Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner

Last night we went to the Cavendish 25th Anniversary Ball - a wonderful evening, full of fun and spent with good friends many of whom I haven't seen for too long.

Of course I was singing for my supper to some extent in that I had been invited to speak briefly about my return to the roads and running the London Marathon this year for Cavendish. And I was dressed in my running gear - dinner jacket bow tie cummerbund and all the trimmings.

And I'm running like this to raise funds and have some fun on the day although of course the running will be much more difficult. Because I've got marathon running "form" people think running London must be easy for me - so unless I make it more difficult they won't sponsor me!!

Well it isn't easy!! A marathon is never easy - or rarely. Certainly not for me. It hurts. Those last few miles are rarely a pleasure. And that's just on the day. The training is punishing and there's so much of it. Pushing myself to get out and do the long lonely training miles is difficult. And training for London involves flattish miles which I hate even more.

So last week a long relatively flat run of around 4 hours / 24 miles. And this weekend a flat 10 with Heather who is training for the Sheffield half - Heather is a good runner but needs pushing because she likes to stop for a breather every now and again! That was Saturday .... and today the exact opposite - a brutal 18 miles taking in 5 huge steep long climbs in a howling gale, lashed by rain. But actually quite warm.

Good for strength, plays to my strength - but not as good for London. It's just tough, dogged, lonely miles - and you've got to do them no matter how experienced you are. The only thing my experience brings me is the knowledge that I will get round, I will complete, whatever happens. I know how to get through those difficult miles, how to manage my body when the wheels fall off. But easy - NO!

Except very occasionally - this photo reminds me of when I was in the form of my life, training for and just after Challenge 30 when I was running marathon after marathon and a 30 mile route in training every weekend. Only then was an "ordinary" marathon relatively easy.


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Hard Miles for Cavendish

I’ve remembered why I retired from running road marathons! It’s hard work – well the training to get yourself fit enough is.

I’ve not really been totally fit for this sort of marathon running since I ran London in April last year. This might sound odd as I have since run marathons in extreme conditions in Greenland and Outer Mongolia. But for both of those I knew I could complete and other factors such as strength and strength endurance came into play.

Back on the road in the UK it’s about consistent pace for a long time on even ground. I discovered long ago that just because I could run on the hills didn’t mean I could run a flat road marathon well. It’s the same muscles doing almost exactly the same thing mile after mile for a long time – and it negates my strength which is my strength. I’ve always done relatively better on so-called tough courses.

So a flat track 24 miles on Wednesday followed by a 12 Gym 12 yesterday. And both were very hard work. But I’ve got time to get a bit better yet!

12 Gym 12?? Well I run from home to my gym – 12 miles, but mostly and overall significantly downhill. And then I do a full gym session in my most favourite training habitat. Nip for a coffee at Costa, then run back home – 12 miles significantly uphill!

Here I am amidst the gym:

And I’m putting in the hard miles one last time for Cavendish Cancer Care. I was diagnosed with a rare cancer myself last year so this is personal!!

It would be brilliant if you could sponsor me for a few pounds and a huge thanks to everyone who already has. Every little counts. It really does.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Streets of London

Chris I’m just calling to ask you if you’d run the London Marathon for us ……. But I’ve retired from road marathons …… I know but we’ve got a place and nobody to run it for us ……. Oh go on then I will.

And so on Sunday April 23rd I will be taking to the streets of London – again. I will be running for Cavendish Cancer Care – a local charity that provides advice, therapy, signposting, and care for those suffering with cancer and also their families and especially children who are affected.

There are two reasons this is a cause worth me coming out of retirement for and putting in the hard training miles. My own father died of cancer when I was 14 and no such help existed for children and partners back then.

And secondly (this may well be news to many of you reading) I was diagnosed with a neuroendocrine tumour myself in July last year. A rare form of cancer. Now to date I have been lucky – it was found early and apart from suffering the indignity of a variety of instrument insertions and a small operation to have said offending tumour removed, I am fine. No need for radical surgery or drug treatments. I’m going from check-up to check-up hoping I stay lucky.

So two great reasons to put myself through the pain barrier again – for Cavendish as they celebrate their 25th anniversary.

Now of course there has to be a theme to my run … and building on last year’s theme of being late for work and running in my suit, this time I am burning the candle at both ends and haven’t time to get changed from the previous evening’s dinner – so here is my running kit for London 2017!!


If you would like to sponsor me please go to:
or click the button on the right.

And here is some more information about Cavendish Cancer Care