Big 50 medal

50. Isle of Wight Marathon (again!)

50/50 marathons

50. Isle of Wight Marathon

4th October 2020.

Bit of a wet start

Total donations to Mind


It does seem hard to believe that I’m here at the last of these 50 marathons. When the thought first popped into my head several years back to do this challenge, I can honestly say, it really was just one of those random thoughts, along with the likes of, with an orange, which came first, the colour or the fruit? Or, who would win in a fight between a weasel or a stoat?

When I first started to mention the idea to people, the general response was that I was mad. I had previously taken on a few challenges so it wasn’t completely random, but I hadn’t taken on anything of this scale. I think I was about 45 when I first thought about doing it, so I had time to consider the logistics, but of course, I couldn’t really start planning each event until the year before, when I could start booking races. This was also when I could begin training.

Anyone who’s run a marathon knows that the marathon is just the tip of the iceberg. The hard work starts well in advance, at least 3 months before, when you need to put in all those miles of preparation. I had decided that, in light of the number of marathons I was aiming to do, I needed a full year of preparation. Starting off with smaller runs and gradually building up the distance. I knew this would be more about endurance and less about speed or PB’s. so each week I was running between 40 – 50 miles, mixing up shorter tempo runs, hill training, and long runs. Each Sunday I would run between 18-22 miles, I needed time on my feet to build up to the 50 marathons. I’d run plenty of marathons prior to this, but I was never really that great at the preparation and would often wing it. But I could not wing this, so I entered the preparation stage wholeheartedly and tried to follow a strict training routine.

Alongside the training, I would spend hours scouring the internet for events. Believe it or not, it was hard to fill the calendar. There are times of the year when it’s easy to book a marathon, but I found a lot of these events are held on the same day and there were times of the year when I just couldn’t find anything at all. Marathon running is generally not best run in the winter or summer months, but to complete the challenge I needed to go right through. Sure there were marathons around the world I could have entered, but my budget didn’t stretch that far, I needed to find races each week that didn’t break the bank too much.

I did nearly fill the calendar. I booked 45 races in advance. As it turned out, I need not have bothered! 2020, as everyone knows, had other plans.

When the first event came around, I was excited and nervous, but as ready as I ever could be. I started at the Isle of Wight Marathon on the 6th of October 2019. It was horrible! Even after all that preparation, I was done by the halfway mark and the last 13 miles were a slog. After finishing by the skin of my teeth, I seriously considered quitting the challenge. That first marathon was quite a sobering experience. In all the excitement of planning this big year, I’d totally forgotten that I don’t like running marathons, they’re really hard.

Fast forward a year and I’m finishing where I started, 4th October 2020 at the Isle of Wight Marathon, my nemesis.

Off I go

The start wasn’t until 11:30, so I had plenty of time to stress and get agitated. On top of preparation, I also had a chap from South Today coming over to interview me about the marathons (eek!) I’ve never been on TV before so I needed to do my hair.

Right up until today I’ve been wondering what I should wear. It occurred to me that perhaps I should drag out the Wonder Woman costume again, but the weather was so shocking, so it lost its appeal. It was only when the chap from the BBC said he wanted to interview me in the running kit that I decided to do it. Perhaps not the best attire for a day of wind and rain, but if I didn’t do it now, I never would.

The start wasn’t the usual mass group, we were all allocated socially distanced groupings, depending on predicted time. I was pretty much right at the back, old slowcoach. The weather was a complete contrast to last week’s marathon.

Right from the start, I was amazed at the support from family and friends and also from complete strangers! This continued throughout the marathon. It was so nice to see friendly faces shouting encouragement had waving signs. The wind and rain didn’t phase them at all. It gave me a massive boost.

Not much to say about the race itself. The weather was shocking. I was completely numb, but I guess I deserve it for wearing a Wonder Woman outfit. The Isle of Wight Marathon has always been quite a tough one for me, but I’m happy to report that I kept running the whole thing, even the horrible hills at the end. Not a graceful gallop, more of a painful shuffle. But, in comparison to last year’s attempt, I was doing ok.

It felt amazing to turn the corner onto Park Road and approach the finish. Friends were beaming under their hoods. It quite choked me up seeing everyone.

And then there was the finish line in front of me, I always love the approach to the finish, but this was something special. There were Caroline and Winnie, surrounded by friends. And my Dad was there too. I had to hold back the tears. I’d finished! I genuinely didn’t think I’d reach this point.

