At no point until day 1 did i ever question finishing 10 marathons in 10 days. As I sat in my room on day 1, only 1 question rang through my head: What am I doing here?
10 days later the answer was a lot deeper than I ever expected. 14 people can become ever so close in 10 days, a niggle is different to an injury and an injury is just that. And if you have the heart, passion and belief you can achieve absolutely anything.
My 10 in 10 journey seemed to have slapped me with bad luck on a daily basis, but it did not matter. I was there with the team and I knew as long as I made the start line, something would drag me around.
I have to congratulate Steve Edwards on achieving the World Record. As an example to discipline, dedication and focus, there probably is nobody better.
Michelle, the first lady to complete 10 marathons in 10 days became an inspiration to us all and got stronger and stronger as time went on.
Selina - Educated and calculated runner. To run through the pain and injuries she had was testament to the character of the person needed to complete this challenge.
Paul and Sue - Set off to become the first Husband and Wife team on the 10 in 10 challenge. Unfortunately a stress fracture after 6 marathons forced Sue to retire from the challenge. It was then that i really saw the bond between the two of them. Paul was devastated, Sue put on the bravest face and made a point of piling the rest of the pressure back onto Paul!! This too was so 10 in 10. Every setback was simply blasted with optimism, and for Sue to run 6 back to back and 1 on a stress fracture was simply incredible.
Ray - Marathon Ray o'Conner, apprentice to the special one and Celtic Brethren! The first Irish Man to run 10 marathons in 10 days and it could not have gone to a finer bloke! Laid back beyond horizontal, always laughing and joking in the pack, without him it would have been a different place. He also ran a PB on day 7 and if that does not scream tough guy then I am thin and tall!
Malcolm - The finest New Zealand, Canadian, scottish bloke I have ever met. I think i ran more with Malcolm than any other runner over the 10 days. Another very funny character that helped us all giggle our way through 10 days of serious agony. Malcolm is about to publish 2 books on long distance running, the psycology and what makes the 100 marathon guys tick. It will make a great read, but I am sure he could write 100 books on the experience he picked up over the 10 days.
George - Never have I spent 10 days with anyone and understood less than 10 words!! George is from Newcastle and everything is simply..... Champion! What a runner though. Steve made the biggest mistake by saying he was lonely up front every day!! Step forward George for a list of record times and serious hard running. Would get the award for the toughest runner in the pack.
Phil - What it would take to make this guy stop running is yet to be invented! Every hill Phil battered on a daily basis. Unfortunately his knee went around day 7, but still strapped and driven he ran strongly every day to post some of the quckest consistent times over the 10 days.
Jim 'Manic' Mundy - The Romantic runner, who simply skips his way around a marathon course with such ease it is kind of frightening! Jim scared a few of us on day 1 by collapsing over the line, going a strange blue colour and managing to keep the local paramedics busy! But day 2 there he was on the starting line once again, with that skip in his step and the air of not even knowing what he was going to do himself!
So when you meet a group of people like this, you will question what you are doing in their company. I certainly did, and always will wonder how and why. But I will always be grateful for having the opportunity to meet them, run with them, laugh with them and drink with them.
So first things first, apologies for the delay in updating the blog. Time runs into itself when you are here, and the day goes something like this:
6.30 wake, shower and breakfast 7.30 Intense physio with Magic Amy and John, followed by more intense strapping! 9.30 Start 2.15 ish back at brathay! 2.30 lunch 3.15 Ice legs in river or tubs 4pm Physio 6pm dinner 7pm drinks bottles and iceing 8pm bed!!
And it goes really quickly!! And i have always been pretty useless at admin!
So where are we? 7 marathons in 7 days completed, Steve is pretty set to break the world record time set last year and it seeems that some are getting stronger!!
Ray, sorry, "Marathon Ray o'Connor" ran an all time PB today with a 3hr 26min run around the Lake today! Followed closely by Steve and George around the 3.30 mark.
I on the other hand am currently blessing the gods of Windermere on a daily basis each and every time I cross that finish line! Day 4 I go Achiles tendonitis, and apart from being a great scrabble score, it generally does not help in any occassion especially running a further 6 marathons!
But Physio, ultra sound, strapping, ice and many many pain killers are getting me around at the moment. Weirdly faster than day 1!
This is an amazing experience for us all, but when you get an injury, doubt begins to creep into your mind. Its not the pain, but the chance of failure that really hurts, so every day I make the start line is really a blessing, although tonight I can feel the other achilles starting to niggle!! So its praying now I can get through tomorrow and into the weekend!
Sophie and the team are all up tomorrow, so I am breaking the runs down now. Friday run and see everyone, Saturday is the last time we all run together on our own; and Sunday, well that will be adrenalin, lot more pain killers and the chance to become the first Welsh person to cover this distance, be one of the first 15 to cover the distance in the world, but at the same time raise money for a great cause.
Here's to 15 hours of more pain and the hope that Sunday will see 10 runners cross that line safely, but most definately emotionally!
