The fast and fabulous Northern Frontrunners 5K was a welcome tonic to the news and events of the past few weeks, I must say. The day itself was muggy, warm and kind of grey, but as NH and I got close to the start of the run the rainbow colours started appearing, people were smiling, and everything suddenly the world seemed a little bit nicer.

This race was the 5th year of the event and apparently the biggest ever. This year the route took a zig-zaggy course around the Town Moor which was pretty cool because being a middle of the pack runner meant at some points I could watch the people at the front and the rear at the same time. There were lots of costumes, rainbow feather boas and wondrous headpieces. I figure anyone visiting today unaware of what went on this weekend would wonder what the hell kind of birds we have around here and why so many seem to have exploded all over the moor 🙂

The race was started by Stephen Whittle OBE who is a renowned trans rights activist and professor at Manchester Met University and Miss Lucy, a drag queen with a quick wit and a cheeky mouth. Although the start was officially supposed to start with a klaxon, it actually started when Miss Lucy had to shout “THAT MEANS GO!!!” after an awkward pause because we’re British. Start with a laugh and you’ll do alreet.

The route is fairly even and the elevation is mostly lonnng shallow uphills and lonnng quite nice downhills, so it’s a fast course. The winning bloke finished in 16:19, and the winning lady crossed the finish at 18:32. Like lightning 😀

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I managed 26:15 according to my chip time, which I will certainly accept gladly.

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Senior?? Oh well…

The course starts and ends along the same long and quite narrow gravel path, which has sharp chunkier gravel at the side and bumpy field outside of that on the left, and a hedge with a wooden fence running through it to the right. This year was a record turn out so there were starting corrals for people to choose based on their target finish. Mine was between 27 and 29 minutes, so I stood in the 26-29 minutes corral. I seemed to have to pass a lot of people who would have been better in a slower one but thankfully I was past most of those by the end of the first straight and tried to settle into a rhythm.I was passed by a man wearing an inflatable camel costume, a chap wearing only bright pink hot pants and a feather boa, and a lot of much fitter people than I, but I nestled in for the second mile, and decided that I would save my energy for the downhill, sharp turn and  long straight at the end.

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The final straight was the most agonising thing ever. I was close to three other runners; a taller gentleman and two short women wearing running club tanks. Let’s do this. The two ladies started to peel away just as we passed the three mile mark as they did their final push to the finish. I focused on overtaking tall guy and leaving him behind, and then dug deep to overtake the two women and finish. AWW YISS. At the end there were volunteers with armfuls of medals, and one was eagerly thrust into my hand and I said thank you. Staggered a little further towards some fencing, dropped to my knees and nearly redecorated the floor.

Well now, that’s never happened before. I was fine after a few close moments (retching all sweaty in a Batman shirt like a pro), and I don’t think anyone witnessed it so shhhhhh 😉 I stood up, wobbled onwards, and was handed some water (“Ooh lovely, great, thanks!”), a banana (“oohyesthanksmmm!”), and a finisher’s pack with the best things in it ever. Say thank you, say well done to other finishers, sip water cautiously.

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I also marched in the Pride parade the next day, which was hot and a bit sweaty but a fun atmosphere. I’d planned to take some nice snaps with my dSLR but my memory card crapped out and didn’t save a lot of lovely pictures, including one of a really nice chap and his chihuahua. It was a real shame so instead I streamed about 25 minutes of it on Facebook so at least anyone up and about could have a look too. It’s not as large or glamorous as some Prides, but this year it had a record-breaking attendance of 12,000 people, and spirits were very high.

Clicky for looky. Expect noises and poor resolution 🙂

There was some nastiness from some of the shoppers on Northumberland Street and along by Haymarket, but that didn’t stop anyone and they were ignored or moved on. I did spot some girls frowning and doing local newspaper face so I asked them to smile, which was a bit teehee. It was my first Pride parade and I hope next year’s is even bigger.

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