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”.
After posting my “I’ve signed up for a marathon” blog back in February, it’s safe to say there has been a somewhat significant turn of global events which far, far overshadow whatever little nonsense I was planning on doing this year.
With this coming Sunday’s Marathon For The Christie long since postponed, I’ve gone and signed up for a virtual half to mark the occasion, and by officially registering through Find A Race I still get a cool little medal and all the race proceeds going to the World Health Organisation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Stay safe everyone. x
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.
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.
The 2014 edition of the City of Salford 10k is, thankfully, still to this day the only time I have ever pulled out of a race on the morning, as a dose of crippling insomnia overnight left me feeling distinctly undercooked ahead of the proposed 6.2 mile sprint around the quayside. Thankfully that had a happy ending as the four others I was due to run with all had a great day at the office, but I still felt like I had some unfinished business to attend to with this one.
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.
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.
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?
It’s time to return to the very roads where it all began, the scene of my very first ever 10k back in 2008. And this time I’m not alone.
I’ve literally lost count of how many of my friends are also out running on Sunday, with all of us having our own aims and challenges for the day, including three people running their first ever 10k. Two of the three are Jonny and his sister, both running in full MNDA colours and adding a few more miles towards our 1000 Miles for Motor Neurone Disease challenge.
The Stockton Duathlon on April 24th 2016 was the second event on our calendar and Jonny’s first, and with three participants alongside him it means following their successful completion of run / bike / run a fortnight or so ago we now stand at 111.4 miles, just under a tenth of our mammoth total in the bag. Here’s his story of how it all went.