When folks of a certain age hear “yeah, yeah, yeah” they immediately think of the rock n roll band that is arguably the greatest of them all. Of course I’m talking about, ladies and gentlemen, the Beatles! “Yeah, yeah, yeah” is also a phrase in wide use by people offering unconvincing reassurance that they are getting around to something. This post is a little about both
I was around 7 years old when the Beatles released “She Loves You”. I can still remember my father mocking the repetitive slang refrain while my teenage sister insisted on letting it play on the car radio. The “Lads from Liverpool” became a kind of dividing line between generations in the 60’s and like many on my side I became a very big fan of “The Fab Four”.
My son graduated business school in May and had planned a trip to Europe with his brother to celebrate. When he asked if we wanted to join them I of course immediately searched for a race and found the Rock n Roll Liverpool Marathon and Half Marathon. Growing up a huge Beatles fan, Liverpool is a place that I would certainly love to see but probably would never make the trip for that alone. But my second Rock n Roll Half Marathon seemed like a perfect reason to go. I signed right up. Now it’s been 2 months since the Rock n Roll Liverpool Half Marathon (yeah, yeah, yeah I’m getting to it) and I’m finally writing about it.
We flew into Paris a few days before the race and met up with our lads who had started their trip earlier. Paris is a beautiful city and maybe the highlight of my first trip there was running down by the the Seine to the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre as a tune-up for the race. We flew from Paris not to the Amsterdam Hilton but to Manchester via London the night before the race. We took an Uber to the Pullman Hotel, which is part of the revitalization of the waterfront that includes the Exhibition and Convention Centers where the race expo was held. I arrived too late for the expo but the Rock n Roll folks were a tremendous help in making sure I could get my credentials the morning of the race even though the official policy was no pick-up on race day.
The race began at 9AM which is late for a half marathon in the US but was a welcome change after the late journey the night before. I joined roughly 8300 runners lined up along the Salthouse Quay to be released in waves upon the streets of Liverpool. I had prepared a special playlist of Beatles songs for the occasion and as soon as I crossed the start line and triggered the Map My Run app I was greeted by the classic “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere” performed not by the Beatles but by Alan Jackson and featuring the songs’ author, Jimmy Buffett. Yes once again I had managed to screw up my music. I guess by the time I started it was getting close to 5AM back in the US so the song wasn’t totally inappropriate, just not at all what I had planned. I shut the thing off and decided to listen to the bands along the way instead. There seemed to be fewer of them then there were in Nashville last year, but I guess they don’t call it Music City for nothing.
I don’t remember my run other than kinda average, and at 1:53:01 it was the very definition of average – just 17 seconds off my mean time. I do remember the course, as that was mostly what I was there for. We ran from the docks into the city streets of Liverpool, passing the statues of the Beatles, the statue of Eleanor Rigby and the statue of Queen Victoria. We ran past the old new Cavern Club and the new old Cavern Club, through Chinatown (yes Liverpool has a Chinatown) and in a couple of parks. We took a perfunctory turn on Penny Lane where a truck blared the Beatles song named for it while blocking us from going too far down it, so we never had a chance to see the barber or the banker or the fireman. The final 3.5-4 miles were run along the River Mersey (you know, the Mersey Beat, Ferry Cross the Mersey) back to the convention complex.
Overall the course was flat and fast, and those Liverpudlians are pretty fast too. I finished 19th in my age group despite an ok time. Unfortunately the Liverpool Half Marathon 2018 results page is not working properly (c’mon Rock n Roll get your act together) so although I want to tell you how many were in my group and how their times compared I can’t. But in 2017 it looks like 16 people in my age group beat not just my time for this race but my PR!
And in the end, I would recommend running this race, especially if you’re a fan of the Beatles and need an excuse to go check out their old stomping grounds. I would plan to stay an extra day after the race to go see some things that are not on the course like Strawberry Field and the rest of Penny Lane.