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.
Round #1 is now complete, the Greater Manchester Marathon is officially done and dusted. 26.2 out of 1000 miles for motor neurone disease are safely in the bag. We’re finally underway people, and we’ve hit our original fundraising total already with 973.8 miles still go. You are all ridiculously amazing, aren’t you?
For the third time in my life, here I am the day before it all becomes A Bit Real. D-Day. Endgame. The day of reckoning, just some of the phrases I have used in the past to describe the culmination of months of hard work as the practice finally becomes the reality. All those hours spent trundling round and round on my little feet are about to come in really quite handy as come 9am tomorrow morning I will be lining up on the Old Trafford startline with a simple goal: run the Greater Manchester Marathon.
I remember writing back in January that I knew that even though that was the week that broke me I would have bigger weeks to come. This week was that bigger week. The biggest, in fact. Ever. The most I have ever and probably will ever run in a seven day period, the equivalent of running round the M60 twice. 70 miles, over seven runs, with an 18 mile practice marathon pace effort right at the very end. The trouble with that though, is the actual logistics of fitting it all in.
Why we are all doing what it is that we are all doing The picture above is of two of my favourite men. I’ve known Jonny since 2003. We met at university, lived together after university and have spent several years after university sitting around talking absolute drivel to each other. I’ve known his Dad, Neil, almost…