50/50 marathons

26. Not the Manchester Marathon

5th April 2020

The postponement blues

Today’s run was not the Manchester Marathon, but instead it was another Isle of Wight marathon. The Manchester Marathon has been postponed to September, luckily on a date that I can do. I was looking forward to fulfill my Smiths fan dream of visiting the Salford Lads Club! In the meantime, with the Coronavirus lock down still very much in place, I’m having to improvise.

The problem I’m having is devising new runs that go from my house and end at my house. I’ve run around this area so much that the choice is somewhat limited.

My route for today was to run from home, down the cycle track into Newport, out along Forest Road and down Betty Haunt Lane. Once at the Blacksmiths Arms, I need to forget about all the lovely times I’ve had there with friends drinking cold pints of beer and plough on up a little path that takes me up onto the downs. Here I ran along the Tennyson Trail, through Brighstone Forest and on towards Freshwater.

I turned back too soon

I turned at the 12.5 mile mark, this was a little too early as it left me needing to make up 1.5 miles at the end, my capacity to work out even simple maths after running a few miles does tend to ebb away. I headed back the way I came, by now there were a few people out and about on bikes or walking their dog, but all in all it was so quiet. The sun was glorious and the Isle of Wight was looking quietly resplendent. It really was a perfect day for running along the downs. I generally always get a bit euphoric around half way in, knowing that I’m half way is a boost. I tend to forget that the next half is where it all goes pear shaped.

Rather than go back completely the same way, at Forest road I turned up Whitehouse Lane toward Gurnard. By now I was really struggling. My Achilles are so tight and painful at the moment, feels like they’re about to snap, but then I guess that’s what happens when you run a marathon every week for 26 weeks! I also have a bit of a tear in my right calf, this was strapped up so wasn’t too bad, but certainly didn’t make me any faster. I was slightly distracted by the shortfall in the distance, trying to figure out where I could make up that extra distance and cursing myself for turning too soon. Psychologically it’s harder making the distance up at the end.

Running around in circles

I took an extra loop around Gurnard, knowing that by the time I got to the Green I needed to have just two miles to go to make it right. I was still half mile short. Running along the seafront toward Cowes has always been a favourite route, especially when the sun’s out. There we’re quite a few people out for walks so I was forever crossing the road to give them space. I figured I’d run up through Northwood Park in the hope that it would make up a bit of distance.

By the time I got near home I was looping around different roads to try and eek a few extra metres, but I still ended up running up and down a couple of times outside my house to make sure my Runkeeper app had registered the distance. Ironically I find that Runkeeper can be not the most accurate as generally on a proper measured marathon it reads it as slightly shorter, sometimes by up to a mile! Nevertheless I still had to squeeze that extra bit out. All-in-all this was quite a slow run, I struggled and was relieved to be able to stop.

When I got in I sat outside for a bit to pull myself together and Caroline handed me a brown paper bag. My friends have been kindly making me medals to have while everything else is cancelled. One touch of this bag and I knew instantly who had made it. I pulled out a construction of bike cogs and chains made into a medal. I knew this had to be Simon Chambers handy work, he’s a bike nutter and always tinkering with them. Another lovely, personal medal for the collection. These are way more special than any generic medal from a race.

I think being out in the sun took its toll as when I got in I showered and went and had a nap, I was shattered.







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.