The Berlin Marathon is part of the prestigious Abbott World Marathon Major series which currently has six members, including Boston, Chicago, London, New York and Tokyo. You collect stars for each of these majors and when you complete all six you get the biggest and greatest medal of all time. Taking part in Berlin would see me pick up my 4th star after what feels like the longest wait ever since number three in Chicago 2019. Especially when I should have been on five at the end of 2020 (but that is a different story).
Anyway my road to Berlin was not straightforward at all, in 2020 I had a charity place secured with Alzheimer’s Society and this was rolled over to 2021 when the 2020 race was cancelled. Great, I can just do that no problem. Although there was Covid just didn’t seem to be slowing down with the fact that travel restrictions were not the biggest issue rather than the actual race taking place which was naturally a big worry. Do you book flights and hotels? Still obviously traumatised by the Tokyo experience. It was a tough one, anyway as it got closer the end of July I think I booked flights and a hotel. My flights got changed, mainly due to a smaller amount of flights being available, which became a blessing (maybe) because I could then get a full refund because the airline changed them! Then all UK charity places for the race were cancelled! Through a Facebook group someone posted a link to a competition to win places in the marathon through #RunForJoy so I entered it!
The controversy surrounding the Great North Run in 2021 had been massive when they announced the route would be changed and no longer finish in South Shields. It would be in Newcastle to Gateshead and then back to Newcastle to finish. Obviously living in South Shields and walking home from the finish line I wasn’t overly happy about this either, but I had already paid for my place and it was my 10th official event, not really counting the virtual event last year.
The decision to sign up for the Virtual London Marathon was a little bit of a late one. The reason I decided to sign up was to test my fitness levels and really see where I was in terms of the 26.2 mile distance. Considering two marathons had been cancelled this year. The price to take part in this was a very low £20 and that included a medal and t-shirt!
I love running and over the past 10.5 years have become truly obsessed with it, especially going for the World Marathon Majors and having that as the big ultimate goal. Obviously I was supposed to do the Tokyo Marathon back in February and that was the first to fall to the coronavirus with only six days before the race that it was cancelled to none elite runners (and three days before I was due to fly).
It’s been one week now since the announcement that the Tokyo Marathon 2020 would be cancelled for general runners, but the elite runners 200-300 of them could still take part due to the growing concern of the Coronavirus in Japan. This was the news that I was truly hoping would not happen but to make it even worse it was actually leaked and not released official by the Tokyo Marathon first, then it would take a further four days before they would even bother to send emails to runners. It has been announced that we will get the chance to defer to 2021.
Last year I fell back in love with the Great North Run and it made me realise I could push harder with my running. So from that I did the Run Everyday in January challenge, Manchester and London Marathon’s in April and then the Sunderland half marathon and Gateshead 10k. Two events that I have added to my yearly events list. So in the build up towards this years Great North Run I was feeling tired. That is the easiest way to sum up how I have been over the past two months. July and August were a struggle as my legs always felt heavy when I was out running. Something I was so gutted about as in June I was back down to running 8:30 minute miles over long distances.
Cristiano Ronaldo has completed his move from Real Madrid to Juventus at the age of 33. Showing that he has no plans of slowing down for the final stages of his playing career, signing a four year deal I very much think that means we will be seeing him in the next World Cup in 2022. That is a truly fantastic thought really, in his press conference he had a little dig at the players at this age who go to Qatar or China. So it is great to see this legendary player still actually wants to play at the very top level!
Mikel Merino has returned to Spain in a deal between £10-12m and signed a 5-year contract with Real Sociedad a club that is only 50 miles away from his hometown. Leaving Newcastle United after showing amazing promise in his first few games, but then looked to be left out more and more towards the end of the season. At 22 years old I am sure he will still progress a lot further in his career and wish him well for this move. A little bit of a shame having only spent one season on Tyneside.