Realising an ambition: The 2017 London Marathon

I thought I was prepared for quite how big an occasion this would be, but nothing quite prepared for what turned out to be the most brilliantly horrific three-and-nearly-half hours of my life; my favourite ever race.

I’ve waited over half my life to be part of the London Marathon and it was absolutely one hundred percent worth the wait.

Final destination

I sit here writing this, winding down the training for one last marathon, the final taper period for the one I thought would always get away from me. I’m nearly there. A week today, I’ll be there. Lining up with 35,000 others in a world major marathon for the first time in my life, an ambition about to be realised.

Over a million people have crossed that finish line on The Mall since the first race in 1981, and all being well by around 2pm next Sunday I will be one of them.

Marathon training tips #2: starting your marathon training

Welcome to the second of my articles aimed at helping you with your marathon training, drawing on personal experience to try and help you avoid some of the pitfalls I’ve stumbled into over the years.

The first one was hopefully of use for those of you who are considering signing up for the full 26.2 mile distance, or have just done so and don’t know where to start with it all. For those of you about to embark on your marathon training though, hopefully this article will help you on your journey.

Marathon training tips #1: planning and preparation

As I sit here midway through marathon training for my fourth and probably final push at the 26.2 mile distance, I thought now might be a good time to share a few bits and bobs that I’ve learned over the past five or six years since my first effort.

I can’t promise everything I tell you here is the absolute best way to go about things, but I can certainly let you know what has and hasn’t worked for me in the past. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way but then finally last April I would say I ran probably the best marathon I’m ever likely to run, using all the benefit of what I’d learned over the years. Hopefully, what I know now will be of some use to you too.

Twelve months on

Anyone who has read this blog over the years will be aware of my annual struggle to get into London, dropping my ballot entry in every April and then inevitably getting the dreaded SORRY! magazine in the post six months later, dashing my hopes and dreams for another year. But, finally, this year, I’m in. I’m there. They couldn’t stop me forever.

The last leg

I must have started writing at least three or our four blogs this year with words along the lines of “I don’t even know where to start with this one” or “this is one of the hardest blogs I’ve ever had to write”, but this time it’s truer than ever. It really has been. The fact that it’s taken me until nearly the end of the year to report back on September’s Great North Run tells its own story but I mean, seriously. How can I adequately sum up all that’s been achieved this year?

1013.4 / 1000: The RideLondon-Surrey 100

So there we are. Just look at the post title up there – we’ve done it. Following the completion of the RideLondon-Surrey 100 at the end of last month, we’ve now covered 1000 miles for motor neurone disease, and with events still to spare. A target we thought ridiculously over optimistic last November when we first began dreaming up this mad year of challenges is in the bag and we can all sit here and be extremely proud of the fact that we’ve achieved the aim of carrying ourselves through nothing more than human horsepower (and malt loaf) the equivalent of from Leamington Spa to Lake Garda. And best of all, we’ve raised nearly double our original target of £3000 for the Motor Neurone Disease Association.

It’s been quite a year.

913.4 / 1000: Coast to Coast

It’s 8am and the four of us are in Whitehaven, stood in the early morning drizzle with the back wheels of our bicycles plonked in the Irish Sea. It’s gloomy, it’s dark. It’s a little bit chilly with a fairly ripe breeze on our backs. It most definitely does not feel like early July. The main event of our 1000 miles for MND challenge is about to start and none of us are remotely looking forward to what lies ahead. None of us can believe this day is actually here.

From sea to sea

This Saturday morning four of us will dip the wheels of our bikes into the sea in Whitehaven on the western coast of England and attempt to pedal 140-odd miles to Sunderland before tea time on Sunday to do the same over there on the eastern coast.

136.3 / 1000: The Great Manchester Run

Such was the level of success across the board during last month’s Great Manchester Run that I’ve been struggling to even know where to start with this one. Ten of us started the Great Manchester Run and I’m delighted to say that all ten finished, with each and every one achieving something significant along the way.