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!
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/