Shell of a marathon

I couple of weeks ago I was driving in my neighborhood, and I saw a mileage marker painted on the pavement on a street. Not a street that I would have expected to see a marker on. It looked an awful lot like the ones used in the Manchester City Marathon last year, and instantly I got a sinking feeling that they had changed the course. Today, I read this article and my suspicions were confirmed.

You have to be kidding me. The whole thing about last year’s course was that you needed to manage the two back-to-back monster climbs in the first 13 miles. Now they’ve cut both of them completely out, as well as chopped off the epic grind across the river and up Elm Street 3 miles from the finish. I will never forget what it took to get through that. Now, it no longer exists.

The heart of what bothers me about this is that I wanted another crack at the marathon. Not some watered down facsimile designed to make people feel better. I wanted another chance, someday, at running the course that completely kicked my ass and made me feel like I was going to die. Hills are a part of life, and you deal with them. If you want to run a flat marathon, go somewhere else. That’s not why you entered Manchester last year. You wanted to hurt. You wanted to suffer. You wanted to see if you could do it. That’s where I came from.

Today I feel a lot better about what happened last year. I’m glad I ran it when I did. If I never do it again, I will always have those bragging rights.

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