50/50 marathons

30. I Ran Solo Marathon

May the 4th be with you.

May the fourth be with you

Today’s marathon is the I ran solo marathon. I’ve saved this especially for the 4th of May. May the Fourth will forever be Star Wars day, so for all those geeks out there like me who delight in anything Star Wars related, hope you’re having a great day?

Since the lockdown was first put in place, the marathon season has been cancelled. But out of the ashes there have been numerous virtual runs popping up. This enables the people who have put all the time and energy into training to run a marathon, the opportunity to still run and receive a nice medal at the end. It’s also become a bit of a lifeline to the people who organise the events. After seeing the entire season wiped out, this at least gives them an opportunity to recover some of the money they’ve lost.

I’ve been so lucky to have amazing friends who have been making me medals for each of my runs, so I haven’t needed to do these virtual runs to get my bling fix and what I’ve received is so much more special. All that being said, when I saw a post about a virtual marathon called ‘I ran solo’ and the accompanying medal is Han Solo in carbonite, I was straight onto booking it. This virtual marathon is organised by Phoenix Running. Early in the Challenge I did one of their actual marathons ‘the Phoenix Riverside Marathon’. I’ve been holding on to this medal for an appropriate time and I think May the Fourth is that time.

Originally I was booked in to do the Three Forts Challenge, yesterday. This has obviously been cancelled, expected to take place again on the 2nd May 2021. My place has been carried forward to next year. I held back a day so I could run today. But I wanted to still give a nod to the Three Forts Challenge. Once again I consulted Google Maps and Map my Run to come up with a route that would include me visiting 3 forts along the way. As luck would have it, the Isle of Wight is literally full of forts, so it wasn’t tricky.

I set out at about 8:30am. The weather was a bit damp and grey, which is actually perfect for running, not too warm like the previous few weeks. I headed out along Newport Road out of Cowes and then along Forest Road and down Gunville Road into Carisbrooke. My first fort would be the ultimate Isle of Wight fort, Carisbrooke Castle. Carisbrooke Castle has been standing guard over Carisbrooke for over 1000 years. Please note, I failed History at school so this may not be accurate, but it’s close enough.

The Tennyson Trail

I didn’t hang around at Carisbrooke Castle for long, quick selfie and then onwards to my next fort. For this I would need to be in Freshwater (again). I’m not particularly good at finding my way around the footpaths and bridleways of the Island so there was a bit of running around aimlessly in fields for a while before I found a bridle way towards Bowcombe. I knew this was vaguely in the right direction so I trotted on quite happily. This was actually a really nice route. At one point I needed to cross a road before going up a nasty hill that I remember well from the Abominable Snowman at the end of last year.

By now I was onto the Tennyson Trail. Familiar territory, but always quite a pleasant route. Not great if you like your marathons flat though. But the stunning views along the coastline make the effort worthwhile.

The Tennyson trail eventually comes out at a golf course in Freshwater. Luckily no one was playing golf so no need to dodge low flying golf balls.

Once into Freshwater I needed to find my next fort. Never actually been to this one before so finding it would be interesting.

Fort Albert

Fort Albert was built in the 19th Century to defend against the possibility of a French attack from Napoleon III. It is now privately owned and converted into apartments. It stands opposite Hurst Castle. I remember it well from a previous challenge, when I swam from Hurst Castle to Colwell Bay. I always wondered what it was. I managed to get close enough to take a sneaky picture, but it is private so couldn’t get too close.

From here it was a short stagger to my final fort. I took the coastal path from Fort Albert. It wasn’t too long before I found myself in the Fort Victoria Country Park. This was such a nice area to ramble around. The sun was out and the birds were singing. I was about 20 miles in so was feeling pretty rubbish, but still enjoyed running through the woods.

Fort Victoria

Fort Victoria was built in the 1850s. It remained in use until 1962. Parts of the fort were subsequently demolished, and what remains has become part of Fort Victoria Country Park. I remember going there as a kid to eat ice cream.

Now all was left was to run the final few miles to get picked up by Caroline somewhere between Yarmouth and Shalfleet. I’d done my usual trick and paused my running app somewhere along the line so wasn’t really sure of the exact distance, but i already had an idea of where I needed to stop, plus it really felt like a marathon. Happy as always to stop 😊

Once home, not only did I finally get my I ran solo medal, but also a brilliant hand made medal from Nerys, Adam and Pru Provis. It followed a theme that Comes from their comments to my runs, Wonder Woman. Love it. In fact it has inspired an idea. I will run my 40th marathon dressed as Wonder Woman if I can get to beyond £1500 in donations (£2000 if possible). It may also work if enough people donate so that I don’t run in Wonder Woman costume. Either way, your donations are appreciated. Just comment if you want me to run as Wonder Woman, or if you’d rather not and I will do whatever the consensus is on the 40th.

Only 20 more to go, piece of cake 😐







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.