29. Not the Southampton Marathon

50/50 marathons

29. Not the Southampton Marathon

26th April 2020

…nor was it the London Marathon!

Not only is this week’s marathon not the Southampton marathon, but it’s also not the London Marathon. April 26 is the day that thousands of people should have been running around London, if you were lucky enough to get a place that is. Places for the London Marathon are like gold dust. When you enter, you go into a ballot. I have run the London Marathon twice before, both times through the ballot, so I’m lucky to have had that experience. Now it seems practically impossible to get picked, I’ve tried so many times without success. I really hoped that London would have been on my list this year, but instead I got a place in The Southampton Marathon! Not quite the same.

All that being said, neither marathon went ahead. Both victims of the Coronavirus lockdown. So again I had to make something up to fill the gap.

Last week’s Not the Brighton marathon left me feeling broken all week. Whatever I did wrong leading up to it, I tried not to do it again this week. Truth be told I think I’m just very tired from doing a marathon every week, plus it’s warm when I run, so dehydration is a factor.

I had intended to run on Saturday, but I really couldn’t get myself motivated enough to do it. Sunday morning, still not motivated, but it was either now or never. I pushed myself out of bed and creaked around the house getting ready. I had decided on a route the night before, it was a bit vague in places, so I knew I’d be making it up a bit as I went along. I prefer not having to think about the route. Not knowing where you’re going can just be a bit distracting. With an organised marathon, you still don’t know where you’re going, but at least you know that someone has mapped it out and that it’s the correct distance, so all you need to concentrate on is running.

My vague route was based on a run that I did last year in training with the running club. It was a 16-mile route that went from my house all the way through the center of the Island into Ventnor. Before that, I needed to make up 10 miles. I reverted back to the good old loop around Gurnard, with a few extras to get me to the 10 miles before I started down the cycle track towards Newport. At 10 miles I was running through Cowes high street and I bumped into Caroline walking our dog Winnie. I was starting to feel it already. All I wanted to do was stop and just walk with Caroline.

Not going to lie, I’ve run the cycle track so many times now that it’s getting a bit boring. As a short run, it’s nice, but I find the familiarity of the route disconcerting. Purely because I know how far I have to go. And you just see the same terrain ahead of you. It is nice running along the river though, plus the hedgerows offer some shade from the sun.

The Red Squirrel Trail

Once through Newport the cycle track continues at Shide. This route is called the Red Squirrel trail. It follows what would have been the railway line, all the way into Sandown. I had intended to make a diversion somewhere along the line to go through Godshill, but missed the turning. This trail is lovely, especially on a sunny day like this. There were quite a few cyclists out and about. I couldn’t help thinking that I would be enjoying it so much more if I were riding a bike too, anything but running.

It would be easy to not realise the history of the trail, but along the way, there are reminders of its past life as a railway line. As you run through what would have been Merstone station you can still see the platform. The signage follows the train theme, showing the route that you’re taking.

Not sure where I went wrong, but somewhere along the line I didn’t take the turn I needed to go via Godshill. Possibly a blessing in disguise though as the route I had in mind had some pretty harsh hills. Not sure if that would have been a great idea considering how I was feeling. So I just plowed on towards Sandown as this would still give me the distance, and it was flat. My phone was about to run out of juice, so I needed to let Caroline know that there was a change of plan and I’d be finishing around the Sandown beach area.

The last few miles

The last few miles were suitably horrible. I never get used to that feeling when you’re in the final 10k. This is the point where your brain really starts to work on getting you to stop. I was beginning to get the same spinney head feeling that I had last week. Also, numb and tingly legs and fingers as the blood went to wherever needed it the most. I’m sure this is an unhealthy state to be in. Either way, I knew I didn’t have much left. The final mile Staggering through Sandown was a huge effort, this was not running, this was dribbling and stumbling.

The end couldn’t come quick enough. I slumped down on the first bench I saw and sat there shivering. Even sitting was uncomfortable. Everything was aching. I just hoped Caroline could find me as my phone had long since run out of juice.

When Caroline turned up I hoisted myself from the bench and hobbled over to her. To my surprise, a lovely friend called Maria Vine was also there. I was mortified as I needed to be sick! I hid behind the van. When I eventually pulled myself together I could see that Maria had brought a trophy made by her husband Rich. It was a big brain on a plinth with the Mind logo and Marathon 29 on it. Amazing! Such a lovely thing to do.

So basically this week I took another kicking. I was broken… again. As soon as I got home I showered and slept. Can’t wait until next week!!!







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.