“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardship and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger.
I have no words that can possibly describe the atrocities that took place in our city last week. The unspeakable act of violence on innocent children and adults at the Manchester Arena, really shook us to our core. I’m not so stupid as to think that lives aren’t lost to violence and heinous acts on a daily basis, but witnessing this on our doorstep, was undeniably frightening. We were incredibly blessed that we weren’t directly affected, however, to find out that good friends and their children were at the concert and were lucky to survive, really put life into perspective.
My mum and both of my grandparents were Manchester born and bred and this city has been my home for the last 10 years. I adore my city and what I cherish most is the culture and diversity that Manchester has to offer, whilst maintaining a close-knit community. This has never been more evident than over the past 8 days. We are a family, we are busy bees, but the threads that we weave will never be broken.
The Great Manchester run is a run very close to my heart. Last year (2016) it was only the 2nd 10k race I had ever done and I ran it in memory of my dad and to raise money for the hospice that nursed him in the week leading to his death. I ran it in 45.31, which at the time I was pretty happy with, however, when it came to booking this year’s race, I was desperate to get a new PB with similar variables (ie time of year, course etc). After Monday, the PB paled into insignificance and a few family members begged me not to run. But along with 35,000 others, we were defiant, determined and dedicated to the cause. We would not be beaten. When I tell you this was the hardest run I have ever done, it’s no exaggeration. I cried for a most of the day and at the 8k mark, the emotion was so overwhelming, that I thought I would have to stop. I kept on running. I ran for the 22 beautiful souls lost, I ran for those who can’t. I ran for our city. I didn’t even set my watch for this race (despite following a rigorous training plan this week) and was amazed at my time of 44.43 and position 906 out of 35,000. But this race was purely about finishing lines on Sunday.
Why the Great Manchester Run?
I have a feeling that next year’s Great Manchester Run, will be the biggest it’s ever been and if you haven’t run it and are looking for possibly the best 10k in the world, this is the one. Considering the mass operation (and even bigger responsibility this year) the organisers and sponsors executed this flawlessly. I don’t think I have ever witnessed so many supporters and although there was a tremendously sombre atmosphere, the spirit could be felt as people came out in their droves.
The course is a super flat one and the home to many PB’s, plus you also get to run around the landmarks of our great city. The finishers bag is usually a good one and the medal a nice sturdy bit if bling to remind you of the greatness. This year’s medal will be one that tells an unforgettable story.
I want to extend my gratitude to the organisers http://www.greatrun.org/ , Manchester City Council and all the emergency services that allowed us to run in solidarity. A big thank you to http://www.prodirectrunning.com/ for asking me to do the Insta Takeover for race day. I hope I captured the true essence of Manchester and what will always remain an incredibly special race.
Remember this… love: hate, black: white, Muslim: Christian, we all have the same colour blood. We breathe the same air and good will always prevail over evil.