The road to Manchester began just before the New Year when I started my 16 week marathon training schedule. After another year of missing out on getting a place in the London ballot, I'd been toying with a couple of ideas for a Spring marathon including Brighton and Manchester, but wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do. I decided to start my marathon training anyway, see how it was going, and then decide what to do. The training was going reasonably well, considering the cold and dark January mornings and nights, and I finally decided to enter the race in February. I think that in the back of my mind I always knew that I would enter, it definitely makes it easier knowing that it doesn't sell out completely. So, I'd committed to running and the training was ramped up during February and March, throwing in a few races for good

In October 2012 I decided that it was time for a new running challenge and signed up for the Paris Marathon. As a first-time Marathon runner I certainly learned a lot from my training and the race - so here's a brief summary of the day and a few tips and tricks that I picked up along the way the way that will hopefully help other first-time Marathon runners. The race took place on April 7th and started on the Champs-Élysées. I've never seen the Metro in Paris so busy as everyone makes their way towards the Arc de Triomphe for the start. I arrived about half an hour before my pen (3:30) was schedule to start the race, leaving enough time to get ready and into the starting zone. As Vangelis's Chariots of Fire blasted out of the speakers along the start, the waves of runners started to move forwards and