First things first, apologies for a lack of pics, but my darling wife has the camera and i had to get posting!!
So we arrived here in the Lakes on Wednesday and what a place!! The scenery is breathtaking and the people so welcoming! After settling in and a short walk around Ambleside on Thursday morning it was off to Brathay where I met up with every one and the formalities of the event began.
Our base at Brathay again has the most amazing views, but the arty fartyness was soon to come to an end when we climbed aboard the mini bus for a trip around the course. I have run Snowdon, and this personally is worse! So Brathay, well done, this was one of those real evil jokes that you simply have to salute!
That evening was spent with the nutrition team that were to supply drinks for the 10 days and also energy bars! So lets put this into perspective. Out of the 11 running there is comfortably over 1000 marathons of experience. When offered something completely new, we were all nodding like excited labradors!! And what is rule no 1 of Marathon running? Never try anything new on race day!
This proved to be my first mistake, as after picking up my first replacement drink bottle at 10 miles,it was undrinkable!! This resulted in 10 more miles in 80 degree heat with no liquid, which in turn resulted in a nightmare! Luckily Sophs and Mum came to the rescue with Lucozade and water and I managed to kick the last 6 miles home for a time of 4 hrs 47 mins and the 4th person home.
This time may seem slow and when you break it down it certainly is not quick. But 9 more marathons to go, continuous hills around what seems like every corner, this is going to be more than respectable.
Legs feel fine and new strategy to be adopted. the run, walk the hills approach!! This is no ordinary marathon track, and if we are to get around 10 it needs respect and some serious planning!! Ray, my celtic brethren from Ireland and the legendary organiser of the Connemara Marathon; ran yesterday with a the same strategy with some amazing results, so today i decided to team up with him and Malcolm. Malcolm is from New Zealand, lives in Canada but has Scottish routes, which makes the Celtic triangle complete! And he runs with food which is highly attractive to a welshman!
At mile 12 we had already planned a few beers on day 5, should we make it. For here you have three Celts that have now gone without Alcohol for 3 entire days!
Unbelievably it was hotter today and getting hotter tomorrow, but we cruised through the run, stopped for a cup of tea at 20 miles and I still finished a minute quicker than yesterday in 4 hrs 46 minutes!! So guess what the strategy will be tomorrow and the next day and yes you guessed it for the rest of the week!
When running with guys that run solidly for 24 hrs, have done the comrades, Run over 100 miles in one go, pushed over 80 marathons in a year, you listen and learn. And i am happy to say that today I found a style of running that may be the saving of this challenge. Because its a long way, a very long way.
So, one wakes up and can hardly walk. The tendons in my right ankle are really inflamed as a result of a treadmil session last night! This running lark cannot be good for you!
A little treatment today (Thank you!) under ultra sound has reduced the inflamation and hoping now that a couple of days rest will at least get me to that start line and then the adrenalin MUST take over!
So the updates. There are no baths at Brathay so the Ice Bath has been replaced with the Lake sit! Lake Windermere I am told is pretty cold; so straight after each run I will be heading for the big pond to ice that ankle down.
I am travelling up withy Sophie, the Children and my mum, who has kindly stepped into the responsible adult role! As we only have 26 days until the birth of our 4th child, back up is needed if I am not to end up in a courthouse splitting my possessions!
We are all meeting at 12pm at Brathay for an hours session before lunch with the nutrition team and then the afternoon is I am guessing a tour of the course, Physio consultancy, and pre run routinesnk this time, the glass of wine may have to be put on the back burner!
The first run is on Friday morning and if the weather stays like this it will be fantastic.
Reality is fast attacking the brain. Reality of 10 marathons back to back. Reality of the ankle and the distance. But I think it really is the unknown that is more unsettling. when we can get out there and do what we have been training to do over the past few months, than we can really focus on day 10. And I guess mentally that is what we are here to do, get through 9 and get to that start line on the last day. Then and only then can we really reflect and nail this challenge.
Thank you all for all your help, be it sponsorship, support, physio, kit, running partners or simply not laughing at me for doing this! Keep coming back as i will be updating the blog each and every day, maybe twice if i cannot find sky sports in windermere!
Sarn Terry specialises in professional services, software and high technology for Harvey Nash Executive Search. He and his team have always been really supportive of Charity work, especially when it means his brother in law (C'est Moi!) has to run an entire Marathon in an England top!!
In fact each and every year the team at Harvey Nash sleep out for Byte Night in support of NCH to raise money for young homeless people in the UK. So walking the walk is second nature to these guys!
You may have read earlier in the Blog that my good uncle offered £50 if i ran 1 mile in an England Rugby Top. Loving a challenge, we agreed that i would run the rest of the Marathon in the England top if Sarn could raise an additional £450, making the total £500!
So Armed with some T shirts, a Target of an additional £450 and a bitter memory of the Welsh second half magical performance in the 6 nations, he did it in 48 hrs!!
So Ladies and Gentlemen of Harvey Nash, I once again stand and salute you in total admiration.
