Category Archives: the marathon journey

60. Dual marathon decline

river-wey-guildford-paul-hetherington.jpgI’m hardly running at the moment, having more or less completely exhausted myself by running two marathons in quick succession.

It was a controlled risk, not without benefit and certainly not without consequences.
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57. Blackpool Marathon: Welcome to the Pleasuredome

I know it’s out of fashion and a trifle uncool
But I can’t help it, I’m a romantic fool
It’s a habit of mine to watch the sun go down
On Echo Beach, I watch the sun go down.
Martha and the Muffins – February 1980


It’s a cold and blustery June evening, beside a deserted beach somewhere in Northern England. Far out to the west, the sun is setting beyond the receding tides, as the Irish Sea is whipping itself up into a swift herd of white horses. The weather doesn’t look that good for tomorrow, but it’ll be far too late to worry then. For when I see this spot again in the morning, it’ll be at the 23 mile mark of the Blackpool Marathon.
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53. Still crazy

london-spring.jpgHi Rick
Congratulations on your run. Two minutes off a 5 km is impressive. It’s a gruesome distance to run, so you might as well get it over with.

So, London just wasn’t my day.

All those months of preparation and careful tapering blown out of the water by a dodgy stomach. Cold weather, nerves, grapefruit squash in the morning, a bug from one of the kids. I never was quite sure.
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52. The Edge – from Sicily to Surrey

We arrived back on Sunday, to find Guildford lying in a warm green haze. The moment had arrived, and I knew it was time for those first three miles. A very gentle loop, following my favourite route along the River Wey from the bottom of my road. The sun was going down, and there were cool patches in the warm air. The path was dry, and the river still. Summer running. Definitely a different season from last weekend in London.

greek-theatre-and-mount-etna-taormina-sicily.jpgI wasn’t worried about the time, yet the miles came up in 8:52, 9:09, 9:06. Almost metronome-like.

It was a good five days of recovery in Sicily, eating pasta, going to Syracuse and Etna, and resting tired legs on Taormina’s beach.
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50. Meteorological meltdown

london-tower-bridge.jpgClothing is now causing me obsessive concern following a deterioration in the forecast.

All week it’s been showing Sunday as 14 C, sunshine and light southerly wind (perfect).

Now suddenly it shows 11 C, rain and wind.

Meltdown scenario.
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49. Ready to run

london-marathon-2001-jamaica-road.jpgI’m just four days away from the London Marathon.

Four months of training have somehow shrunk to four days and a single two mile jog.

If I can think of little else but the race on 18th April, it seems a good time to take my mind off the road ahead, and to look back on the journey that has brought me here.

It’s a journey that started on The Embankment one chilly night in early December, as I left a party at the Globe Theatre on the South Bank. I walked across the floodlit Millennium Bridge to admire the view.

That reflective walk brought me eventually onto the London Marathon course, as I walked, dreamed and finally had to run to catch my train from Waterloo station.

A whole winter and a passage into spring have gone by since then, and I’ve experienced it all. The highlights and lowlights of just one season in one lifetime.
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