Run Payday Run!

Paris and London at a brisk pace

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Two Marathon Challenge Completed

First of all thank you to everybody who donated to this crazy enterprise, you have all helped me to achieve my target of raising £2,200 for the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. Well nearly, as it stands the JustGiving page says I’m 99% to target; like my Paris marathon effort!

London was a great experience. I recovered swiftly from my Paris adventure in the interim week, letting my body relax a bit but not so much that it forgot about the next impending 26.2 miles. I went for a short run in the week and saw a sports masseuse who I think I worried with my blasé approach to muscular rehabilitation.

Jack and I took it easy this time, largely ignoring pace times and enjoying the route starting in Greenwich park and ending with a close call with Richard Branson on the Mall. The crowds at each point provided a much needed boost to the spirit and kept our tired legs pounding away. Crossing over Tower Bridge was a highlight, as was the final stretch with the London Eye and Big Ben in sight.

I completed my second marathon in 4 hours 25 minutes, and this time I didn’t cross the finish line in an ambulance. Thank you all again for your time, money and support. I woud especially like to thank my girlfriend Carter, my running compadre Jack and my parents.

I am signing off now for a well earned break and pint.

See you next year…

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Second marathon done! 4:25, not fast but not to shabby for the second in a week! Celebration time!

Second marathon done! 4:25, not fast but not to shabby for the second in a week! Celebration time!

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Paris Marathon 2011 - a French Farce

We arrived in Paris early on Saturday morning on a very early Eurostar and checked into the hotel. After a ridiculous search for safety-pins (take your own, Paris apparently has never heard of them) we went for a gentle jog around the Tuilerie gardens before some pasta and an early bed.

On Sunday we were greeted with a nice cool April morning at the Arc de Triomphe, and many angry motorists dodging runners who brought traffic to a standstill getting across to the start.

Like these two (Photo stolen from @jackshute)

We made our into the 3:45 pace group and the first ten miles went by incredibly quickly and easily, so far the whole experience had a wonderful deja vu feeling and I was excited about beating my time from last year (4:13)

Jack did an excellent job of sticking with the pace runner and his giant flag; I tried to keep up but after too much dodging other runners and Parisiennes I dropped back a bit to my own pace. As with last year, the three road tunnels were horrible, noisy and claustrophobic, but otherwise the run back west along the Seine had some good crowds and bands. Things got tough around 16 miles but a combination of fire hoses and water stations helped cool me down. I made a point of getting water and fruit at every station as it was a hot day by this point, despite this… well you’ll see why this is important later.

Getting beyond the 20 mile mark is quite nice at Paris because you can rationalise that it’s only 6.2 miles to go and the rest of the run is through the greenery of the Bois de Boulogne. Unfortunately at this point the heat was really wearing me down and I was struggling with the many loops and tight corners. But I continued on, buoyed by the fact that at any moment I would see the finish line and taste victory. I gave the Beaujolais marathon stand a wide berth this year, though I did see some runners drinking the wine this year.

According to my GPS and the map I had just passed the the 41km and had run 25.8 miles when things fell apart. My memory is quite hazy but there is a vague memory of being on the side of the road, attempting to crawl away from would be helpers who I thought were muggers (!?) and then the next thing I knew I woke up in an ambulance, not in a great condition. I had heatstroke and fallen to the ground with less than half a mile to go.

 The yellow marker is 25.8 miles before it all goes wrong. The earlier spikes are water stops or bottlenecks.

You can see from the graphs where I got to (25.8 miles with just over 10 minutes to get a sub-four marathon time) and then the pace crept up again and I was moving again, that was because the ambulance was driving me and a couple of other injured coureurs to the medical tent where I spent the next four hours or so.

I was looked after by the French Red Cross who were amazing and very professional operating out of tents that wouldn’t have been out of place in M*A*S*H. Except with fewer cocktails. They examined me, diagnosing in perfect English, put me on a drip and cooled me down with ice. All the while they asked me questions, which at first I couldn’t comprehensively answer, "What is the date?", "What month is it?". Later on they asked me "Who is the Prime Minister of Britain?" - "David Cameron", I begrudingly remembered and answered, then I knew I was better.

After a while a lovely member of staff lent me her phone to call the hotel and find Carter, Jack and Kira who had spent most of the afternoon on the phone, at missing persons’ and medical tents and generally doing an amazing job of looking for me. They had also mobilised a bilingual transnational team (thank you Jack’s mum) to check if I had been admitted to hospital as they had wrongly been informed. Cart ran backwards for miles of the course trying to find me and hitched a lift back when she couldn’t. I am indebted to all three of them, grateful for their tenacity and glad they didn’t just think I had gone straight to a bar without them. Eventually we met up, they had commandeered a taxi and we got back to the hotel for recuperation. 

So Paris is done, hopefully nobody that has donated feels like they haven’t got their money’s worth for the missing 0.4 miles of the the first marathon. If it makes you feel better I’ll try and run a bit of a longer route at London next weekend.

I am signing off for now to go relax and start carbo-loading again. I have no official time but by my estimations I would have got just under four hours, so I’m counting that.

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9 days until first marathon

I’m shaking off a cold and in the taper stage of training, feeling a mixture of excited and terrified. The taper looks, to the untrained eye, suspiciously like jogging a bit and eating vast quantities of food but it is still an important part of training. At this point boredom is the main issue so happily the longer days and some good weather have kept me chugging along. It is getting quite hard to run past pubs through, I’m still off the booze (which would explain me being a bit ill, natural protective gin layer not in place) and fancy little else after a run than a pint.

Fund-raising has come on wonderfully in the last week and I’m just £463 shy of my target to raise £2200 for the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. If you can spare a bit to help then please click here.

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£42 per mile. Halfway to my fundraising target.

Thank you to all those that have donated so far and helped me reach the £1000 mark! Just under half of the amount I’ve pledged to raise for the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability which equates to ~£42 for each mile that I will be running in the two marathons. Any sponsorship, from a couple of metres to a couple of miles is gratefully received.

Tomorrow is another big training day and I’ll be breaking the London bias of previous big runs a rambling run in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Full report tomorrow.

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£42 per mile. Halfway to my fundraising target.

Thank you to all those that have donated so far and helped me reach the £1000 mark! Just under half of the amount I’ve pledged to raise for the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability which equates to ~£42 for each mile that I will be running in the two marathons. Any sponsorship, from a couple of metres to a couple of miles is gratefully received.

Tomorrow is another big training day and I’ll be breaking the London bias of previous big runs a rambling run in the Buckinghamshire countryside. Full report tomorrow.