Monthly Archives: September 2016

How not to run your first marathon

As mentioned in a previous post I ran my first marathon by accident… In fact I also ran my first half marathon by accident too. I have to credit Travis Wilcox and his wonderful Saxon-Shore events for both achievements.

Early in 2016 I read a Twitter post from Dr Juliet McGrattan who was looking for people to answer questions about running and coeliac disease for a book she was writing about the benefits of exercise. I offered to help, wrote a piece about being a post-menopausal coeliac runner and thought no more about it. About 6 weeks later I had an email from her enquiring whether I’d be willing to answer some questions for a piece a friend of hers was writing for a magazine. I agreed and she put me in touch with the force of nature that is Lisa Jackson. If you haven’t read Lisa’s excellent book “Your Pace or Mine?” you’re in for a treat, it’s laugh out loud funny, moving and very honest.

What I wrote for Lisa was more or less my previous post. It was about my philosophy of running and included my ambition to run a marathon before I turned 60. It turned out that Lisa  and I had a lot in common when it came to running and we became ’email-friends.’ Then she invited me to come along to share her 100th marathon, blithely suggesting that I should do my 1st marathon while she did her 100th. It was about 6 weeks away so there was no time to ramp up the mileage beyond what I was doing for Whitestar Running’s Larmer Half in the middle of the 6 weeks. 
The event was one of Saxon-Shore’s timed challenges at Betteshanger Country Park, I’d run there twice before, the first time, aiming to to ‘a bit more than 10k’ I’d just kept going and done my first half marathon. The second time I’d done just 1 lap as I had a prolapsed disc and probably shouldn’t have run at all! 

Lisa had planned to take about 8 hours to complete her 100th marathon as she wanted it to be as much fun as possible (and she was doing the Brighton marathon the following day). I thought I’d just aim to do at least  a half and then keep going and see what happened. 

We all know the rules, don’t increase your mileage by more than 10% a week, don’t try new food on race day, don’t wear new kit to race in….. I broke them all and got away with it, mainly because I was going so slowly I think. Somewhere just after 8 hours and 30 mins and about 2 minutes behind Lisa I completed my first marathon.


Here I am, cold, tired and a bit shell-shocked by what I’ve just done!

Now I need to find out whether I can go a bit faster if I train properly for a marathon… Currently I’m training for the Basingstoke Half. It starts and finishes just 10 minutes from home so it seems daft not to run it. I did it for the first time last year and didn’t come last (quite) and hope to be a bit further from last this time. I’m also, along with many thousands of others, waiting to hear the outcome of the London Marathon ballot. Once I know I haven’t got a place, I need to decide where/when my first “real” marathon will be!