Last Sunday (21st July 2019) I completed my 30th marathon since 2013. Before 2013, I had no intention of running a marathon or running at all. Then as I was in early thirties, I started to note that I was gaining weight whilst working in the railway and eating sh*t loads of cr*p whilst traveling, so I got a gym pass and for six months I was in there nearly every day doing two hour sessions to lose weight and tone up.
After that period of time, it was a case of ok, I am fit enough again, what shall I do. I was traveling in the Swiss Alps in October 2012 when I saw a video on a monitor inside a train of the Jungfrau mountain marathon and it looked challenging. It looked appealing in fact. It was around this time I lost my uncle Dennis who I was close to and decided to race this in his memory. I wasn’t going to run this, I was going to race this. After making this decision, I ran. I just ran (and did a few gym sessions). I entered the Brighton marathon and raced this, just to see if I could complete a marathon ahead of the Jungfrau. I did and finished it in 03-53-30. It was time to go up a level.
A few days later I joined my first running club, Fairlands Valley Spartans of Stevenage and joined in a lot of their training sessions. As a second major test, the next month I did the Halstead marathon and got a personal best by getting my time down to 03-40-32. Summer came and two more marathons passed, I got the bug and then it was time for the ‘that’ mountain marathon. It was the biggest challenge of my life and to overcome it with a time of 04-54-12, I was very happy. Words couldn’t describe what I was feeling when I crossed the finish line.
Then over the next few years I reached my ‘peak’ (and more likely to be the final peak!), where I got a personal best in Riga (Latvia) marathon of 03-16-22 (despite stopping for a two minute toilet break after mile one), which en-route saw me run marathons in Spain, Hong Kong, France to name a few places and I also grabbed a fourth place finish in Deal, Kent (UK).
That was the high then the next few years (after my cycle ride to Amsterdam from Stevenage), injuries came along (which I still have a slight problem with my right glute muscle), my marriage broke down (but a few years later got back on track), piled on the weight whilst I was with another girl and drank lots of beer despite acting that life was fantastic but deep inside me my life was spiralling downwards. I also left Fairlands Valley Spartans and trained by myself for a while. Despite all the problems, I kept running, I kept training but it was difficult, physically and mentally. There was also good points, I joined Stevenage Striders and two days after joining them I made my debut in the London Marathon and I also ran at two world championships at half-marathon distance in Wales and Spain. But I was getting really fat after that and I was struggling to complete marathons. I took the next step and got a personal trainer in, Craig Halsey from KineoRun (google him up guys) and it was a long struggle, patience and a lot of set backs during training but eventually I managed to get a sub four-hour marathon in Paris, France earlier this year. With Craig I also managed to complete a marathon in Hawaii with desert-like conditions and dry air which I would now say is the biggest challenge of my life and not running up that mountain!
I retired from racing marathons after Paris as my body is taking a lot of beatings in the last two years but parted company with Craig for the short time (I might return if I have another project…who knows what life will bring, its always a rollercoaster with me), but I still continue to run and shed the weight off in the gym. Last Sunday I entered the Fairlands Valley Challenge for a laugh, a self-guided run where I follow a list of instructions and run mostly off-road through the East Hertfordshire countryside. I didnt train up for this marathon, I just did it. My glute went again (of course) but I still managed to get around under five hours, I take that. I just being doing Parkruns (sometimes with a buggy and my daughter, Amelie – aka Kiddo tagging along) and a few 10k’s. The bug is still there. I haven’t got any events booked as I write this but I am sure I will be doing more marathons in the future.
Here is the list of marathons I have done with times to reach the ’30’ mark.
Running Marathon 01
Brighton Marathon (UK) – April 2013. Time: 03-53-30
and then running marathon 02
Halstead Marathon (UK) – May 2013 – 03-40-32
Fairlands Valley Challenge – Stevenage, UK – July 2013. Time: 04-12-00
Kent Coastal Marathon – Margate, UK. September 2013. Time: 03-34-27
Jungfrau (Mountain) Marathon – Interlaken, Switzerland. September 2013. Time: 04-54-12
Brighton Marathon (UK), April 2014. Time: 03-40-19
Milton Keynes (UK), May 2014. Time: 04-00-16
Halstead Marathon (UK), May 2014. Time: 03-48-56
Riga (Latvia), May 2014. Time: 03-58-27
Kent Roadrunners (Gravesend, UK), May 2014. Time: 04-08-58
Thames Meander (South-West London), August 2014. Time: 03-54-21
Stevenage (UK), November 2014. Time: 03-41-54
Malaga (Spain), December 2014. Time: 03-32-21
Gran Canaria (Spain), January 2015. Time: 03-47-48
Paris (France), April 2015. Time: 03-20-36
St George’s Day Marathon (Deal, UK), April 2015. Time: 03-25-48 4th PLACE
Riga (Latvia), May 2015. Time: 03-16-22 PERSONAL BEST
Fairlands Valley Challenge (Ultra Distance – 30 miles) – Stevenage, UK. Time: 04-54-22
Berlin (Germany), September 2015. Time: 03-39-55
Martello Marathon (Folkestone, UK) – November 2015. Time: 03-37-05 5th PLACE
Hong Kong (China), January 2016. Time: 03-44-17
London (UK), April 2015. Time: 03-53-22
Riga (Latvia), May 2016. Time: 03-50-22
Zermatt (Mountain Marathon), Switzerland – Ultra Distance (28 miles). Time: 07-20-49
Samphire Hoe (Dover, UK), July 2016. ULTRA – 50 miles. Time 12-00-00
Usual Suspects Marathon (Samphire Hoe, Dover, UK). Time: 04-50-10
Riga (Latvia), May 2017. Time: 05-33-33
Kona Marathon (Kona, Hawaii, USA) – June 2018. Time: 05-02-37
Paris (France), April 2019. Time: 03-52-06
Fairlands Valley Challenge (Stevenage, UK), July 2019 – Time: 04-56-00 – 4th PLACE