Manchester Half Marathon

The Manchester Half Marathon is billed as fast, flat and friendly but did it live up to these claims? I headed up north to the city a few weeks ago to take part and find out for myself…


So I definitely wasn’t fast! I’ve never been a speedy runner and unfortunately the lack of training caught up with me here. The slowest pacer was 2:15 so I lined up behind them, knowing that I would never make that time but hoping that perhaps I might scrape around 2:30. I’d only managed to reach 7.5 miles as my longest run in the lead up to the race, so knew that I would struggle in the second half and this proved to be true. Up until 7 miles I actually felt amazing! However, my phone battery died very shortly after this leaving me without my music (noooo!) and I got slower and slower with more and more bits of my body aching, until I finally crossed the line in 2:54:21 – probably my slowest ever half and a real indication that I do need to take the time to train properly if I want to do a good job in races.

On the flip side, the winner of the Manchester Half Marathon was Luke Traynor who crossed the line in 1:04:07 – so fast!

Manchester Half Marathon


With only 41m of elevation gain across the whole course, the Manchester Half Marathon can definitely be described as flat. The only real ‘hills’ are bridges which cross the canal and tram tracks so minimal inclines! I wouldn’t say that the route is particularly scenic, with a large stretch being along motorway/dual carriageway but there were some nice leafy residential areas and the weather on race day was gorgeous which definitely helped.



THIS is the major selling point of the race in my opinion, particularly if you’re not a fast runner. From the multiple bands which lined the route, to the children handing out jelly babies, the people cheering from their doorsteps and the local church groups offering cups of water, the community feel and friendly atmosphere of the event was definitely what made it so special.

The other runners were pretty awesome too, I cheered on someone in what I can imagine was a very hot JDRF teddy outfit, two firefighters, a guy pushing his daughter in a wheelchair, not to mention Patrick Barden who has cerebral palsy and finished the race alongside everyone else after completing it over 3 days – some truly inspirational characters, who definitely spurred me on when I was just moaning about my legs being tired!

Check out my GoPro video below for a sense of the amazing support on offer: 

Key Points

  • There were five drinks stations along the route at miles 3,5,7,9 & 11. It was a pretty warm day so the frequent and well-marshalled fuel stops were much appreciated.
  • The technical finisher t-shirt and medal we received after the race were great (even if I feel that medals should be presented around your neck, not in the post-race bag) – nice and chunky and with the little Manchester bee mascot on the back.
  • The race was really easy to get to, although the signage to the start was a bit confusing. I stayed over the previous night in the Holiday Inn at Salford Quays (a few stops from Manchester Piccadilly station on the Metro), which was about a 25minute walk to the race start.

Manchester Half Marathon

So my final race of 2017 may not have gone exactly to plan, but given the lack of training I’m happy just to have got round! It has made me reassess my goals for 2018 however, and perhaps look at doing less races but with a bit more focus – it’s so easy sometimes to say yes to everything and get carried away with signing up to events. Next year, I’d rather aim for 2 or 3 bigger goals, but really give them my all and know that I’ve smashed it with as much energy and determination as I could have!

As for Manchester Half Marathon, I’d definitely recommend it for next year 🙂 You can grab your place for just £34 at the moment here.

What are the key selling points of a race for you? How do you choose your goals? 

Beki x

NB: I was given a complimentary entry to the Manchester Half Marathon but as always all opinions are my own. 

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  • Reply Lucy Edwards

    Well done on your run! I think that’s a bit bad that the slowest pacer was 2:15. At the Royal Parks, they had pacers up to 2:45 (I think). I’m literally just finishing writing a blog post about racing frequently vs choosing a few races as key goals.

    November 2, 2017 at 10:57 am
  • Reply Maria @ Maria Runs

    Well done! That is not good if that was the slowest pacer though- a 2.30 one is usually included at least.
    This year I tried to do less races as although I enjoy them, I was finding I was spending a lot of weekends working towards a race and found myself wishing I was just going on a long run at home instead, plus it gets very expensive.

    November 3, 2017 at 7:10 am
  • Reply Katie Halsall

    Well done! I was debating this race as a last minute entry, but I’m glad I didn’t as I would have struggled! It sounds like a super great course though, being flat! I think I’m going to focus on a few bigger races next year instead of lots… I’ve done one each month this year!

    November 3, 2017 at 2:38 pm
  • Reply Anna @AnnaTheApple

    Sounds like a fun (albeit not scenic) half! Well done – especially considering you didn’t have a great amount of training.

    November 8, 2017 at 12:47 pm
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