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!
Date: Sunday 4th October 2020
My route was carefully planned in the build up to the 26.2 miles mainly to ensure that it was going to be the full distance without any changes and having to run any part over and over again. Hence why I decided to start in Newcastle and make my way back to South Shields. Taking in part of the Great North Run route but then a detour into Sunderland to ensure the distance was easily achieved.
On the day the weather was totally perfect and in all honesty in terms of inclines part of the route were rather brutal. Although something different to a race day on a course you have never experienced before at least I knew which parts were the toughest and could build up the mental strength when reaching those parts. Especially when a lovely part in Whitburn I found the toughest and this fell on mile 23, you know just perfect planning!
Everything went even better than I could have imagined, had plenty of Science in Sport energy gels and took them every 4 miles. I didn’t actually have a drink of water until just past the 20 mile mark, which may seem a little bit crazy but I think it also shows just how water based the SIS gels are which is a reason I personally find them the best. You don’t need to have a gallon of water to go with them and they aren’t thick at all. I made sure to keep it interesting though and had all different flavours with me even though the Fruit Salad ones are my ultimate favourite, yes they do taste like the sweets!
I only had one small wobble which had the potential to move into a full on meltdown with 3 miles left to run my right calf felt a little bit tight and I almost cried. I am just blaming the fact that running a marathon also effects your emotions for that! Especially convincing myself that it was just silly and I was nearly finished.
The magic shoes work right? I don’t really want to get into that but they do give you extra bounce, will be interesting to see how the Alphafly’s compare when I wear them a few times as well.
Running a marathon alone is not really something I had ever planned on doing in all honesty, I have taken part in three of the World Marathon Majors now and they are truly spectacular and amazing events. I have been lucky enough to run London three times (2016, 2018 and 2019) then twice in US with New York City and Chicago which are on another level for crowds American’s really know how to support and encourage people to keep going! So having a mile to go and being down the seafront in South Shields with no one caring at all that I had almost finished a marathon was quite sad. I mean I wore my number hoping people might realise haha.
Over the lockdown and furlough period I did so much running, this actually ended up falling on day 199 of my run streak. Which ended as well, because physically I could not get in 5k on the Monday. Sore knees were the first aftermath of the marathon. But I actually found it rather amusing that my accidental run streak ended so close to 200 days of running in a row. Considering it was more of a lockdown thing to ensure I got outside each day rather than maintaining the streak, managing to continue it for so long after going back to work was pretty impressive as well.
Roll on 2020 for hopefully Berlin (September) and Tokyo (October) if things improve of course. Hard to think of anything actually happening again, but if I can keep pushing forward and training the sub 4 hour goal should become a reality.
4 hours and 4 minutes . . . Even thinking about this still now makes me so very happy and buzzing with the progress I have made in a year. As you can see above I was pretty constant with the pacing as well. Some of the quicker miles just felt comfortable and I tried not to check my watch all of the time.
So thank you London Marathon for still putting the event on and creating some fantastic atmosphere online on different social media platforms. It was a very lovely day to run around the north east. Newcastle – Gateshead – Hebburn/Jarrow – South Shields – Sunderland – South Shields!
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