Well that’s it, my last marathon completed today and a total of 1,016 miles covered since I decided to take this on. As you will have seen on my previous post, the intended last race was supposed to be the Luton Marathon last weekend but that was unfortunately cancelled by the organisers at the last minute leaving me high & dry. I did look around for alternatives but they were either full or difficult to fit in due to location etc so in the end I decided that the best option would be to organise my own local route and do it on my own. So, after plotting an 8.85 mile loop of the local roads I set off around 10:30 this morning and after 3 laps I rolled in just under four and a half hours later.
My house doubled up nicely as both lap counter and water station with my wife running out each time with a banana and an isotonic drink to keep me going. The last lap though was very, very hard. I was starting to feel the cold and my legs were seriously cramping up, forcing me into a jog-walk for much of the last lap but I occasionally found a little burst of energy from somewhere and thankfully the last 3/4 mile was roughly downhill. As I approached home I was very touched to see the family and the neighbours outside holding a finishing tape (photos to follow) which is officially the only one I’ve managed to break but that’s not hard in a race of one… Anyways, I’m off for a nice warm bath now and look forward to a nice meal this evening. This is by no means the last entry for the blog as I’ll be letting you know what I’m planning for next year so please keep popping back when you have a moment. I’ll also update you on the fund-raising totals as well as I’m keeping the donation lines open for a couple of months since some of you pledged a donation when I’d finished them all.
All it remains for me to do now is to thank all of you that have supported me for the last 12 months as I battled my way through this and to thank my wife and family for putting up with all the endless evenings and weekends of training and sweaty running kit all over the house – I promise to get on with all those DIY jobs that have been mounting up now…
Just found out this morning that my final race of the series, the Luton Marathon, has been cancelled due to the conditions making it too dangerous to run. This is a real blow having got this far but I can understand their reasons for doing it and there’s not a great deal anyone can do about it.
Having said that however, I’m still going to complete what I set out to do so in the coming days as the weather improves I will be looking at doing my own self-supported 26.2 mile run as I have done for two of my marathons this year. It’s not what I wanted but I’ve pledged to do 12 and I owe that to everyone who has donated so far.
I’ll be posting an update as soon as I’ve got something sorted so please keep checking back.
Only 5 days to go now and my challenge should be complete with the Luton Marathon this Sunday. However, I am keeping my fingers firmly crossed that the event goes ahead in the bad weather as the 2008 event was cancelled due to an accident on the ice. Hopefully the snow will hold off or the roads will have been suitably gritted to permit the race as it would be a bit of a disaster to get this far and have no final race! If that does happen though I will just have to do a measured 26.2 mile run on my own to round off the challenge, which will be a bit of an anti-climax but hey, the challenge was to do 12 marathons and that’s what I will do.
Anyways, not a lot I can do about it at the moment so I’ll just keep an eye on the weather and see how it goes. Just need a couple of short tick-over runs this week and I might have to dust off the YakTrax if the ice becomes a problem. I bought a pair last winter after I got fed up with having to do my long runs on a treadmill leading up to the Gloucester Marathon. Sunday afternoon running 20 miles on a treadmill can get a bit tedious…
Well that’s 11 down and only one more to go!! Yesterday’s race was a bit different from all the others, not the first time I’d done a race with laps but unusual in that it was all in quite a small area – namely Newcastle Town Moor. Squeezing 26.2 miles into there meant that the race was effectively 5 equal length laps of 5.24 miles. The Moor slopes up quite gently at one corner but nothing you could describe as a “hill” so overall the course is pretty flat. Squeezing in the 5.24 miles per lap was quite neatly done with only one small section of the route being two-way traffic head-on as you’ll see in the map below. You did however, have quite a long stretch with people on the other side of a fence and once we’d all settled into our respective paces you started to see the same faces in the same place on each lap.
As you might expect though, running 5 laps does get a bit tedious after a while and the weather on the day was particularly miserable with intermittent driving rain, a chilly wind and at least two brief showers of hail, which does sting a bit on bare legs! This also had the effect of making the route very muddy in places and on a couple of the sloping tarmac paths I could only describe it as like running up a stream so just as your feet had dried out on one lap you had to give them a good soaking on the next! The upside to short laps though is being able to almost see the entire route so you were always aware of how far you had to go – but I think I’d pretty much had enough by the time I was into lap 4 so crossing the finish line a 5th time was a relief knowing it was the last time round.