And if anyone is reading this and are looking for a new direction career wise, at a senior level, you'll do well to drop in for a beer with Sarn and the team at Harvey Nash.
Harvey Nash, a leading Executive Search, IT Recruitment and IT outsourcing service provider, is committed to delivering the very best talent and IT solutions to a broad base of international clients.
The Group is a trusted advisor to some of the world's leading business, governments and institutions. Operating from 36 offices covering the USA, Europe and Asia, its talented professionals pursue the highest levels of integrity and quality in providing a unique portfolio of services: executive search, interim management, IT and finance recruitment and IT outsourcing
So, final preparations are now in hand for the 10 marathons in 10 days challenge.
All week after Paris I had mentally set myself a goal and one goal only for London. To run 4 - 4.30 for the 26 miles. Even in the pen i said to myself this is about time on your legs, steady start and enjoy.
The Gun goes off and in kicks "The Ego Devil". Instead of 9 minute 30 miles i was running 7 minute 20 miles, and it took 8 miles before "The sensible Fairy" got the better of "The Ego Devil" and i managed to pull the pace right back. I finished a wet and windy London Marathon in 3 hrs 42 minutes! Completely going against why I was there! But there is a lesson there somewhere, and in 3 weeks time i will be heading off on a challenge that will punish me dearly for any silly bravado!
Monday's gym session went well, with a 7 mile run and a 20 minute step session to get the legs clear of any build up. The funny thing is that my legs felt worse after that session than they did in the marathon!!
So next weekend I have a scheduled back to back 20 mile run and then that really is about it as far as the long miles are concerned. Taper time!
The sponsorship is getting ever closer to that £6000 mark, which would be absolutely fantastic. I honestly thought that £2000 would be a huge achievement, but to triple the target, well its really incredible. Just have to finish my end of the bargain now!!
Having just returned from Paris, it seems training is back on track, albeit the run was a little quicker than anticipated.
May i first say a huge thank you to Asics and also Apex sports in paddington. Asics have kindly sponsored all the runners in the 10 in 10. With the injury i had they refered me to Apex sports in Paddington, who fitted me with 2 pairs of shoes after a Gait analysis and it proved to be simply brilliant!! The Gait analysis is free and they really do know what they are talking about. They are situated just behind Paddington station and ask for Gareth!! A good plug, but really refreshing to get good advice, so thanks guys!
So back to Paris. Whilst the idea was to run a slow 4.20 we ended up running 3.37! Paris is a very well organised marathon and for the size they really do make it simple! Bigger than london, there is only 1 start and its easy to get too. We knew it was fairly flat and therefore potentially quick, and fell into the trap of running it a little quicker than we wanted.
London this Sunday will be run a lot slower, with another long run scheduled for the Monday.
Sponsorship again has been very progressive, and now just short of the £5,500 mark. If you would like to donate please click here. The T shirts are now printed and many a happy donator is proudly donning them!!
Thanks to Steve to coming out to Paris and running the marathon with me, great support and a great friend, thanks pal!
last night a good friend of mine, Steve, whom I am running Paris with this weekend came over to run a 10 miler with me. His wife Sharon and family came over later and we sat down to a fine spaggy bol!! The subject soon came round to Paris marathon and in turn the 10 in 10.
Sharon asked me if i had ever thought that i may not be able to do the 10 in 10? I immediately answered no. I know that if i make the start line, i'll make the finish line. It was only this morning whilst on the train to London that i thought how arrogant that statement may have seemed.
But i never have thought that way about anything I have ever entered into sporting, family or business related for that matter. Yes, my tendon in my ankle is flared up like the lady sitting behind me shouting at people in the quiet carriage to turn their phones off! But, like they will probably ignore her, i will swim or cycle tonight and try and find a way of resting my way to recovery. If on the 9th of May I am standing on that start line, i will be there on the 18th coming the other way over the finish.
We get one crack at life, its about doing things to the best of our abilities. Being the best dad, husband, runner, friend, grass cutter, bed maker or whatever we turn our hand to. Just giving 100% of our ability and in our heart of hearts knowing we could not have given more.
2 years ago i entered and finished the Switzerland Ironman. But on the start line i remember my Father in law giving me advice that really stayed with me. It wasn't of the good luck variety; but "make sure when you cross that finish line you do it with no regrets". In other words, do not cross it thinking you could have run faster, swam faster or cycled harder, you give it everything you have got, and then and only then does the beer taste like it should!
So here is a mantra "make sure when you cross the finish line you do it with no regrets". That applies to your daily work, painting the side of the house, stacking the dishwasher, being a husband or a dad, and most certainly training for endurance events. Go on try it today, nail work, be a great friend, help those that need it, it'll make you feel fantastic!
On the 9th May I will be running 10 Marathons in 10 days to raise money for Brathay. Brathay enables children and young people to be healthy, stay safe, enjoy and achieve, make a positive contribution and achieve economic well being. Brathay helps young people to have a positive voice in society, to define and create a brighter, more hopeful future. It gives children a second chance......please help by donating here and be part of something truly special. http://www.10marathons10days.com/