Hand made medal for marathon 32

32. Infinity loop

50/50 marathons

32. Infinity Loop Marathon

May 17th 2020.

Lockdown hair

Not the Richmond Park Marathon

Today I should have been running around Richmond Park, for the Richmond Park Marathon. But as lockdown continues, so does the cancellation of all mass gatherings. This one has been rescheduled to a date in September that I can’t make, so instead, I ran around the Island for a bit… again!

I feel a bit like a broken record, but there is no movement in the possibility of any races taking place, even the small low key ones. I’d like to think that there may be some of the races that I’ve booked going ahead before this challenge is over, but it’s looking unlikely. The one I really don’t want to miss is the Bruges marathon, it’s not till October so keeping my fingers firmly crossed. Berlin has been canceled and that’s September so October is now very much in the firing line.

So into today’s shuffle about. I’ve called it Infinity loop purely because the route takes on a figure of eight sort of shape, like the infinity symbol (vaguely). Quite appropriate as every one of these marathons feels like it’s taking forever now.

infinity loop route

On route

I left my house at about 8 am. Felt ok. Stuck on the Marathon Talk podcast. For anyone who is keen on running, it’s well worth a listen, especially on long run days. It covers a vast amount of topics around the running/marathon world. I find it keeps my mind off of the pains of running, so it’s a nice distraction and quite inspirational. I keep on thinking about entering myself into #rateyourrun, but I fear I’d just rate it crap and most of the ones they post seem to be 10/10. Never-the-less I do enjoy it.

I was about a mile in when I realised I hadn’t turned on run keeper. Not a problem if you’re just training but if you’re trying to hit a specific distance then it’s a bit of a bugger as no one believes you when you say, “yeah, I just ran a marathon”, but your runkeeper/Strava record says differently. I’m forever pausing it during a run, or just forgetting to put it on in the first place.

The seafront route to Gurnard is always a nice start to a run, nice and flat, and scenic to get those first few warm-up miles. The weather was perfect, hazy sunshine, and slightly cooler than yesterday so I wasn’t going to get sunstroke.

From Gurnard, I ran up Cockleton Lane and joined the main road towards Newport. I wasn’t going to go along the cycle track again but did a last-minute divert down a lane I’ve never been down. I Ended up in somebody’s back yard and then lost in fields of solar panels that I didn’t know were there. I could see the cycle track, but couldn’t get to it. I’m sure I looked like a pheasant darting around a field worried I was going to be shot by an angry farmer!

Lost somewhere between Cowes and Newport
Firestone Copse

The long and winding road

I finally got myself back on track, berated myself for going off track in the first place, and continued through to Newport. From here I went up through Staplers and onto Havenstreet. The first loop went through Firestone Copse. I always love taking the dog for a walk here, it’s nice and peaceful and I figured that it would offer a bit of shade if needed. It wasn’t that sunny, but still nice.

Once through Firestone, I was back onto the main road through Wootton and on to Newport, so exactly the same as last week’s marathon I was about 17 miles in and my pace was dropping rapidly. I remember when I could run a sub 3.30 marathon, so these 4.5 – 5-hour plods are slightly disconcerting. Just being on your feet for so long is a killer.

Once through Newport I headed down Forest Road for the second loop. I was about 20 miles in and just wanted to head back home but it wouldn’t give me the full distance. I continued down Forest road and finally turned back in towards Cowes at Whitehouse Road.

long road at 23 miles
Happy to finish

Another one bites the dust (apologies for the song title sub-headings. I’ve run a marathon, I can’t think)

I always tend to forget how long this last bit is into Cowes, it’s quite windy and hilly. The full distance took me to the bottom end of Rew Street where Caroline and our dog Winnie were waiting for me with a nice cold drink.

The thing that’s really keeping me going is the support from friends, I’m literally bowled over by the messages of support and the amazing medals that people are taking the time to make. This week’s medal was made and beautifully presented, by Nicola Cranwell. Caroline handed me a box tied in ribbon. Inside were layers of pink tissue paper. I thought I was unwrapping lingerie! Inside was a beautiful hand made medal with 32/50 on it, encrusted in shells she’d collected from Thorness bay before we went into lockdown.

Runners do tend to love a bit of bling at the end of an event, but once home they just get thrown into a sock drawer and generally never see the light of day again. These hand made ones will be treasured though and will forever be a memento of this strange time that we find ourselves in.

Who knows when we’ll come out the other side of this? Perhaps we may never get back to what we know as normal. In some ways, I don’t want it to just slide back into the old routine because that was broken anyway. Now we have an opportunity to make a new normal. One that is better and kinder to the world we inhabit.

Running along today and seeing the number of cars on the road again and rubbish thrown on the floor by a park bench after eating a KFC rather than putting it in a bin, I worry that we are just going to fall into our old ways and all of the positive stuff that has actually come out of this period of lockdown will just become a distant memory!

Hand made medal for marathon 32







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.