Category Archives: A-Z marathon challenge.

Updates to my A-Z Marathon challenge.

S was for Shakespeare marathon.

Nothing like a short break with a marathon, with that in mind Carol and I travelled down to Stratford on the Thursday before the marathon with a full social calendar and the marathon booked in.

Carol was raised in the area and we spent time visiting old friends and old haunts, quite a full social calendar but luckily not a lot of time on my feet.  We saw two shows at the RSC and also caught the bards birthday parade.


We spent time on Saturday finding the start, going along some of the route and looking at any likely places Carol could see me during the race.  The start was about 100m from the door of the hotel a brilliant choice!

Raceday forecast was almost perfect for marathon running with the exception of some wind about 2 hours after the start, a headwind obviously!

The race was started by the mayor with a perfunctory ready go!  A few paniced runners were still setting garmins and phones up but we were off!  After the initial crush and dodging through crowds I settled into a nice comfortable pace and resolved to take in the views and enjoy the run.  A half was also being run and the races split at about the 11 mile mark with the full doing an extended second lap.  A crazy lady ran alongside me for a short while at the 12 mile mark.  It really is good having someone there!

The field thinned considerably after the races split and gaps began to appear.  With only 500ft of climb during the whole race a hill at 8 and repeated at 19 miles relieved the boredom slightly and meant you had to give out a fair bit of effort to keep your position.  The course was mainly on flat country roads which were not closed nor busy.  The greenway was also used towards the end of the first lap and extended slightly for the second lap.  This is a flat e railway path now used by walkers, bike riders and horses.

Overall a good race.  Well marshalled with water stops approx. every 3 miles and enough spectators with the odd jelly baby or orange to keep you fed if you did not have your own supplies.

My final time was 4:11:35 320th from 579.  Categories were by 10 yrs so I was in the O55 rather than O60 cat.




April…..I Know!!!

April!  Where has all the time gone.  Just twenty days till I leave on my Stratford road trip with Carol and 23 days till my S marathon.

Training has been going well and there has been no injuries or illnesses.

I have been attending yoga classes when possible and getting massages when I feel the need.  Both things I would never have thought of doing even 15 years ago another major change is the duration and frequency of my long runs.  My long run is now never above three hours and is done every 2 weeks.

I have now found an A to Z marathon FB page Globalmarathonchallenges fits the bill.  I have just joined so yet to see how helpful it will be but hopes are high.

Road trip daily blog to follow!!

The race that didn’t happen.

Before a marathon I always try and get some races in anything up to a half marathon.

Last year I entered the Alloa half which was postponed due to the weather.  This year I thought I would go further afield and make a weekend of it.

I entered the Inverness Half marathon.  I had not done the half before although I had done the Loch Ness marathon a few times.

Fife had been positively basking in unseasonable fine weather so it was no surprise when the weather turned in March.

The race starts at 12:30 and I had decided to drive up on the morning of the race do the race and then, after some lunch, drive back.  The weather forecast though was getting grimmer and grimmer as the week wore on.

With snow forecast I left Kirkcaldy on Sunday morning and headed to Perth and the A9.  The road was clear and the weather better than expected until north of Perth and then the snow started and the temp dropped to below freezing.  I decided to press on.

With flakes getting bigger and my speed dropping I finally decided to call it a day and turned around and headed home.  Not a happy bunny.  As they say the best laid plans!!.

A-Z 2019 plans

How is 2019 shaping up?

I finished 2018 with my R marathon which was my third for the year.  2019 looks like following the same pattern.

S April Shakespeare marathon Stratford.

T Two tunnel marathon Bath August and

U Usual Suspects Dover I December.

All three are enter it just remains to do them.  Training for S has started and going well so far.  I won’t do a weekly countdown this time but will publish posts at any noticeable milestones.

A-Z R marathon.

Having travelled to France and Canada for my P and Q marathon R was much closer to home.

Made famous by a certain Mr Pursey and the boys of Sham 69 I alighted at Hersham station.20181117_152610

My R marathon was organised by Phoenix Running and ran along the River Thames from Walton on Thames to Hampton Court Palace hence the name Riverside Marathon.

No runners expo or pacers here, this is a local marathon with a limit of 150 entrants.  I have never seen as many 100 marathon club vests at a single event.  Indeed two runners were presented with their 100 marathon vest when they crossed the line.

Registration was at the Excel sports centre at 0800, a briefing by Rik Vercoe at 0845 was followed by a walk to the start for the off at at 0900.20181118_084608

The start of the race was at Sunbury Lock you then followed the path for approx. 3.5 miles to Molesey Lock.