Caroline gave me the last medal. This one was from her, a lovely big 50. She’s been my rock through this whole challenge. I can’t thank her enough. I can spend all this spare time on my hands making it up to her.

Guy and Julie Boorman
Dave and Alice Baker
running, still smiling
Support crew
Crossing the finish line

The past year has been a weird year, for various reasons. Not just because I’ve been running a marathon every weekend. It’s been the year that my daughter Ella started university. The feeling of your child leaving home for the first time, the worry that surrounds this, is not something that I had factored into my preparation. I won’t lie, it hit me like a ton of bricks. My work life has been as challenging as ever, business has been…… undulating! And the icing on the cake was COVID! All my planning was basically screwed up in an instant!

I managed to complete 23 of the marathons before COVID took over and I needed to rethink things. Marathon 24 I dubbed the Self Isolation Shuffle. This was the first of many runs around the Isle of Wight. At first, it was quite nice not having to travel for the marathon. I could start when I liked and just run from my front door. This soon wore off.

But out of all this chaos came a revelation. Something that I never expected and will always be grateful for. After completing marathon 24 I was greeted at the end in Ventnor by a group of friends, and then I was handed a medal, not just any generic medal. My good friend Trevor Macneill donated a medal that he got for completing the Seven Sisters Marathon back in 1986, his one and only marathon. This would have been very special to him, and he gave it to me!

This continued week after week. It transpired there was a group of friends brought together by Guy Boorman and my wife Caroline, who was going to ensure I got a medal at the end of my marathons! Each week Caroline would hand me a package and inside would be a medal, carefully hand made or a thoughtful gift to mark the end of another marathon. This soon became the highlight for me.

I’ve never had an abundance of self-confidence and I struggle in social situations, feeling awkward and uncomfortable. But this experience has proved something to me. I have some amazing friends who actually seem to like me! That probably sounds odd, but one symptom of depression that I have experienced for years is a feeling of general self-loathing, and part of this is the feeling of not really fitting in. Hence why this has been such a revelation to me. The support that I have received has just knocked me for six. I can’t explain how good this has made me feel. Without this support, I have no doubt that I would not have got to the end.

I have been trying to raise money throughout this challenge for Mind, the charity for better mental health. I haven’t personally benefited from the support that they can offer to people with mental health issues, but I know from my own experience that support from them and other similar charities is essential to beat the stigma that still surrounds mental health. It’s more common than you think and the more it is talked about, the more people will be helped, especially in these testing times.

For years I bottled things up for fear of being judged. I didn’t want people to think less of me or that I was incapable, plus I didn’t really understand what I was going through. I just knew it wasn’t right. It was only when I did open up and talk to Caroline about it that I started to accept and understand. She encouraged me to go to seek medical advice. If I hadn’t opened up, I dread to think what might have happened.

I don’t like to think of people suffering in silence. This should not be the case. Anyone who suffers from a mental health condition has their own experience, everyone is different, it is not a one size fits all thing. But talking about your experience is essential. Do not suffer in silence. Reach out to someone you love and trust and talk to them. It’s not a cure, but it’s a start. And from my experience, there are people out there who are happy to talk and offer support, but it’s up to you to take the first step, put your hand up and say ‘I’m not alright.’

So, after all this time, have I enjoyed the experience? There have been moments that I will cherish, and there have been times that I wouldn’t want to experience ever again. I can only describe it as a wonderfully horrible experience. Not quite the adventure that I originally planned, but an adventure all the same. It pushed me harder than I ever thought I could be pushed. I often think about the likes of Eddie Izzard and Dean Karnazes and I wonder how the hell they can manage to do back to back marathons like that, there is no way I could do that.

When I started this blog, my intention was to create a source of information about different marathons, to help other runners looking for good events, I managed to document a few, but beyond that, I now know some amazing trails on the Isle of Wight.

I think my favourite out of all of the proper events that I ran was the Eden Project Marathon. Not an easy one, some difficult trail, but I really enjoyed it. The hardest… too many to mention, but I would say it’s a toss-up between Lenham Cross or the Portland Coastal.

Thank you to everyone who has donated to Mind. You’ve managed to exceed what I had hoped to raise. When I last checked the total was at £5,481! This year has had a massive impact on charities, with all events being canceled, the money they rely on to function hasn’t been there. I’m glad to have been able to help, albeit in a small way.

And a huge thank you to everyone who has supported me during this challenge. I genuinely couldn’t have done it without you, I am so grateful and I owe a lot of people a beer!

Finishers medal
Big 50 medal







I have run 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 £5,481. Thank you so much to everyone who has made a donation.

