24. Self-Isolation Shuffle

50/50 marathons

24. The Self-Isolation Shuffle

22nd March 2020

Why the Self-Isolation Shuffle?

Well I’ll tell you. The past couple of weeks have been odd! Coronavirus appears to be bringing the entire world to a standstill. I have never experienced anything like this. It just feels so surreal reading about all the deaths and how entire countries are locking down to try and combat the spread.

My email has been full of race cancellations or postponements. All the way through into May has been cleared. Some of the postponements have worked out ok, but most clash with other marathons later in the year. I can obviously defer until next year, but to be honest, the thought of doing any marathons next year leaves me cold.

I was initially quite down about it, seeing all my plans unraveling, but when I think about what’s going on at the moment, there’s really no point dwelling on it. I’ve considered jacking this challenge in many times, this was just another one of those times. I’ve decided to try and carry on and run solo, at least until we’re told that you can’t leave your house, we’re close to it, but still able to go out for exercise, just not in groups of more than 2.

Lulworth Cove Marathon postponed

I should have been running the Lulworth Cove marathon, I was really looking forward to it, especially as the forecast actually looked good for a change. So this was my first marathon running solo. Motivation is the hardest thing as I generally feel quite fatigued and without a group event it makes it harder to get going. I had a rough idea of a route. Caroline had agreed to pick me up so I didn’t have to figure out a route that would loop back on myself, I could basically keep running until I got to the required distance.

My aim was to run clockwise around the Island into Ventnor. The first few miles were familiar territory, the cycle track down from Cowes into Newport, I’d run that section so many times before. Newport was very quiet, hardly anyone around, a few cars buzzing around, but none of the usual shoppers you would normally see. From Newport it was on to Ryde, this was pretty much all main road.

Eerily quiet everywhere

Going down through Ryde was eerily quiet, even on a Sunday you expect to see a few people milling around. There were more people as I started running along Appley Beach, still quiet though. The wind was right in my face and quite strong from now as I edged myself along the coast. I was able to follow the coastal path for quite a long way, through Seaview and on towards Bembridge, but made a turn up into St Helen’s that basically got me back onto the main road, which wasn’t my intention, but I carried on through Brading, sandown and Shanklin.

By now my legs were very heavy, but the main hindrance were my ankles, the tightness in both Achilles’ tendons is getting quite bad, making it quite uncomfortable to run. The hill out of Shanklin and up over the cliff before Ventnor was an absolute beast. Cowleaze Hill, I’ve only ever done it in a car so never noticed how it goes on forever. I walked up that one. Once at the top, the view is amazing, windy, but worth taking a moment. From here it was literally all downhill into Ventnor.

The perfect finish

I’d arranged to meet Caroline in the car park there but was pleasantly surprised to see some friends there aswell, cheering me in, what a nice surprise.

The icing on the cake was that Caroline gave me a medal that a good friend had given her to pass on to me. Back in 1986 Trevor Macneill had run his one and only marathon, then called the Seven Sisters Marathon, now known as Beachy Head marathon, so I knew how tough it was. This was the medal he got for completing it. I was speechless. I’d often spoken to him about this marathon, I loved the fact that him and the friend he ran with stopped along the way to have a smoke, mainly to get a bit of warmth as it was a cold February. I felt honoured that he wanted to pass it on to me. It will be treasured.

I actually felt ok after finishing, didn’t have the usual nausea. Must have been a combination of the nicer weather and seeing some friendly faces at the end.

Next week is the half way point and should be the Dorset Ooser, but that is now pushed back to a later date that I can’t make. I’m thinking about running anti clockwise around the Island to see the other side. Take a look and see.


Time taken





I am running these marathons to raise money for Mind. If you like what I’m doing and would like to donate you can go to my Just Giving page below.