Manchester Marathon 2024 Race Report from Alex Dugard


I always said that I would never write a race report… but here we are! After having what feels to me like the race of my life, I thought I better summarise my thoughts and feelings of this race as it may never get better than this.


Of course, as anyone who has ever run a marathon knows, running a marathon is not as simple as turning up on race day and running the 26.2 miles. Running a marathon requires months and months of dedication and hard work. I suppose that is the real challenge. With the best of intentions life does not always allow the required dedication and hard work required.


For me this time, I was able to dedicate the time required. Training for me started 18 weeks prior to race day with a gentle increase in mileage for the first few weeks. After this, I was fortunate enough to begin doing my Sunday long runs in the company of two very experienced marathon runners; Jack Bradley and Lee Hardie. I have no doubt that without these runs I would not have run the race that I did. I would say to anyone that is training for a marathon that doing the long runs with company is an absolute must, even better if you do these in the company of those who are experienced marathon runners.



Around 8 weeks into training I ran the Deal Half Marathon in under 1 hour and 20 minutes. This was a clear indicator that what I was doing was working. It was now the time to knuckle down and continue putting together consistent weeks. The weeks that followed were tough in so many ways but my training remained consistent. Hills on a Wednesday night was a huge part of my training. I heard many talk about the hills of Altrincham at the Manchester Marathon so having always avoided hills, I forced myself to go to Wednesday night hills, and I am in no doubt that these sessions were a huge part of my success on race day.


Two weeks out from race day I was glad to begin the taper. The first week I felt great, the pace on easy runs was noticeably quicker and the legs and body felt fresh. Week two of taper, race week was not so good. I felt sluggish and I began to over analyse everything, my race plan changing on a daily basis. When I initially booked my place at Manchester the plan was to run a sub 3 hour marathon. Training and other race times indicated I was capable of much more but I was continually switching between playing it safe and going for it, running the best possible race that I could.


I guess this leads to me race day – what did I actually do? I decided to be brave and to trust myself and the training I had done. I was supposed to be in the red wave start at Manchester which would have 3 hour pacers however I somehow ended up in the wave ahead, the white wave, which was starting at the same time as the elites and had a 2:45 pacer, David Morris. This wasn’t by design, but for me it turned out well.



The pacing from David Morris was exceptional! The group was large to begin with and it was not until around 10K that I was actually truly in the group. Being in that group was an amazing feeling, it was mostly silent, David would provide us with updates on how we were doing pace wise but other than that, it was silent… but we were a group, all united in the same endeavour, to run the best possible time we all could.


We went through the half way point in 1:22:12, a little bit of time in hand but not much. The group was still large at this point, I was feeling good, comfortable, not amazing but in control. The hills of Altrincham were approaching and as we hit what I would call a small gradual incline, David informed us this was the most challenging hill on the course. I do not know what it was, whether it was the hill training on Wednesday nights or the incredible crowd support here, but I felt like I was floating up the hill. It was an incredible feeling, having been around the back of the pack prior to this, I now found myself towards the front, rubbing shoulders with David. At the top of the hill, we sped up to gain back time we had lost, the crowd noise was so loud, and the descent out of the town helped us gain back those lost seconds. I remained at the front of the pack, having passed what I expected to be the hardest part of the course, full of adrenaline, I had to resist the urge to push on. I kept telling myself, wait until 20 miles, do not get carried away and that is what I did.


I stayed at the front of the group which had now reduced in size. Passing 20 miles, I decided to stretch my legs ahead of the group. At this point in the race it is a bit hazy in my mind. I was out of the pack for maybe 1 or 2 miles, but they were never far behind. There were a few other runners around me, but it was completely different to being in the pack. We were passing runners who were cramping up or who had suffered injuries, this made me nervous. I was relieved when around 22 miles I was back within the 2:45 pack.


I was feeling good but I was sure something was about to go wrong. At mile 23 I spotted my wife Emma cheering me on at the side of the road; this gave me a much needed boost! At 40K I was still with the group. David informed us that we were on schedule but he was suffering. At this point I thought I have to stretch my legs again, I pushed on, I could not believe my race had gone the way it had. I was going to break 2:45 for the marathon. I never thought I would run a time like that, I did not believe it, I still don’t. It all feels like a dream. I crossed the line in 2:44:22. The race of my life. If I never run a better race, it will not bother me. However, like I said at the beginning, a marathon is about so much more than race day and the marathon is a race, a distance that has to be respected, but what a race it is!



I must thank everyone at TRAC. So many have helped me since joining the club last year but even if we have never spoken or crossed paths, if you are part of this club then thank you. You are a part of this and everyone’s success because when we put on that vest, we become part of something, something that is more than us, so thank you.


My apologies to fellow Traccies, Adam Foster and Chris Pascoe, who also ran Manchester. Our paths unfortunately did not cross but you both put in tremendous performances. Even though there were only three of us representing TRAC in Manchester, I feel we all did the club proud.

We LOVE to receive your race reports.  The club is growing, so please do drop us a line if you’ve had a good race (or even a bad one), as its great to share experiences and learning.

WhatsApp 07974355811 or email


We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies

  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

For perfomance reasons we use Cloudflare as a CDN network. This saves a cookie "__cfduid" to apply security settings on a per-client basis. This cookie is strictly necessary for Cloudflare's security features and cannot be turned off.

PHP – To load and browse the website


Decline all Services
Accept all Services