My Big Marathon Challenge

Misplaced Optimism

I started in high spirits, had no knee trouble, enjoyed the first 14 miles and felt okay for the next 4, though I knew I was not going to be under 4 1/2 hours. Then cramp in a thigh at Mile 18 made me stop. After that I had to stop, massage, stretch and sometimes walk several times.

I did enjoy all the sympathy, encouragement and cheers from the crowd. And I did manage to smile at them. But 5.22 was a big disappointment.

Yet no regrets; I don’t think I would have done anything different. I’m hugely grateful to Men’s Running for including me on the Big Marathon Challenge and everyone involved in helping me.

These things happen and I crossed the finish line I still felt fortunate to be part of such a great event. And I enjoyed a couple of Guinesses.

I also think I’ll hit my other target – to raise £1,000 for Richard House Children’s Hospice.


The Glass is Half Full

After an 18-week training plan the test is almost upon me. In spite of some disappointingly slow races and a niggly knee, I’m really looking forward to Sunday. I know that once I register at Excel and listen to Martin Yelling’s really useful and slightly amusing talk, I shall we in constant high spirits for four or five days and so please just to be a part of it all.

I know that however I run on Sunday, the crowds will make it one of the best days of the year. My only worry is that as I cross the finish line I shall decide, as in the last four years, to have just one more go at it.

If 2017 turns out not to have been my year of triumph, perhaps 2018 will be!

Good luck everyone! Thanks for all the encouragement.

My marathon video

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Less than 405 hours to go

Five things this week have been good for morale:

  1. I completed my long run without too much discomfort;
  2. My marathon pace was a bit quicker than my easy running;
  3. More excellent free clothing from Asics arrived, including a fourth pair of trainers;
  4. A young fellow said that I looked in better shape on the treadmill than people half my age; when I told him what it was he uttered two words, the first not printable here, the second was “HELL!” (sorry to boast);
  5. Last but by no means least, in about 403 hours, 27 1/2 minutes I’ll be able to down my first beer since 25th March

More to life…

The hoped for breakthrough has still not yet arrived. Twenty hilly miles took me 3 hours 50 minutes – longer than the entire marathon took me only 11 years ago. Why have my legs aged twice as much as the rest of me?

With some difficulty I’m managing to hold off defeation. A lot can happen in 3 1/2 weeks.

In any case – and I know this will sound like rank heresy to many people – there is more to life than running…


You can support my challenge by donating to Richard House Children’s Hospice.

Miracle Needed!

I can’t understand it. I enjoyed the Brentwood Half-Marathon far more than another 3 weeks ago, hardly noticed my left knee niggle, felt sure I’d be at least 10 minutes faster at halfway, yet my finishing time was the same, even a few seconds slower at 2 hours 22+ minutes.

If I lived in the real world, I suppose I’d have to admit that my target time for London is now hopelessly out of reach. Since I don’t, I’m not yet ready to abandon my ambition. Miracles do happen, don’t they?

In case there is any doubt, when I say I am a Barking road runner I’m referring to the part of London that gives my club its name, not to my mental state.

You can support me and donate here.

Preparing for Brentwood

Nothing special this week, except that the Threshold runs are a bit less hard if I do them before breakfast than after an active day. I’m looking forward to the Brentwood Half on Sunday and hoping that I’ll be faster than in the Roding Half three weeks ago. If I’m slower I may have to be put down.


Survival of the (un)fittest

After my slowest ever half marathon on 26th Feb, I attended Liz Yelling’s great Run Camp in Cork for a 6-day “kill or cure” treatment. It was hard – two runs every day plus other things – but really good fun. I learnt a great deal, not just that I’m much older and slower than everyone else on it. I did nget back from the 21 mile run before they had all finished their lunch, however.



My worst week since the challenge began. After being quite pleased with my longest run so far, the others were harder and slower than they should have been.

I seem to be over it thought, and today’s 15 minutes Threshold, which I was not looking forward to, was fine.

Next week at Liz Yelling’s Running Camp should make or break me.


Hope On

In general I go through life on an even keel, but nowadays my thoughts about the London Marathon swing from hopes of an unrealistically fast time (usually when I’m in bed) to thoughts that I’ll be lucky to do it in under 4 1/2 hours (usually a quarter of the way through a run). Am I alone in this or just part of a sad minority, which wouldn’t be quite so bad?

Making an effort to be objective – albeit boring – I’ve had another reasonably good week. My long run was 15 1/2 miles in 2 1/2 hours, which seems to indicate that my time on April 23rd will be a source of neither pride nor shame, but perhaps relief. However, there are still 9 1/2 weeks of training to go, and hope springs eternal.

No time to run yesterday: all day opening my Valentine’s cards. The postman’s put his back out again this year.


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