Happy New Year!
Like a lot of people, I’m still in slightly reflective and review mode, to which end I’ve been looking back at some of my past marathon high points. In chronological order, here’s my Top Ten list:
1. Crossing the finish line of my first marathon, London 2005, totally exhausted, and being given a T-shirt that said on the front “Never Again……” Thank goodness, I thought! The downside to this particular memory is that on the back it said “……until the next time.”
2. Despite my initial deep misgivings, the next time was 18 months later, the Dartmoor Vale Marathon, when I knocked half an hour off my time and actually managed to enjoy most of it.
3. Tresco 2007. Seven and a half times around this small island, part of the Isles of Scilly. My husband John, by now a marathon groupie, was with me in spirit all the way. He stationed himself outside the New Inn and raised a fresh pint of beer every time I ran past. “It would be disrespectful to only have a half,” he said.
4. Drink was rather a problem at Edinburgh 2009. They ran out of water between miles 14 and 22, on a day of full sunshine and temperatures in the mid 20s. Even so it was a great event, and I look forward to Edinburgh hopefully being my 50th marathon in May 2015.
5. Drink had a part to play in Palma 2009 as well. This time me on the hooch. We arrived two nights before for the start of a week’s holiday, partied rather well, and ended around 1.30am after a few large Baileys. Amazingly, I got my first proper PB, 4:16. I can’t see it being adopted by elite athletes, but hey it worked for me!
6. Some of the advice you get is memorable too. Belfast 2010 definitely had a touch of the Irish about it, with this note of caution on reaching the finish: “By this time you will probably be VERY TIRED. Whatever you do don’t ‘collapse’ on the line UNLESS you are in extreme pain or discomfort.”
7. New York 2011. What can I say. Marathon number 10 for me. The biggest in the world, with more than 47,000 entrants, running through all five boroughs and a truly AWESOME experience all round. There was a definite American slant to the messages of support: “Your legs are only hurting because you’re kicking so much arse,” and just before the 26 mile mark: “Beer is Near!”
8. London 2012 was my first marathon for dementia research charity BRACE and the start of my bid to achieve 50 marathons by age 50. Sitting in the hotel bar the night before, I felt a chocolate craving. Spying the hotel vending machine, and squinting without glasses on, I thought: “Great, they’ve got little bars of Green and Black’s chocolate for sale”. I ran over coins in hand, expectant and eager, to find instead, an assortment of Durex. Big disappointment! Still even without my chocolate fix, I achieved a PB of 04:05:07.
9. The Medoc 2012. You run through many beautiful vineyards, past stunning chateaux and en route can drink as much wine as you like, and eat oysters, ham, steak and ice-cream. Most people go in fancy dress. It’s the closest thing to a party, while exercising, there is.
10. Finally, another funny from the runner advice sheet. At the Maidstone Marathon this November we were told there would plenty of energy gels, food and sports drinks – so “no excuse for ‘bonking’.” Bonking! What?! I’ve never seen that during a race. It could be a novel way to encourage more people to keep fit though – a bonking marathon. But then maybe not, running 26.2 miles is exertion enough.
That’s it for a couple of weeks. I’m taking a short break from blogging. Back Monday January 27th. Thanks as always for reading. And a very happy 2014.