NEWS | 8,000 runners brave 26 miles in drought conditions for the Manchester marathon

April 29, 2012

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Susan Lynas, 32, running through Altrincham earlier today.

Thousands of runners are braving severe drought conditions today for the Greater Manchester marathon.

Athletes are running through areas of barren scorched earth in temperatures of up to 32C as Manchester struggles in an unexpected period of acute dryness.

“Urmston looks more like Dakar this morning”, said Thomas Reid, 24, who is running on behalf of Cancer Research.

“All you can see from the course is miles and miles of arid, parched landscape. It’s desolate. I initially had a goal to complete the marathon in under 4 hours, but my mission now is to simply concentrate on taking on fluids, shielding my head from the unforgiving sun and praying that we just get some rain.”

At mile 16 some runners were seen drinking their own urine as water stations ran dry.

“I had to piss in my bottle and then filter it using my sock”, said one runner we spoke to in Sale, who was sheltering under a makeshift emergency temporary sun-shelter fashioned out of a discarded tarpaulin.

Meteorologists confirmed yesterday that this is the longest dry period Manchester has seen since the famous ‘Madchester Dryness’ of the late eighties.

During a 143-day rainless period in 1989  Mancunians were forced to think of alternative statements to open a conversation with other than: “This weather eh?”

The Environment Agency confirmed yesterday that the North West is still subject to a hose pipe ban and asked people and businesses to use water wisely.

“Ideally we need some rain and some strong winds to spread it all around a bit”, said Davy Moyene, National Drought Co-ordinator at the Agency.

“Goodness knows when we’ll get that though”, he added sadly.

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