The Spicebus

47. The Final Charge Marathon

50/50 marathons

47. The Final Charge Marathon

12th September 2020.

The start selfie

Total donations to Mind


Last week I had a much needed week off from running. I didn’t completely stop, on Saturday I did a little 10k run and it was bliss! Just being able to do a run for the pleasure of it, with no pressure on distance was a welcome experience. I had wondered if doing these marathons would put me off of running completely, but apparently it hasn’t. It was also nice not to be walking around like I had two wooden legs.

However welcome that week off was, I still have 4 more marathons to complete the 50. I wasn’t relishing the idea of running marathon 47 at all. The break was too nice. So, as the weekend approached, so too did the anxiety. It’s fair to say that it hasn’t got any easier running these marathons. On the contrary, it’s got so much harder.

Before I started the challenge, I had it in my head that I might end up getting stronger and fitter the more I did. I genuinely thought my times would reduce, rather than get longer. This really hasn’t been the case at all. Completely the opposite. I’ve gone from feeling pretty fit and healthy to feeling out of shape with a body that aches at every step.

Last year, in preparation for this challenge, I was running between 40 to 50 miles a week, but it was generally shorter distances, apart from a 22 miler on a Sunday. So during the week I would run between 6 – 13 milers, as well as doing Kung fu twice a week, and then Sunday was always the dreaded long run. So I had a good fitness base to begin this challenge with.

Since starting the challenge I am only doing the marathon at the weekend, nothing else. When I first started I did do a couple of recovery runs in the week, but I found it was leaving me a bit stiff to run the marathon, so I decided to knock everything else on the head. In hindsight, this was the wrong decision, but it’s far too late to go back and do it again differently.

So now, when I start running I am in pain. But it’s bearable. Uncomfortable, but not to the point where I need to stop.

This week’s marathon feels like the start of the final charge, four more to go, and then I can get my weekends back. I was grateful to have some company on this one with my friend Steve Powell. Running with someone when you’re doing a long run is always better as you tend not to notice the miles so much, chatting as you go tends to be a nice diversion.

The route was essentially the route I did for my long 22-mile training runs, but with a bit added on. We started off with a long loop around Cowes and Gurnard this does involve a bit of repetition, looping back on ourselves, before eventually heading back along the seafront into Cowes. Caroline was waiting with Winnie on the green to see us as we passed.

From here we headed down the cycle track to Newport, all very familiar territory, but fairly flat. Then we ran on to Island Harbour, a quick stop for a selfie in front of the Spicebus and then on towards Fairlee Road.

9 miles in
The Spicebus

There are actually some really nice trails when you cross Fairlee Road and head straight on up. It’s all wooded areas and farmland. We went off track at one point and ended up in a field of inquisitive Cows. We had to double back and get back on track. Eventually, we headed back to the Quay in Newport. Steve left me at this point. I was really starting to suffer but still had the dreaded final 6 to endure.

As I staggered on another friend ran towards me. Glen jones was out training in preparation for a marathon and asked which way I was going and could he come along. I warned him that I was going to be very slow, but he was happy to join me to keep me company along the way which I was very grateful for. I’d ran with Glen before in Marathon 41. This turned out to be one of those rare occasions where I actually felt ok after finishing. Sadly, today wasn’t going to be a rerun of that.

We ran along the main road back towards Cowes, but to fulfill the distance I needed to take a turn towards Noke Common. This is a fairly long and isolated road and I was at the point where I could barely walk, let alone run. I stopped and had to lay down in the road. Who knew tarmac could feel that comfortable. I kept on apologising to Glen but he assured me he just wanted to keep me company and wasn’t worried that his run had been somewhat spoilt. I wasn’t great company, I was fighting off being sick, my head was spinning and my legs had long since given up.

We crossed a field that headed towards Northwood. I was done, the grass looked far too comfortable and I collapsed in a heap. I decided that I needed to stop. Glen reluctantly left me to continue his run. I assured him I was fine and that I just needed to rest for a bit.

Totally knackered at Noke Common

I think I lay there for about half an hour. The grass felt soft and the sun was warm. I was quite happy just to be still. I asked Caroline if she could come and get me, but I was still in the middle of a field somewhere, so I needed to get back to a road. The moment I tried to move I was overcome with dizziness and nausea and was sick!

Once I had time to pull myself together I actually started to feel a bit better and was able to get to my feet and start running of sorts. Caroline was waiting at Pallance Lane. I jumped in the van and had a drink. I was so close to finishing and knew I’d kick myself if I didn’t try to continue. So I got back out and started running again.

Once at home, Caroline handed me my medal. Not only did Steve run with me for 18 miles, but he and his wife Rachel also made the medal. It was in the shape of broccoli with the words ‘plant-based champ’ and marathon 47 on it, brilliant another fine addition to my collection. As well as the medal, they also gave me a box of yummy vegan fudge from their fudge shop Slab. Thank you guys, I love it, and thanks to Steve once again for keeping me company and listening to me whine!

All in all this one was probably one of the toughest, not because of the route, but basically because of my lack of physical prowess. I literally don’t have it in me to do it anymore. I now have just 3 more to complete, but I am dreading them. Next week is another proper organised event, the New Forest Marathon. So I’m hoping the fact that it is a proper event rather than one of my makeshift things, will help to carry me around, I guess we’ll wait and see.

Medal time
Tasty Slab fudge







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. The current total is £3,899. Thank you so much to everyone who has made a donation.