The start of Run Jurassic

49. Run Jurassic Marathon

50/50 marathons

49. Run Jurassic Marathon

26th September 2020.

The start of Run Jurassic

Total donations to Mind


In my original, pre-Covid plan, this weekend’s marathon would have been ‘Run Jurassic’, a marathon organised by White Star Running that would take on the beautiful Jurassic coast of Dorset. I was quite disappointed when this one got canceled, but I didn’t really dwell on it too long because I had a backup plan.

The Isle of Wight is famed for its Jurassic heritage. The south coast, in particular, is well known for being an excellent area to find fossils. Plus it really is a stunning coastline to run along. Back in February for marathon 15, I plotted a route that took on a portion of the south coast from Chale to Freshwater and back again. But I wanted to plot a route that took on almost the entire South Coast of the Island. Starting in Freshwater Bay and then finishing at Dinosaur Isle in Sandown. I knew it wouldn’t be an easy route and by now, after 48 marathons, I really wasn’t feeling up to it. It was quite tempting to just go for a flat ‘easy’ route, but I knew I’d be missing out. This route, although very challenging, would be spectacular.

I was feeling apprehensive as the day got closer, last weeks New Forest Marathon had taken its toll and I was still struggling with the after-effects. But I had a bunch of friends who wanted to support me along the way and this proved to be the push that I needed to get on with it and, dare I say, actually enjoy it! Yes, I did say that, and for anyone who’s followed this challenge, you’ll know that I generally don’t say that.

The start was at the Albion Hotel in Freshwater Bay. I had arranged to meet my Friend Gemma there, she joined me for some of the Wonder Woman Dash earlier in the year, and is building up to do her first marathon next year. The ever supportive Boorman’s (Guy and Julie) and of course Caroline we’re also there to see me off.

I had planned to run the entire thing wearing an inflatable dinosaur outfit! Great idea, but in practice, it turns out that I couldn’t run in it, at all! We set off at about 9 and I think we got about 100 meters when I decided to ditch the dinosaur costume. How on earth do people manage to run marathons in those rhino costumes?

Looking towards Compton Bay

The weather couldn’t have been any better, the sun was out and the Isle of Wight was looking amazing. It was quite breezy but it was behind us so pushed us along. At Brook, a friend on Gemma’s (Jo) joined us. They both had a really good knowledge of the coastal path so I didn’t have to worry about finding the best route. We chatted as we ran and the miles seemed to drift away. That first section along the military Road is very long and I was grateful for the company.

Further along the coast at Whale Chine, Jo left us but we were joined by Peter and Jodie Wilmott. Both are amazing runners, but luckily they were happy to go my pace. Shortly passed Whale Chine we were joined by Wayne Cranwell, so now there were 5 of us. It was so good to have the company.

The first big hill of the route is the one from Chale, it goes up past Blackgang Chine and then over into Niton. Thankfully we did a run-walk thing, so it wasn’t too bad. At the top, you get an amazing view looking back along the coastline to where we started at Freshwater bay.

Me, Gemma and Jo
Looking back towards Freshwater Bay
Blackgang Chine

We continued down into Niton. Thanks to Gemma’s knowledge of this trail we were almost entirely off-road on paths that I’d never run on before, so we were literally hugging the coastline. Gemma left us in Niton and we continued through some small tunnels that led down to St Catherine’s Road. Here was a little added loop around the lighthouse. We could have bypassed it and continued on to St Lawrence, but I needed a bit of extra mileage and I’m quite fond of this area.

For anyone visiting the Isle of Wight I would recommend taking a walk around here. It’s got a really rugged feel and you can easily picture stories of smugglers and shipwrecks. Plus there’s a great pub called the Buddle where you can cozy up with a pint of local ale.

Beyond Niton, we headed along the Undercliff road to St Lawrence and onwards to Ventnor via Steephill Cove. This whole area is beautiful. I was really starting to feel the miles by now, but the great company and the beauty of our surroundings was a massive boost.

Wayne left us in Ventnor, leaving Peter, Jodie and myself to run along the sea wall through to Bonchurch and up through the land slip. This area is really fitting for the Jurassic theme of the day, it looks like a set from Jurassic Park. But it is jolly hilly. I had to walk most of this section.

