One last hurrah

I’ve not properly pushed myself at the full marathon distance since my massive 2016 effort, with Londons 2017 & 18 all being about savouring the day, and I was never going to attempt anything mad for my virtual one last October.

So now it’s time to see what I’ve still got in me. A real race with real people for the first time since late 2019, on the flattest marathon course in the country, an opportunity to aim for that PB and see what happens.

9 mile

There’s been no races so far in 2021, virtual or otherwise. One little challenge that did materialise though was one of those that came about more by chance than anything, and then as is often my way subsequently became something to obsess over for a bit.

That was until I eventually achieved it.

Virtual October

Anyone who’s read more than a couple of my blogs will know that I have a pretty familiar autumn routine, hitting one or two of the same races almost every year going as far back as 2008. This year things were a bit different but I’m still delighted with what I managed to achieve, including my first ever solo marathon two and a half years after the immortal “no more marathons”.

The year of the run

2020 has been the year of a few things. There’s the little matter of a global pandemic and everything surrounding it. It’s been a year of tragic, barely-imaginable loss and heartbreak. The year of lockdown, of not being able to visit any of our loved ones, our friends and family. The year of oh-so-many video calls, of virtual pub quizzes, of substituting sitting in the pub with your mates with sitting on your sofa and getting slowly inebriated while talking all over each other and trying to factor in a delay into the conversation. The year of working from home, of days of meetings over Zoom and Teams, feeling knackered at 5pm just by virtue of speaking into a camera for an entire day.

All of that, but also: it’s been The Year of the Run.

A marathon for The Christie

Those of you who caught my last blog will be aware that another marathon was all coming, but what I didn’t mention was that my return to action will be fundraising one, aiming to (hopefully) raise a nice big total for The Christie.

And this is why.

New year, new me

Only around 5,000 people on this earth have earned the Six Star marathon medal for completing all six World Marathon Majors, which puts it roughly on a par with climbing Mount Everest in terms of human achievement. It’s a bold and ridiculous idea and if I’m being honest I’m not sure it’s actually doable.

But sod it, let’s have a go eh.

Round Two: The 2018 London Marathon

The 2018 London Marathon was literally the hardest thing I have ever done, ever. It was, almost from the get go, unrelentingly, leg-shatteringly, teeth-grindingly difficult. The warmest race I have ever run, literally the hottest London Marathon on record. A horrendous experience, almost from start to the eventual finish. So why have I entered the ballot for 2019?

Because, as with last year, it was one of the best experiences of my entire life.

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 #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.