At Molesey there was a turnaround cone, toilets and a feed station stocking water, juice, jelly babies, sherbet flying saucers and a host of other goodies.  You then headed back to Sunbury 100 yards or so past the start you turned around and headed back to Molesey.  The feed station here was packed with even more goodies!!  You did this a total of 3 times and on the fourth you never went as far as the turnaround point.20181118_133129

The path was in great condition and was a mix of packed dirt and tarmac.  It was not closed for the marathon and was quite busy with other runners, walkers and cyclists everyone respecting each others space!

This was a well organised race and after looking at their up and coming events I found they have an X marathon which will fit in nicely with the rest of my plans!IMG_20181118_145923_531Official time 4:15:17



The SSQ Marathon Québec

What a great marathon. A qualifier for Boston I expected it to be a lot busier but with approx 1200 in the marathon it was ideal.

But I rush ahead of myself. We arrived in the city on a wet, cold and windy Thursday evening. Although the hotel was about a mile away we decided to get a taxi to it. We were in Quebec’s oldest hotel the Claremont. Right in the centre of the Old Town and ideally situated for the marathon expo, start and finish.DSCF2422

We went to the expo on Friday. I registered, collected my goodie bag and we had a stroll around the vendors. We left the expo and located the start and finish areas then headed back to the hotel thinking that everything was done until Sunday.DSCF2430

The weather was looking decidedly cold for the race so on Saturday we headed back to the expo and I bought a pair of fleece lined tights. A rather opportune purchase as it turned out.

Sunday morning dawned dull and 3 Deg. I rose had some food and headed to the start which was at a small park near a main boulevard. This year’s route was totally within the city 42.2 km through the 10 main districts.  The surface was mainly road or pavement with some cobbles and parkland.  I elected for road shoes and made my way to the start.


The race started 0800 I arrived at about 0730 and joined other runners milling around at the start in a small park in the Saint-Jean area of the city.  Although Quebec prides itself in its bilingual culture I could not hear any announcements in English, they were all in French.  I might be wrong and just didn’t hear them as my teeth were chattering so much.  The runners made their way to the start line for a further 10 minutes milling around with much arm swinging and running on the spot to try and keep warm.  Many runners were as well wrapped up as I was although there was a few hardy souls in shorts!

The traditional countdown started and we all began to shuffle forward under the start.  I found myself next to the four hour pacer and although quicker than I wanted I decided to stick with him and try to get some heat into my body.

The first 5K was all downhill and the route flattened out as it ran along by the Saint Charles river.  DSCF2498

We ran through the Saint Roch and Saint Sauveur a mix of residential and business premises.  The half marathon route split from the marathon route  between the 4 and 5 k mrk and rejoined us at 17k.  We continued along footpaths by the side of the river crossing the river just short of the 10k mark.

The pace had warmed me up and I could now feel my toes.  I decided to stay with the 4 hour pacer as I was feeling comfortable and he was using a walk run strategy!  We left the river and picked up some weary half marathon runners at the 17k mark.  We headed down the ramp and into the Pont tunnel Joseph Samson.  A major artery which had been closed so the race could use it.DSCF2501

The route now took us out along by the river and then along a parallel street and uphill into the Old Town as the route neared the hotel I was accompanied for a few hundred metres by Carol quite a surprise as I only expected to see her at the finish.

We continued east through the Plains of Abraham and out into a fairly resedential area known as Sillery and at about 36k started on a 6k dash to the finish area.  As I came down the mat I could see my time was just over 4:30 afterwards my official time was given as 4:30:47.  I was quite pleased with that and I had finally heated up!DSCF2512

Carol was waiting for me at the finish and unlike larger city marathons like Berlin and Paris she found me easily and could accompany me around to the finish area.  At the finish area after you had collected your medal bananas, water and pastries were available and McDonalds were providing free coffee.

Time 4:30:47 elev 913 feet.  A great marathon and one I would recommend.

Dotted around the course were a number of bands everything from bongo drummers to rock and rollers.DSCF2505


Quebec training week 19.

As I write this I have under a week to go until I toe the line for my Q marathon.

Week 19 training went as much as I expected except for the lack of yoga due to my shoulder problem.  An easy week was planned and that was what I had.

This close to a race I always get paranoid about my general health.  I wrap up well, stay away from long off road runs and limit time on the bike.

Running stats 14 miles run with 700 feet of climbing.

Biked 46 miles with 2600 feet of climbing.

Those of you following this blog for Quebec will notice that my training is not of the high mileage type.  This is mainly for two reasons:

1. To limit injury and overuse from runs longer than 2 hours.

2. With over 70 marathons and ultras to my credit I feel that intensity is the key.