My journey into marathons and ultra-marathons to challenge myself and raise funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research
I’m a 53 year old Dad with two daughters at UNI, kart racer and a management consultant working long, pretty stressful hours from North Hants. Since late 2012 I am a runner too! Also, entirely against expectation my partner, Debs, and I started a running club (Sherfield Park Runners) in April 2013, where I have been Chairman, Secretary, Kit-Man and all sorts of other roles!
My running grew through 2013, so that 2014 saw 5 half marathons (Reading, Fleet, Edinburgh, Bristol and Basingstoke), lots of 10Ks and 5Ks (love parkrun in Basingstoke and as a “tourist”) and various trails including in a team of 8 at last year’s fabulously wet and muddy Endure24 where my contribution was five, 5 mile laps. I am constantly being told I am bonkers especially when I grab a new challenge, often coming from when someone says “…you can’t” or “…you are too old”. This applies even more with my 2015 running plans … my first marathons (VMLM and Berlin) and straight on to do Endure24 again BUT this time as a SOLO as my first Ultra Marathon, followed by my second ultra, the Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1! With 4 half-marathons and many 10Ks and trail races too.
I am doing all this to raise funds to support the fabulous work at L&LR, and I have 3 key reasons:
- My hugely influential and inspirational Dad who died, aged 94, in November 2014 and wanted monies raised to beat blood cancer.
- My brother, Chris, died of Myeloid Leukaemia in 1999, aged 51.
- My karting friend, Paul Lee-Davis, who was a larger than life, fun loving character who died of leukaemia in 2011 aged 37.
Through L&LR I am fortunate to be working with a running coach, Ben from Full Potential, who has created a personalised 20 week training plan that includes my club sessions and loads of winter trail / cross country races. I have also been really lucky to have won two prizes in a running charity competition to get (i) 1 to 1 coaching from Mark Kleanthous at www.ironmate.co.uk and a whole 6 session course at the Bristol Running School. Not close to home so will need some diary juggling!
Now finished week 8, deep (259 miles done with 164 miles in 2015) into the pre London plan, seeing and feeling benefits although not (yet) shifting the weight I want to (basic physics…want to carry less weight, and each 1lb off equates to 10lbs less pressure on my knees) and have not touched a drop of alcohol since N Y Eve…even having a non-alchi birthday!
Amazingly, although it is relentless with 5-6 running sessions, plus pilates, plus swimming each week I have been utterly enjoying it (yes, I am bonkers!). But, this week, there was a disastrous long run, lots of effort to keep going after a decent first 4 miles as I got weaker and weaker and slower and slower. I had to be collected at 13 of the planned 16 miles by Debs, passed out in the bath (not recommended!) and found later I had Gastric Flu resulting in time off work … AND my training plan. That last bit is pretty scary with a 20 mile race coming up on the 15th Feb!!! No running since Sunday and I hope to get going again, steadily, in the next day or so.
More to come here and on my Ultrabonkers blog soon – watch this space!