So, overall, quite an easy race in the sense of the route being quite flat but certainly a psychological challenge with the number of laps. Pre-race information was good with close-by parking and good facilities. The route was well staffed with some very dedicated people considering the weather and they never failed to give that all-important encouragement on every single lap. The drafted-in burger van next to the race HQ was definitely a good move too.
It’s probably not one I would personally do again as it is really just a run around the part when all’s said and done, but a marathon is a marathon and I did it! If I lived nearby though I would be quite pleased to have such a conveniently measured circuit on my doorstep for training…
This weekend’s long run was supposed to be a 14 miler around one of my well-trodden loops which, as you might expect, is getting a little bit tedious now. I decided just before I went out to mix it up a little as I have been doing recently and take a couple of random turns to see where they go. After the first couple of miles I decided to go off-road down a signposted footpath – which proved to be a bit of an error as it took me across a pretty sodden field and within seconds my feet were soaked. Still, I pressed on and eventually emerged a little off-course from my loop onto a familiar road and just as I was about to cross I saw the Crystal Palace transmitter on the distant horizon and thought “oh what the hell” and turned south. It’s roughly a year since I did my 21 mile run down to Tower Bridge and as I tend to carry an Oyster card (in case I injure myself and need to hop on a bus/train etc) I thought I’d see how far 14 miles would take me. It was also a very nice, crisp and sunny autumn day which is just perfect running conditions for me.
As it turns out, 14 miles got me to St John’s Wood – just a few hundred yards up from Edgware Road tube but by then I was on a roll and had no intention of stopping! At 15 miles I rounded Marble Arch and headed into Hyde Park past a very crowded speakers corner. Another mile and I was crossing Piccadilly into Green Park and heading for the Palace and the Mall. Halfway down the Mall I sighted Big Ben and originally decided to make that my goal so headed on down the Mall to Trafalgar Square and down Whitehall, dodging the Burmese protest march and crowds as Big Ben loomed. As I reached the tower I was showing just shy of 17.5 miles on my Garmin so I carried on to the riven and along the Embankment to try and make it a nice round 18 miles before I stopped. As luck would have it, I hit 18 miles just before Somerset House which is just along from Embankment tube and decided that with a marathon in 2 weeks time I should probably call it a day.
The route home was somewhat easier on the tube and then the train and I have to say that the lentil & bacon soup from Pret-a-Manger at Euston was, at that moment, the best thing in the world – especially after that carb gel at 11 miles…
Just thought I’d share a few stats with you as I’ve been reviewing what I’ve done to date. The following is all as recorded by my Garmin Forerunner which I bought about a week after I started training for this challenge:
Marathons Completed = 10
Number of runs so far = 112
Miles covered = 909.4 miles
Cumulative height climbed = 19,945m
Approximate calories burned = 128,604
Total money raised = £2182.31
If anyone fancies helping me out with that last figure just click on the donate link …
Well, fully recovered from the Eden Project Marathon now and back on the schedule leading up to my next race, which will be the Newcastle Town Moor Marathon on the 21st of this month. The weekend long runs are just routine now and the cooler weather is making them a lot easier since I was struggling a bit in the summer having to carry considerably more water if I was out for something longer than 9 or 10 miles.
Donations have been slowing down but that was only to be expected with such a long challenge. By the middle of the year most people had largely forgotten, aside from the odd “are you still doing that running thing?” question. Thankfully though, there’s always someone new finding out about what I’m doing and giving me their support which has kept me going throughout. I’m hoping that as I approach, and finish, my final race that a lot of people have been holding out to see if I could really do it and will dig deep and donate once I’ve chalked up all 12. I’ve still raised a significant amount of money already though and to all who have given so far your contributions are greatly appreciated.
Anyways, off for a nice easy Monday run now to loosen off the stiffness from Saturday’s 13+ miles. Thanks for reading 🙂