“If you don’t enjoy running, you’re going too fast!”

Has conquering a marathon always been top of your bucket list? Are you an active individual but have doubted your ability to conquer a full marathon, so have put it on the maybe next year pile?

22-year-old, University student – Alex Court, smashes his first-ever marathon in Manchester. Here’s his story…

Why did you decide to sign up for Manchester Marathon?

“I’m studying a masters at The University of Salford, so I have previously been in the city whilst Therme Manchester Marathon is happening, and I have always heard how great the atmosphere is. I saw a post on Facebook earlier this year and instantly signed up, as running a marathon has always been on my bucket list. I wanted to give myself a mental challenge that isn’t academic, to test myself and see how I react when my body is physically hurting, and everything is telling me to stop. I have done occasional runs throughout my life, competing in cross country running throughout my schooling, but running was definitely on the back burner after school, and especially during the pandemic, so I was practically starting from scratch. After the pandemic, this event seemed like the perfect opportunity to take the plunge and get me back into running again.”

How did you find your first marathon?

“Welcoming, challenging, and rewarding. It was very tough, and I think my body hated me for a week after, but I am so happy I did it. If you’re looking for a first marathon, I would highly recommend Manchester. It was well organised, and everyone was so friendly, I ran it on my own but found a buddy on the day who encouraged me to carry on even when I was physically exhausted. I managed to get my time just under the 4-hour mark, which I’m incredibly proud of – 3:59:53!

The atmosphere was just incredible, the sheer amount of people that came to support, cheering me on and fantastic the live music really helped me through the tough patches of the race. I will 100% be returning to Therme Manchester Marathon! I am aiming to run in a couple of years again and hopefully improve my time. I didn’t fundraise for this event, but I was so inspired by the number of runners who were, so I will definitely be next time.”

What advice would you give to someone thinking of signing up for their first marathon?

“To be honest, my training did not go very well at all, I did 2x15km runs just a week before the event. I would really suggest properly training, I can imagine it helps a lot!! I didn’t train much because I was very busy with university work and being able to go out for a four-hour run simply wasn’t feasible. I could naturally run long distances from a young age, so I think that helped me, but I will definitely be following a training plan next time; I think I can really improve my time if I train hard and efficiently. A 4-month training plan with gradual distance increases would help me to cope a lot better with the marathon.

But my biggest piece of advice would be… Just go for it! You WILL be able to complete it if you go at your own pace, and everyone will support you the whole way. Make sure you enjoy it too. If you don’t enjoy running you are going too fast!”