Niton Tunnels
St Catherines Point
Running towards Ventnor
Bonchurch Landslip

Jodie and Pete knew this route well so took us along more paths that I’d never taken before, that took us through Luccome and into Shanklin. Once in Shanklin that was it for the hills. The last few miles were all along the beach, so perfectly flat. Jodie and Pete left me at Hope Beach in Shanklin and the baton was taken by the lovely Mike Atkinson. Guy was also there to offer refreshments. I’d intended on putting the dinosaur outfit on for the last couple of miles but had second thoughts. The run had been going so well and I didn’t want to spoil it just for a photo opportunity.

Along the way, we had a surprise addition of B J Fisher, resplendent in a bright yellow top and beaming from ear to ear. I wish I’d had these guys along for all of the past marathons, it would have been far more fun. I hardly noticed the last few miles! This is unheard of. The last 6 miles are always horrible, but not today. I was tired sure, but, as I came to the end at Dinosaur Isle, I can honestly say that I actually enjoyed that marathon. The route was lovely, but more than anything, the support I had from start to finish was the icing on the cake. If I had run this route on my own I have no doubt it would have been a different story.

Waiting at the finish was Caroline and Winnie along with the whole Armfield clan. Paul has had a massive impact on the fundraising for Mind. He’s managed to spread the word out a lot further than I could ever do. Speaking of which, I just checked the total and it’s now at £4,455!!! I’m amazed. Thank you so much to everyone who has kindly donated.

Me, Mike and Bee

I actually managed a cheeky beer at the end. This is generally never the case. I did have a bit of a crash on the way back home but generally speaking, I survived Run Jurassic fairly unscathed! Once home Caroline handed me a box containing this week’s medal. This is always the best part, it’s like Christmas every weekend. Inside the box was a bell on a ribbon with number 49 on it. The bell is always rung as you enter the last lap in a race, so this was a really clever and creative link. I would expect nothing less from my friends Mark and Helen Bailey. Along with the medal itself was a t-shirt with the words ‘one more lap to go’ on the front. Thank you chaps, I love them both and will be wearing the t-shirt with pride today.

So this was the penultimate marathon before the final one next week. Originally I would have ended this challenge in Bruges, but instead, I will be running the Isle of Wight Marathon. This has always been a bit of a nemesis to me, but It feels right to be finishing where I started this thing.

Medal 49
One lap to go







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 £4,455. Thank you so much to everyone who has made a donation.

New Forest Marathon signs

48. The New Forest Marathon

50/50 marathons

48. The New Forest Marathon

19th September 2020.

New Forest Marathon start

Total donations to Mind


The New Forest Marathon was canceled a while back, another victim of Covid. They hung on and hung on, getting all the necessary approvals to go ahead. It was all looking promising, but then I think there may have been a landowner who wouldn’t let it go across their land. The emails went out to say it was not going ahead. I felt for the organisers because they clearly had a bit of a ride to get all their ducks in a row. But it wasn’t to be.

But then, out of nowhere, I received an email to say it was back on! They hadn’t just given up on it, they worked like troopers to find a different location and route, all within the shortest time frame. The event was to be held on the St Giles House estate, near Wimborne.

For me, it was great to have another proper organised marathon to do, new land to explore. However, this past week hasn’t been a great week and I’ve been feeling wiped out for the entire time since last weekend’s marathon. They’ve all taken their toll, but the last few, in particular, have left me wiped out. So as I stood waiting for my race to start, I felt nothing but dread and tiredness.

To get the approval to go ahead there had to be loads of changes to how it’s usually run. There wouldn’t be a mass start, everyone was given an allocated start time. There were very few runners in the start village and everyone was keeping their distance. On the plus side, the toilets weren’t the usual massive queue to a stink fest!

New Forest Marathon race village
New Forest Marathon start area

My start was at 10:05, but it seemed they had started early. We all got called forward and directed through a funnel system to keep things single file. I was still trying to digest my surroundings and get the all-important start selfie, but before I knew it I was signaled to go.

Now, I’d like to say that I shot off like a majestic gazelle, but of course, I didn’t. I was running, of sorts, but it must have been painful to watch, it was certainly painful for me. I knew instantly that I was in for a rough one. I figured my only plan was to just keep moving forward and not to worry how slow I was going.

The course was essentially the half marathon route, only we had to go around twice. It was quite a nice course, all off-road through mainly forest trails. I wouldn’t call it hilly, but it had a few cheeky undulations that weren’t very nice.

There were no supporters along the route, but the marshals really made up for that, they were so encouraging as I passed.

I was aware literally from the start that I was struggling. I had to really work hard to keep the negative thoughts at bay. One part of me was saying to stop, you can’t finish, but there was a tiny part keeping me going, I kept reminding myself how far I’d come and that once this one was over I only had 2 to complete.

