New York Marathon – 14 weeks to go.

When my elder son turned 10, we decided to run 10k together.  We did 11k on his 11th birthday.  He then asked me if I would do the same, to do 40k on my 40th birthday: i conveniently forgot about this tradition, and I think we went mountain biking instead.  But at age 42 it suddenly struck me that perhaps I should do a the 42k after all, and entered Manchester marathon, the race being only 10 days after my birthday (which accounts for the extra 0.2k).

It was pretty brutal, to be honest.  The last 10k were really really tough – folks do say the marathon starts at 20 miles, and they’re right.  I slowed a lot in that last 6 miles, losing about 30 seconds per km on my pace for the first 32k.  I crossed the line in 3hrs 08mins, and change.  A woman finished alongside me and immediately collapsed; I stopped, mainly to avoid running over her, and cramped up – my finish line photos are more akin to Carry-on-Marathon, not pretty.

I run a bit.  I cycle a bit.  I swim a bit.  I try to keep fit, and stay injury free.  I thought the marathon was going to be tough, but doable – the Manchester event really made me realise how tough the distance really is.  That last 10k.  I was being swallowed up by a sea of runners, half going backwards like me, and half finding their second, third, even fourth winds.  Every one of us was hurting, and everyone of us knew it!  So perhaps I should call it a day at one marathon – been there, done that.  But there’s something odd that happens in the days after finishing. How long should I leave things before I run again?  Train again? Race again? Do another marathon….

The time of 3:08 was quick enough to qualify as quick for age for Boston and London marathons.  But a week after the race, London moved the goalposts, and my time is now not quick enough, by 3 minutes.  I was frustrated, along with a lot of other guys in their 40s!  After whinging about this to a couple fo people, the ARCHIE office in Tayside contacted me to ask if I would consider taking on a place at the New York Marathon, in November.  The qualification time for New York for my age group is 2:58, so a place for ARCHIE is an amazing opportunity; I jumped at it.

So for the last 8 weeks or so, I’ve been trying to keep my powder dry.  Marathon training plans are long, and arduous, so best not to launch into things too early.  A 20 week training plan would break me.  But a 10 week plan is probably to little.  So I entered a few races, eased off the distance in my training plan, and did a few races….


Strathkinness to Blebocraigs Race 7 and a bit km – 29:39

San Diego Bay Bridge Run, 4 miles – 2nd Vet 25:20

Monifeith High School 10k – had a bit of a shocker in the heat (of all things), 8th place overall, 2nd Vet 40:16

Beveridge park 5k, Kirkcaldy – 19:13, a silver standard!

Hill of Tarvit – 3.5 miles of uphill, and down dale.  Photos not pretty.

Templeton Trail Race – 6 miles of trails. 14th overall, 6th Vet. 37:28

Errol 10k – more like 10.5k.  2nd overall, 1st vet.  42:26

Brig Bash 5 miler – aiming for 32:00 for the silver standard, ended up with 32:01.  Gutted.  But there’ll be more races….

After all that there was the issue of a summer holiday.  Family trip to Provençe, so I obviously couldn’t miss the opportunity to climb the Giant – Mont Ventoux.  21k, 1600m of climbing, finishing at 1909m, 37 degrees at the start: one bike, two water bottles, and a stopwatch.  That is one tough climb.  1hr 48 to get up the official timed section, and 22 minutes to get back down!  It’s not marathon training, but it must count in some way, right?


Now it’s back to marathon training in earnest.  This week the plan has been easy runs, some cross training on the bike, and pickup pyramids.  There’s a tempo parkrun followed by a steady 10k on Saturday, and then a bike ride on Sunday for ‘recovery’.

The marathon is tough for everyone who does it – those folk at the front of the race, under 2:20?  Phenomenal.  Those folks who take over 4 hours?  Incredible endurance and commitment to get it done.  My aim here is to raise money for ARCHIE in Tayside, and to do that I have to challenge myself to do as well as I can – the target is to get under 3 hours.  I have 14 weeks of training to get back into marathon shape – I put on 2 kg of Peanut M&Ms while in France, so that needs to come off first!  Time on the road, time in the gym, time on the bike, time recovering – I’ll give it maximum effort to make the target, and hopefully people will pop a donation into my JustGiving page to support ARCHIE in Tayside.

More updates as they happen!  You can find all New York Marathon updates on the ARCHIE website by following the New York Marathon tag.