Okay, we all know I am a nightmare with updating this blog… hopefully with the new challenges of 2018 I will be better at it. In the meantime, I have been soooo busy over the last few weeks ticking off the events of #The4RaceChallenge, and wow did it happen in style! This is going to be a LOOOONG post, so stick with it 🙂
It seems so long ago that it all kicked off, but was really just three weeks with one of my favourite races.. the Great North Run. Taking me from Gateshead to South Shields, it’s the biggest mass participation event in the world. Literally. Over 55000 runners take part every year. I went into it confident. 13.1 miles: an easy start to the challenge. I felt in the best shape I had ever been in and was still on a high from the PB set over Marathon distance in London back in April. And well it went… I was aiming to go Sub 2 hour for the first time over the half marathon distance, and though I didn’t think I was going to manage it as I passed the 11 mile mark I pushed hard, found the energy and not only went sub 2, but actually knocked five more minutes off it, finishing in 1.54.55 ! There’s a cheesy post race photo of me with Kaiser Chiefs keyboardist Peanut!
Next up… Race 2 and the first of two back to back marathons, taking on a different London race… The Richmond RunFest Marathon. Richmond is a stunning part of the world and I was looking forward to running in a neck of the woods I hadn’t been to since I lived down south! So my target… to go under 5 hours. I hadn’t really thought much about the route, but logic should have told me this wasn’t going to be a straightforward tarmac run. Richmond… opening 5km in the stunning Kew Gardens before taking on the miles down the Thames to Kingston. I won’t deny that the constant loops and double backs are frustrating… but you gotta make up that distance. It’s a lovely race, and I really surprised myself with how I performed on the mixed terrain course… and I came home in an awesome PB of 4.35.44! Among the highlights of the day was catching up with the awesome Rey of BeSmartGetFit fame for the first time in five years!
Richmond was closely followed by a second marathon in seven days (albeit with a week of European touring in between… more on that in a later post!) as I made my return to Berlin to race for the first time since 2012. I love Berlin, it’s a city that just sings to me, so much in fact I am already booked in to run the marathon again in 2018! The last time I ran there I wasn’t in the best of shape shall we say, and I was extremely excited about being able to run it in the shape I was in. I was worried about it going into it, though I felt good, I knew I had put my body through a lot in the weeks prior. I’ll be honest, the first half was awesome…I went through the halfway mark in just over 1.51, my fastest ever over the distance, but at around 15 miles my legs went, and I mean they went. With five miles to go I couldn’t see the finish, and I was distraught that after such a good race the week before I wouldn’t even go Sub 5 hour this time round. So you know what I did? I found something… I dug deep, and I found pace. I pushed hard and crossed the line in 4.54.23! I’ve no idea how but I did it. Oktoberfest madness then followed with James, who had travelled to see the World Record attempt in the race (not by me you understand…!!) before we hit the after race party where I managed to grab a drunkenly blurry photo with race winner Eliud Kipchoge!
If I had felt a bit disappointed at all at the Berlin result, which I didn’t really, having had time to reflect, that was smashed out the park seven days later with my final race in the series. So here’s the thing… I know Glasgow, and I know the Great Scot! It’s my tenth time in a row running my home city race and I knew I could go fast on the course in my current shape. I also knew, at the end of this series, my legs would be tired and I didn’t know how that would translate to speed on the course. I decided to go out hard, and keep a steady pace through through to Pollok Park, and just do what I could on the two hilly bits in the opening two miles. Seriously.. who starts a race on St Vincent Street? Anyways, you know what.. I went, and I kept on going. Around Mile 10 I felt I was struggling, the legs were going a bit, and I was stunned to find myself still doing solid 8 minute miles. The result, a solid finish and ANOTHER half marathon PB of 1.46.06! Keeping the theme going… I grabbed a post race medal photo with winner Chris Thompson, a long term supporter of my fundraising.. I could not be more delighted that Thommo won, even if it was at the expense of Calum Hawkins!
The result of all this? Wow, don’t really know how to put it into words. Four races in three weeks, three PBs, two sub 5 hour marathons, and some amazing times had.
Onwards and upwards to the challenges of 2018 and beyond…