Recently, I bit the bullet and finally caved to the allure of GPS technology. Maybe it was the 3rd or 4th time being utterly lost during endurance events, maybe it was seeing how easy it was for those runners with these ‘magic watches’ that told them which direction to head in every time the signs were not clear, or perhaps it was just the childlike craving for anything ‘James Bond’ and gadget like…
Like many others my age, I am a man fast approaching 30 years old! I’ve done the maths and checked it twice; that’s definitely right. Next summer I will have been alive on this planet for 3 whole decades…
Now I’m not one of those people that is ‘overly’ concerned with age; it’s just a number really. To illustrate how little my age concerns me: Here is a frankly terrifying image of me from 2007, followed by a photograph from the finish line of a 40 mile ultra-marathon last month.
These are both me, surprisingly. But one is old and over the hill…
An unexpected 35 mile scenic trail route, running from Kidsgrove up to Disley; and my second ever ultra-marathon.
Summit of the Bosley Cloud.
This is an existing trail called the ‘Gritstone Trail’ surprisingly enough; available for anyone to do any time (lots of people will walk it over 2 or 3 days) and I highly recommend it, as it really shows off the area in picturesque fashion.
I call it “unexpected”, as you run through and over villages and towns not renowned for their scenic qualities. The key word here is “over”; there are a LOT of hills and the views are spectacular on a clear day. Areas like Mow Cop castle, the Bosley Cloud, Teggs Nose and White Nancy being the notable high up bits.
When I was still in school, I never really got into running; it just didn’t interest me. I formed this opinion due to school running consisting mostly of short distance races, and I had discovered from my other sports, that I was not really much a sprinter.
As I’ve got older, it has become abundantly clear that I have much more prominent slow twitch fibres than fast twitch in my muscles. The difference being that in my older years, I now realise that just because you are not good at something, is not necessarily reason to avoid it altogether.
Two years ago, I decided that I needed to run a marathon as something to tick off my life-list. It was great; the instant respect you get from people; the sense of accomplishment; the feeling of ‘belonging’ in the runner’s community. I knew right there and then that I needed to do more of this.
The problem is that even as you get better at them, faster and stronger; that feeling of accomplishment is not quite the same. I’m not saying they get easier… Actually, yeah I am. I’m saying they get easy; completing a marathon has become so routine and normal, it has become almost mundane.
It’s the morning of the day before my first official ‘ultra’ marathon. I’ve chosen ‘Run to the Castle’, as it promises to be a very scenic route up the Welsh coast, to Harlech Castle; a nice, cool 40 miles. Also it will count towards the prestigious ‘100 marathon Club’, which I would love to attain quickly.
Around 6 months ago, I went to a yoga class. Now, as a man (and I am a man; I had is confirmed by a medical professional), there is a certain stigma attached to doing yoga. I wasn’t expecting too much; a few breathing exercises; maybe get stretched out a bit? I certainly wasn’t expecting a workout from this non-holistic activity.
Two years ago, I ran my first ever marathon. It’s a great feeling! The accomplishment and raising money for charity; it’s a bit more-ish.
The RMCH is a particularly pertinent charity to me, going back years and years from when my younger brothers and sister where kids. So when I decided to do some running for them, it didn’t seem quite enough to just do another marathon. After a long think and several strokey-beard meetings considering the notion- “What would be twice as tough as a marathon?” I thought …….. “2 marathons. Genius.” It’s often the simplest ideas that are the best.
This is a preview of Double Marathon Weekend for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital. Read the full post