This time last year, I was cursing the Manchester marathon: my house was surrounded by closed roads, and I needed to get to the airport to catch a plane.
This year, though, I was at home and the weather was considerably better, so I decided to take a walk into town and watch all the mad people. I got there in time to see the first runners come through – these are the dedicated ones, the ones who do it professionally, or because they’re good at it.
But I was more interested in the other runners – the ones doing it for charity, or for their own fun (for certain values of ‘fun’). These people won’t set records (apart from personal ones) or set the world alight, but I think they deserve an immense amount of respect. The charity runners show more compassion and simple humanity than any number of pious pontificators. And the others? Well, respect for attempting a punishing test of self, sometimes in the face of personal disadvantage. I salute each and every one who started, regardless of how far around the course they got or how long it took them. Me, I’d probably be prostrate after a couple of hundred yards…
The other thing that cheered me up was the crowd: cheering and encouraging the runners – by name, if they could see it – and generally willing them to greater efforts. There were a couple of bands and a children’s choir providing entertainment, and you could see the lift it gave to the competitors as they approached the half-way mark.
All-in-all, I returned home after a couple of hours with my faith in humanity greatly lifted.
For the record: shot on a Nikon D800 with Nikon 18-200mm lens.
(I did manage to catch my flight last year, in case you were worrying.)