On the 21st November 2021 I took part in the Autumn Marathon, which is the 3rd installment of the Firebird Series. This is the first time I have signed up for the 4 part Series with Phoenix Running, but it will be worth it. Unlike all the other medals in the Phoenix events library, this medal is rather plain. However, when I complete the Series at the Winter Marathon, I will get the Firebird medal, and I can’t wait. To put things in perspective, today’s medal is on the larger side of a normal big city Marathon, and it hangs off the Firebird. If you want to see a recap of the other parts of the series, have a look at the Spring Marathon HERE, and Summer Marathon HERE.
Today was a special marathon for me. Not only was it the 95th marathon towards the 100 marathon club, it is my first marathon since joining as an associate member, and first marathon since setting the date of my 100th Marathon. I have been thinking about what I should do for my 100th Marathon. I have considered some big marathons, which could be special. But the reality is, I like running with people, and during a big marathon you can get lost within the sheer size of it. I therefore thought it would be more special to run in a smaller setting, where there is the opportunity for people to run together, and make it a special social meet. Today was my 35th marathon with Phoenix Running events, I love that we pass each other on the lapped course, so it doesn’t matter how fast you are. Also, you can do 1 lap of 3.28 miles, or as many as you like in 7 hours, so it’s very inclusive. You get the same medal no matter how many laps you do, but I always do 8 laps, which is an official marathon.
Rik has kindly turned my #funbusmarathon charity medal into a thing of beauty. It has been “phoenixed”… it will be 15cm high, and 12 cm wide, and my 100th marathon will be the #funbus marathon. An official event, and an official finishers medal, where you can all come and join me for the celebration. I will be bringing cake, and it starts and finishes outside a pub… perfect for post marathon celebrations. And if you don’t fancy a marathon you can run as far as you want, then chill out, socialise, have a drink. So grab your friends and come and join me if you can on 19th February 2022 to run and help me celebrate my 100th Marathon. Places are limited so if you want to join don’t leave it too late.
These runs always used to be mass start, but since covid they introduced a turn up and run option, recording individual start times. I turned up after the event had been going for about 45 minutes, it is nice and easy, and relaxed at the start. I went to the toilet in the leisure centre, dropped my bag by the aid station, and off I went.
There were lots of familiar faces out on the tow path. 8 laps, up and down, with a tuck shop at the aid station / turn point. I had a cup of lemon squash that was topped up for me every time I did a lap, and I took a large fizzy cola bottle each lap. David Heal was running his 100th Marathon today and had an awesome cake waiting for us at the finish. Rhinoboy Chris had his Rhino costume on crashed along the Thames Path, and there were lots of smiles as I passed people again and again.
I’m always a fan of the tuck shop setup. I never really take much, but the option is there for whatever you need. Water, squash, coke with your own numbered cup holder. A variety of sweets, crisps, chocolate and pretzels. The bell is available to ring when you finish, and you see your medals on display so you know what you are working towards.
I had a good steady run. My unofficial time is 3:33:26, and it won’t be far off that. I was aiming between 3:30 and 4 hours, so I’m right at the faster end of my target. This also included a necessary toilet stop after about 19 miles which cost me a few minutes. I started off looking like I would be closer to 3:20, but after my toilet stop it was harder to keep that pace. I always use these races as my long training runs, so I was happy to pull back a little and knew I was on for around 3:30, so very happy with this.
Warning, always be careful who you ask to take a finish line picture for you… you may end up with a selfie… to be honest, I’m guilty of this in the past.
But a nice photo to finish a lovely morning of running. It was on the colder side. It didn’t bother me on the run, but took me a while to warm up afterwards. Next time I think I might wear a long sleeve and a beanie.
Have you been running this weekend? How did you get on?