’t. This meant it was a little slow setting off for us in the middle and at the back. I crossed the line at around 2 and a half minutes, but I was off and then the roads were pretty open thanks to them being closed or managed by marshalls.
One of my favourite moments was spotting a 40-odd year old man stopping to either give something to his parents or get something from them in the first few miles of the race. They sent him off with a “See you soon sunshine” and he was like “Ah, perks of having your family there to cheer you on.” It just made me laugh, but they looked so proud though. Cute.
The first half of the race was alright. I was feeling okay, but I knew the rest of it would be tough. The rain also decided to make an appearance at the half way mark, so we were all soaked. I don’t really mind running in rain, but it’s awful when everything is wet and you can’t wipe the rain off your face with anything dry. Also glasses. I should have taken a cap…
We were running down a canal at this point, which was lovely but also pretty windy (which didn’t make the rain any nicer) along the water side. And then I saw the hill. The hill which, in relfection, was nothing to worry about. Nothing compared to the mountain that followed! Never in my life have I walked into Haigh Hall through the plantations, so when people said there was a long hill incline I just thought ah, it’ll be tough but my park run is hilly so I’ll be fine. Ha. Ha.
This section was KILLER. Absolutely killer. From roughly 6-10 miles we were heading up, with the hardest bit being from 8-10 miles. Actually just as we were at that bit someone ‘helpfully’ shouted “Come on guys, just 2 miles to go and we’re out of this hill”. Cue a few exclamations of “STILL 2 miles to go?!” It was hard because the hill was really winding, and we had people coming back down the same way as we were going up. Every corner I’d be hoping this was the end, and it wasn’t. It just seemed to last forever. I made it most of the way up and then I just had to walk a little.
That’s one of the hardest things for me. I know it isn’t, but it just feels like a bit of a fail when I have to walk. Sometimes you’ve just got to suck it up and give yourself that break. We had two gel/water stations through this hill though, and that was a god send. As always, plenty of people helping you along and once we did get to the downhill it was great. I mean I still felt bloody awful, but at least I was going down!
We had one last hill before getting out of the Haigh Hall section and there was a couple stood here cheering us on and repeating “Look, the gate’s just there. You’ve done the hard bit now!” It was coming up this last hill, between the 11-12 mile mark, where I was completely and utterly struggling to keep going. I could feel the tears appearing, but I didn’t want to cry. I’ve never felt so emotional during a race or run and it wasn’t a great feeling to be honest. Upon leaving the park though we passed a runner sat on the floor surrounded by paramedics (she looked okay – just exhausted) and I knew I needed to keep going and finish.
The photo on the left was taken at around 9 miles or so I’d guess, after the humongous hill and surprisingly I’m looking pretty good. The one on the left was just coming to the finish line and well, you can see how I was feeling by this point!
From Haigh Hall we had just over a mile to go, back on the roads. The support here was greater and there were so many people out cheering us on. A really fab marshall was shouting at the top of her voice to keep up going and it was great. I really needed that push at the end. I have to say though, that last mile was SO hard.
My legs were just so tired and sore, especially the muscle all around my hips and the inside of my thighs. My thighs and hips were actually giving me the most pain I’ve ever had running, and I’m not entirely sure if it was the distance or the hill. I’m thinking the hill mostly because it was tough. When I crossed the line, my body was just shaking like mad.
I must have looked a sight as I walked to the end of the race pen area. Again I felt like I could just break down into tears but I held myself together – just about. The pain was mostly the cause of this emotion but I was also super proud of myself. I don’t think I gave the 13.1 miles enough credit before actually doing the race. They really are a great feat, and you can see how much it means to others.
One of the best things about race days though is the massage afterwards, and I’ve been lucky enough to get free ones in all the races I’ve done. That said, the massage I had after my race was honestly the most painful thing I have ever felt. Seriously. I had two people working on my thighs because that’s where I was in pain… I couldn’t keep still and they had to keep asking me if I was okay because I was clearly hurting haha. It definitely helped though and the pain started to disappear as the massage went on… But then I had to get up and walk to the changing area and if I’m honest I don’t think I was completely with it!
All good and well though. I got changed, stuffed my face at The Chinese Buffet and then went on to watch the rugby. Even though my team only just scraped a draw… Was still good. An eventful day to say the least! The Wigan half marathon was definitely one to remember, and I’ll be there next year!