After 2004's double Marathon and the disappointment of not having broken the sub four hour mark, I decided to pursue my efforts elsewhere, and signed up for the Stockholm Marathon, held in early June. I didn't run for Charity as the sole purpose was to beat four hours - a challenge to myself.
Seven of us travelled to Stockholm for a great long weekend trip. The Marathon was on the Saturday at the unusual time of 2pm! (every other race I've run has been a morning start) The weather was cool, but I wasn't so calm as I'd suffered an injury beforehand and had physio up to the day we left!
The race itself actually went ok - although I didn't see my support group on the first lap (the route goes around the city twice!).
Tim Celine Paul Pete Lucas Lowenna Sandra
They thought I may have dropped out with the injury!! This was also despite them have a full size union jack and me sporting a pair of, now infamous, union jack shorts! Thankfully I hadn't and we spotted each other on lap two, as I approached 18 or so miles. The cheer was a needed boast and was a relief as it meant their journey hadn't been wasted either!
Running past the support group near mile 18
Despite struggling a bit with pace in the last five miles, I maintained sufficient energy to get me to the finish in less than four hours. This was boasted as I spotted the travelling supporter band as I approached the Olympic Stadium, where we finished - not part of the original spectator plan! - so helped a lot!
I was delighted to break four hours and finish in 3:57:41 - my sole purpose for the trip had been achieved and it mean the rest of the weekend was bonus (apart from my niece's stolen passport - although we got an extra day out if it!)
A lot more cheerful that the end is round the corner - shame the bloke to my left thinks its
A mere four weeks after the Stockholm trip, I had the most bizarre weekend, or even week, going! NCH - the Children's Charity had asked me to run the British 10K, held in London on 3 July. This was my official "charity" run - though I used the Stockholm Marathon and Great North Run as extra leverage for funds!
The Friday of the weekend I drove to Edinburgh though! This was to take part in the Make Poverty History marches as part of the demonstrations just before the G8 Summit in Gleneagles. Having taken part in the march and activities, I left Edinburgh at 5pm on the Saturday and drove down to London - arriving at midnight, just in time to see the finale of the Live8 concert , the rest of which I'd listened to on the radio.
On the Sunday, 3 July, I managed to get up early enough to be at the start for the British 10K at Hyde Park Corner, London. My partner was my sole "official supporter", managing to fail to get any pictures on the way round, despite overtaking me at one point to try and get one - but the batteries had died! However, I had a good run and finished in 46:41 (I think!!)
This frantic weekend was followed by the unforgettable events in London the following Wednesday, when we celebrated the announcement that London would host the Olympics games of 2012 and then the fateful bombs of 7 July. The 2006 British 10k, of which I will be a runner, will particularly hold that day in mind.
Only photographic evidence of the event! - before I'd even started!
I didn't take part (obviously as I'm not female), but I did persuade my then housemate, Liz, to! Liz is not a runner, so this was a huge challenge for her. And, to be fair to Liz, she did train and, on the day, ran as much as she could.
Above - Liz starts the Race for Life
Right - A well earnt medal after 37 minutes for 5K in 27celcius temperatures!
It was an exceptionally hot day, in fact not conditions I’d happily run in, and Liz finished in around 37 minutes. Liz’s Mum joined my cousin and I in cheering her on – and well done to Liz for a great effort! (Liz got her own back by my visit to the swimming pool, where Liz realised how bad a swimmer I really was then!)
The 2005 season concluded with my first appearance in the Great North Run - a race with 50,000 others - the Biggest half Marathon in the world! I was, thankfully, within the first 6,000 starters and over the line within 3 minutes over the starting line. As ever, a band of supporters followed - Pete, Liz and Jag
The run itself went ok. It was a very warm day with the route having little shade. (hence the shades in the pics!). The three wise supporters were positioned near the Gateshead stadium, as agreed - and even got a good picture of me on the approach!
At the start - where there's an hour long wait!
Passing the loyal supporter group
Alas, due to my speed (or more due to the crowds!) I beat the support group to the finish line! I finished in 1:41:37. I had hoped to beat 1:40, although my starting position implied I had estimated a finish of under 1:35!! I had maintained an excellent pace up to mile nine, but the gradual climb to mile 12 took its toll on me. The added extra was I did an excellent last mile anticipating the support team any moment! There non arrival meant I forced myself to maintain a fast pace to the line!
The event concluded the following morning, when a local radio station interviewed me and asked my opinion on the unfortunate death of four, eventually five, runners. I was somewhat thrown as had never anticipated a need to be medically knowledgeable as a runner!
What 2006 was to bring was never quite anticipated!
Huge thanks for the support in 2005.
NCH - The Children's Charity - now Action for Children - benefited to the tune of over £1100.
Media Coverage 2005
,Cotswold Journal - 23rd June 2005
I was also interviewed by BBC Radio Gloucestershire