Three More Marathons About Learning

I know! I know! I should update this more and I will get better I promise. (Don’t look at the last post…) 

Anyway I had to post this as I’m doing a marathon/ ultra on Saturday and leaving four out is silly! I admit I had to struggle to remember the first in the three but it all came flooding back to me just now. 

18th November Somme Centenary Challenge Run (number 35) at Samphire Hoe, Dover

Started with an epic race briefing from Mr. Traviss Willcox himself who is wholly to blame for my (un)healthy obsession with marathons, and then something more poignant was the reason we were here. Yes we were running a marathon or more but we were also remembering that awful time at the Somme when so many died for not much gain- a current serving army member gave a beautiful speech about those that fell and we all had a moments silence in reflection. He was running and a lovely bloke too. 

Then we ran. It was very cold. Really cold. Effin freezing to be honest. 

So all my plans of 30+ miles (it was as a timed event so 35 miles was possible if I put a move on) went to the wall as my fingers were freezing! My new Nike gloves were (and have been proved since) useless at keeping my hands warm so I got my head down, talked to a few lovely people, ran some more and got it done. Tailwind Nutrition worked beautifully and I finished went home and got warm. 

The medal is amazing. So to add to a little theme of my blog this time I then went to work until 2AM. Hard physical graft derigging theatre lights, dancefloor, staging and seating from an album launch we had supported at work. Ow. 

So I lost a little sleep… (recurring theme)

Now the next marathon was a little special as it was in the town I live and on my running route so I should have rocked it. I mean I did but in my own unique way. 

25th November Oyster Bay Marathon, (number 36) Whitstable Sea Front

Me and my wife moved to Whitstable two and a half years ago before I’d ever considered a marathon and the fact we had a local marathon was amazing. OK so it’s organised by the Saxons, Vikings and Normans Marathons people (see Traviss above) means it’s not organised by the town but it’s local anyway and I do as many as their races as possible as they are well-organised, well-stocked and very welcoming. 

Being local and my wife needing a 13 mile training run for Disney I decided for whatever reason to run to the start. It was 5 miles away… 

…Which is fine, we arrived and my wife said hello to everyone (she volunteers sometimes for the aid station/ lap counting) and continued to do her 13 miles ok. 

I started the marathon and felt amazing. Had a good warm up. The issue was it was four laps of 6.55 miles so 3 miles ish out back. The 3 ish back were against a harsh coastal 20 mph wind and were not pretty! 

But I was determined to get a sub four as it’s flat and my training ground. So I went for it as much I could but the 5 miles on the way took their toll on the later stages just look at my end splits. 

I was suffering a little as by the end I was on 31 miles. But I got it done and the medal is ace! 3:57 so sub four. 

Then like the biggest tool in the box I realised I was fatigued, cold and hungry and had to get home… 5 miles away… 

I had originally thought of dropping into the local cafe and getting a full English but I just wanted to get home so I said my goodbyes, packed my UD pack (after drinking the beer in the goody bag of course) and jogged home. 

It hurt but I got it done. So 36 miles for the day! 

Just to add to my recurring tiredness I then drove to Bury St Edmunds the next morning (2 hour drive) to start technical rehearsals for their pantomime that I was lighting. Long week with lovely people but all was well and it looked great in the end though teamwork and a great team. 

I love working there!

So I drove back from Bury on the Friday night, had Saturday off getting my breath back and Sunday went to Dymchurch for what I thought would be a PB attack on a relatively flat course on the seafront. 

How I keep learning. 

4th December Dymchurch Marathon (number 37) Dymchurch, Kent

It was a beautifully crisp morning on a cold winters day. I was ready for this. 

There was about a 11-16 mph wind in one direction but I was up for it. 

So naive…

After a photo was taken of the heroes who had started the Oyster Marathon 9 days before and done a marathon every day since (whilst I was working in Bury St Edmunds) we set off. This meant about 20 people were on their 10th marathon in 10 days. Hardcore. 

Also to make it more exciting one of them was after the World Record for the fastest 10 marathons in 10 days. 

Adam Holland did it and now holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest 10 marathons in 10 days. 

The beautiful day started running one way for a few miles then a 6+ mile run the other way into the wind x 3. Three laps I’m thinking this is ace!

I’m foolish sometimes. So I never prepared any Tailwind nutrition the night before because I was confident or stupid enough to think I’d see how little I could eat on the marathon… like an experiment in nutrition or stupidity. 

So splits are going well and I’m looking at 3:40 ish and my PB is 3:39 so I’m thinking a last minute 3 mile sprint and I’m in with a PB in the bag for Xmas. 


So usually when I’m running on Clif Bars I get through three a marathon roughly one an hour.  

At 1:23 hours I decide to eat half a Clif Bar… I’m feeling amazing, I’m running well so what harm can it do? After 45 mins I eat the other half and still feeling good and fighting the cold and gale, loving the sun and having a ball. 

All going well with another half bar around 2.5 hours in around mile 19 I feel a little slowing down until around mile 22 I’m in treacle. 

It doesn’t get any better.

The unique thing about this race is that in the final lap I had to go past the aid station and run out a mile then a mile back, then about 6 and a bit back. 

So as I was feeling a little slow when I got to the aid station for my final 6 ish mile I grabbed a Lucozade Sport bottle and legged it on. I was still desperately clinging on to the hope of finishing with only minimal nutrition (currently 2 Clif Bars) but by mile 22 I was in trouble. Slow, laboured, confused, hit by games, cold and pretty much just soldiering on in my own world of pain. 

Another Clif Bar and I trudged forward at a glaciating pace being overtaken by 3 people (the shame). 

Got to the turnaround point and I felt a little better (sugar hitting its target) and I managed to sped up a little and, to much massive surprise, did a 3:55! I thought I’d failed miserably but my early speed had paid off. 

Finishing was amazing though I got my medal and goody bag and promptly dropped it smashing the bottle of Stella Artois in it (there’s a reason I like these races). Luckily Traviss gave me another and all was well. 

Now this isn’t the end of the story as I normally recover quiet quickly but I forgot I was on for a PB until I buggered my nutrition up and I forgot about the fast 5 mile I did in Bury St Edmunds earlier in the week ( I’ve not done speed work since training my wife for Disney) that hurt my quads and calves about mile 20. 

Two days of walking like a duck and I felt fine but wasn’t running right as I had toe issues and sore quads so I chilled out and decided to do some long walks. 

On 12th Dec I decided to do some long walks into work

With some beautiful scenes on the way in.

Then I walked home after walking into town adding up to a 15 mile day. Legs felt fine. 

Two days later I walk in on a beautiful day. 

Needless to say my legs are feeling ace and I’m really looking forward to this on Saturday. 

Usual Suspects Challenge 

Hoping to aim for 30+ miles but all depends on the seafront weather. 

Hopefully update soon 

Happy running and take care out there. 


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