50 Marathons! What happened to ‘never again’!

Posted on: 03 Jul 2018

It is absolutely true that I have no idea how I have just run my 50th marathon, the reality of it seems absolutely ludicrous! 

I ran my first marathon in London, back in 2005, just 12 months after I had started running and I clearly remember crossing the finishing line vowing absolutely never again!  And I was true to my word as for the next 3 years I was quite happy running half marathons, that was until a friend said that Rome would be a good idea! Again after 26.2 miles, and a lot of cobbles, I repeated those immortal words ‘never again’!

Fast forward to 2010 and the inaugural Brighton Marathon which seemed like a ‘nice’ location to go and have a joggle along the seafront!  Brighton was the course that changed my marathon path; I managed to knock nearly 40 minutes off of my Rome time, I ran a sub 4-hour marathon (only ever to be repeated on that course!) and it was the first time I crossed the finish line without muttering ‘never again’!  2010 was also the year I joined the Chippenham Harriers, need I say more!

In 2011, on purpose, I did not enter Brighton as I did not want to land myself with the legacy of having to run it every year since the marathon started, luckily I was back in London with a prized marathon ballot place!

In 2012 I returned to Brighton, however it is obviously a prerequisite that you enter the London ballot and having been given a place in 2011 I thought it extremely unlikely that I’d get a place in 2012 too, well apparently I was wrong which is how I ended up running 2 marathons back to back!

In 2013 I was back in Brighton with my third sub 4-hour outing there and then Kate said that Berlin would be a good idea!  I often get blamed for suggesting ‘good ideas’ but it isn’t always me, honest!  It was an absolutely fantastic weekend away in Berlin, but I am still not sure about the marathon; not a favourite!

And then the number of marathons started to run away with me, so to speak!  I am not sure why they started to spiral…....I don’t know who I was running away from!   If you are one for statistics here is how I got to 50 marathons!

  • 2005 – 1 marathon
  • 2008 – 1 marathon
  • 2010 – 2 marathons
  • 2011 – 1 marathon
  • 2012 – 2 marathons
  • 2013 – 2 marathons
  • 2014 – 7 marathons and 2 ultras
  • 2015 – 10 marathons and 3 ultras
  • 2016 – 9 marathons and 2 ultras
  • 2017 – 6 marathons
  • 2018 – 2 marathons

The breakdown is 26 road marathons, 17 trail marathons and 7 ultras.  43 were run in the UK the other 7 were run in  Rome, Benidorm, Berlin, Paphos, Dublin and Malta.

So to my 50th, which I’d managed to plan so that it would be my favourite trail marathon; The Giants Head Marathon.  The race description is ‘a very, very challenging hilly but beautiful course running through the Sydling and Cerne valleys running around and under the famous Cerne Giant’, and they are not wrong!  It was even more challenging  with the intense heat, so it was all about survival!   Again my partner in crime for the race was Catherine and the motto of the day was ‘run when we can, walk when we have to, there's ice cream and Cider at the finish’!  Some of the terrain was un-runable and other parts of the course were ‘I’m not running up that’! 

Feed stations were crucial and with one near enough every 3 miles they were perfectly placed, especially the ‘Lovestation’ at around mile 21 where we greeted with very welcome hugs, beer, vodka and cakes!  Now you wonder why I do these races; a Lovestation and motivational course signage!

So it wasn’t our fastest but it was definitely absolutely brilliant fun, I love it; Giants Head Marathon you’re still my favourite!

So after some rehydration, and more rehydration with our chilli and crumble we kept our legs moving at the barn dance that evening.  You’ll be pleased to read that I have no photographic evidence of our epic dancing!   After a bit more hydration and gossiping with our neighbours around our tent peace then reigned, well until the next morning and the chaos race!

Sunday and the Sydling Bell Race which is in aid of the village church in Sydling (hence the name).  The race is just for fun, open to any age, no times are recorded and you just have to expect the unexpected!  This year was no exception!  The race started on the village green with everyone having to remove their trainers and place them on a tarpaulin, anyone found tying their laces together or identifying them with a ribbon was cooled down with a water pistol!  There must have been 250+ pairs of trainers which were then all mixed up on the tarpaulin whilst we all did the conga around the field!  It was then a free for all to reunite yourselves with your trainers; oh the chaos!

For a while I only had my right trainer but eventually my left one was located and it was time to make our way up the hill; running eventually turned into a walk until I reached the top.  I heard a lot of children on the way up saying to a parent ‘you said this would be fun and it isn’t’!  Eventually at the top there was a forfeit; mine was 5 star jumps and then I was presented with my Cow bell and then it was time to run back down the hill clonking away like a proper Alpine Cow!  The noise around the valley must have woken up a few people!  2.3 miles of just brilliant fun!

So the question I have been asked the most; 'when will I run my 100th marathon'?!  The answer it that I have no plans on running 100 marathons, however never say never as I've just joined the 100 Marathon Club as a wannabe!

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