Got into Liverpool this morning via the free trains – all travel on Merseyrail Northern and Wirral lines was free to competitors. Got in at 0850, walked over to collect my chip and found myself hanging round the start with 50 mins to spare. I ended up taking a walk round the block, finding a shop and grabbing some of the blue powerade I became near dependant on in the NZ summer. Back to the start again, I got about 50m back from the front with 20 to go and waited.
The start was a bit late but soon we were all off running. The first section was pretty wide and lots of people passed me. I kept to my pace and had room to run without jostling. The route rapidly brings you into the tunnel – you can see it within a mile and by 2km you are running through the tunnel. They closed one side off fully so we had 2 lanes to run down into the depths…
At 3km, the tunnel starts going up for over 1km – which caused people to slow and some to walk. I was running close to 5 min/km so kept on. The climb wasnt as tough as it was made out to be, but the hills I train on might have helped! Soon I was back into daylight. There’s a nasty surprise here – before the toll booths you switchback hard left and go up a short but steep climb – a sting in the tail. Next up was the water station at 5km, where I was 40 seconds away from my target of 25:00 for the 5km, so I grabbed a bottle and tried to push a little harder.
The next km or so was through the streets, which I don’t really have much to recall – I grabbed a few seconds back at 6km but not enough.
The final 3km are out down the promenade – wide, pedestrian areas with a few more people to cheer us on. I started to push harder here, and was passing people for the first time in the run – perhaps a sign of good pacing. At 7km there was the final aid station, but it was small and only on one side so I skipped it. The fire brigade had a shower to run through shortly after which refreshed me.
The final 2km hurt – I needed 25 seconds back to get my sub-50 so I tried as hard as I could. 1500m out the finish became visible and I kept on pushing. By 9km I wanted to give up! Telling myself that it would be over in 4 mins either way I kept going, perhaps finding a bit more.
As I closed on the finish, I could see the clock reading 49 – so I found a sprint finish from somewhere – I have no idea where though. I crossed the line as the clock said 49:52 – my official result was 49:26 according to the chip system. This gave me 595th out of 1836 finishers.
I collected my goody bag quickly and walked the mile or so to the train station – a nice cool down. One packed train to Liverpool Central later, I was the proud owner of a big mac .
Very happy with my result, paced well and pushed hard. The event was well run and attended – recommended event for 2009. I will be back in Liverpool for the 10km late on in the park – October I think, where I hope to take 10 mins off this – probably unlikely, but aim high!