On 1 April 2023, I began my journey of 10 Marathons in 10 Days. No, this isn’t an April Fool. The only fools are those of us who signed up for this challenge. I am always looking for adventures and challenging myself, but to be honest, the thing that motivates me to do this is raising money for cancer research. As an established runner, it gets increasingly difficult to fundraise, so I think of different challenges to encourage donations. For 2022, I have decided to run 26 marathons in 52 weeks, which is 1 marathon every 2 weeks, for a whole year. That’s tough enough. But as the weeks and months went by, it became apparent that I needed to do something different to achieve this challenge. Yes, there are some months I can fit in 4 marathons. But that’s a couple of times a year. Outside of that, I can not fit in a marathon every other week. It’s not ability. It’s time and other commitments with my family. So that is where this challenge comes in. I have already done 5 marathons this year, but that is short, and I know the summer will be quiet. 10 marathons in 10 days will get me ahead of schedule and add another intense challenge by itself.
The 10 in 10 series or TiT for short is organised by Phoenix Running events, and today’s theme was Fortitude. Courage in Pain. This was very fitting for today, as it felt far harder than it should for my first marathon.
Things started so well. I wanted to set off at a 4 hour pace and keep nice and steady. This is nice and easy pacing, with 8 laps, 30 minutes each. I allow a little bit of time to get a drink and sweets at every lap aid station, which will add a minute to each lap.
I can get a bit carried away like a kid in a candy shop. The thing I love about these events is the people. Let’s be clear, 8 laps up and down a tow path, 16 times over the same bridge, can become a little monotonous. Also, the weather over the last few weeks has left the path muddy and full of puddles. But none of that matters when you are running with lots of like-minded people. There was such a variety of people there. People are coming for 1 day, some coming for the full 10 (or 12) days in a row. There are super fast runners coming in sub 3, and others that walk the whole way, and everything in between. Many do the marathon, but also many come and do a half marathon. There are those who go on to do an ultra marathon, and some who do 1 or 2 laps. There is so much flexibility, and this creates a lovely vibe with a good mix of people pacing each other on the path.
I slowed at times for some photos and to run and chat with others. But I’m not going to blame my time on this. I did really well keeping the consistent pace until lap 7 of 8. I had done 7 laps in 3:30, which was perfect. But I knew it was feeling tougher, it didn’t help that I really needed the toilet. I considered digging deep and holding on. I was also putting pressure on myself to achieve consistent 3:59:45 times for all events. But that just wasn’t going to happen, and if I pushed for that final 3.5 miles, I think that would have had a huge impact on the rest of the week. I am simply not in the shape I was a few years ago. Life and priorities change. I’m enjoying running, and I know in race conditions I can go and pace a sub 4 comfortably. But I don’t have the strength right now to put the pressure on myself for each lap, and I don’t want to risk all the other plans I have coming up very soon.
A marathon is tough. It doesn’t matter how many you do. It’s hard. 10 marathons in 10 days is going to be so hard, but then I have Boston Marathon and London Marathon this month as well. So that lap really just was not important.
You know what it’s like. When you let your mind win, and you slow down, it isn’t just a little slower. It’s like a crash. The last 3 miles were painful because I slowed and just couldn’t pick up the pace at the end, but then again, I didn’t really care. That extra 16 minutes on the final lap will hopefully make a difference to tomorrow and the next day…
After a long walk to the train station, my focus when I get home will be to recover. Hot bath, massage my legs with my Pulseroll minigun and then put my CEP compression tights on. I know it’s not the most glamorous Saturday night, but that’s how I roll.
Thank you for those supporting my challenge and if you can donate or share my fundraising page I would appreciate it. Also, thank you to all of you on the path today, you all did great and it was so good to see you all.
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