New Forest Marathon 2020
New Forest Marathon St Giles Estate

At mile 11 you run past the finish line, then you loop around a Forest for a bit before heading back to the finish to start lap two. That was harsh. I stopped in a portaloo (classy) sat down and tried to figure out a way to do this, without actually doing it. I could basically sit in that loo for a couple more hours and then jump back onto the final stretch to glory. Only there would be no glory. So I talked myself around, left the loo, and carried on. I managed another mile and a half before I came to the conclusion that I was finished. So that was it, I double backed and went to the car.

I sat there for a bit, had a drink and a peanut butter sandwich, and tried to call Caroline to tell her I was done. There was no coverage so I couldn’t get through. So I gathered my thoughts to try and figure out how I could still finish this at the Isle of Wight marathon on the 4th of October. I couldn’t think of a way! I must have only sat for no more than 15 minutes, it was such a relief to stop. But I was gutted.

I decided to carry on, so got out of the car and stumbled back to the point where I’d retired. The peanut butter sandwich had given me a bit of a boost. It took a while to get my legs working though, once you stop it doesn’t take long for the legs to seize. I guess you could say I had a second wind for a little bit, just enough to take me far enough away from the finish so that I wasn’t tempted to quit again.

The second lap was uneventful, it was just a case of gritting my teeth and pushing on as best as I could. The final hurdle was to get back around to the 24-mile mark. You could see and hear the finish as people completed their run, but I still had those final two miles! By now it was a case of running on the flat, but walking up any hills. Luckily, most of the last mile was downhill. In the distance stood The finish line, directly in front of St Giles House. This last stretch seemed to take forever. It reminded me of that scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail where that knight is charging towards the castle, but every time he looked up it seemed like he hadn’t got any closer!

Crossing the line was such a relief and I was so glad that I decided to continue. It’s far too easy to just give up while running a marathon.

New Forest Marathon Medal

Once I got home Caroline gave me a box to open. This is always the highlight of the marathons. I love the mystery, trying to figure out who it’s from. Inside, the box was full of delicious looking vegan treats, can’t wait to start pilling on the calories that were burned today. There was also an amazing medal, made of wood with my face etched onto it and the race number on my forehead. The finishing touch was a hand-knitted ribbon. The detail was beautiful. This was from the jolly lovely Aaron and Jo Rudd. Thank you so much guys. Such a nice way to finish the day. I will treasure it, the medal that is, I’ve already started tucking into the goodies 🐷








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 £4,150. Thank you so much to everyone who has made a donation.

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.

Medal 46

46. Run The Wight Marathon

50/50 marathons

46. Run The Wight Marathon

30th August 2020.

Bembridge start

Last week’s ‘Bad Idea Marathon’ left me pretty drained all week. I’ve had a few that have taken a while to shake off, but that one stuck with me all week. This made it difficult to focus on anything, least of all planning the next marathon.

So what do you do when you’ve had a whupping. Lay down in a dark room and cry is the gut instinct, but instead, I chose to take on the Walk the Wight route! Only I was going to run it. Yep, stupid I know. I have run this before. Back in 2010, I did a similar thing to what I’m doing now, only then it was 40 events and it wasn’t just marathons, it was a mix of events, triathlons, marathons, sea swims, there was even a Santa run. But one of the events was to ‘run’ the Walk The Wight route. I ran with Ritchie (same chap from last week) and if I remember rightly we both moaned about it at the time because of how hard it was. And I distinctly recall, as we sat in a pub afterward, that we said we wouldn’t be that stupid again. To this day Ritchie, to the best of my knowledge has kept his word. I on the other hand am clearly not as clever.

The decision to do the route was a last-minute panic the night before. I had run out of ideas and that was the conclusion that I came to! Truth is, I didn’t want to run at all, but with 5 marathons left to do, I just got on with it.

I remember thinking much earlier this year, how I felt I could start to relax a bit when I got to 5 left. But instead, it’s been the opposite, it strangely feels more daunting, I mean, after all, it is still 5 marathons.

The Walk the Wight route cuts literally right through the middle of the Island, from Bembridge, all the way across to the other side, finishing at Alum Bay. It’s always easy to look at a route in a map and think, ‘that’s doable’. But one thing I’m painfully aware of is just how hilly this little Island is.

From Bembridge, the hills start straight away, climbing up onto Brading Down. As always the views make up for the effort. Especially on a day like today, sunny, with a few patches of cloud. Quite windy, but it was a side wind for the entire route, not quite as energy-sapping as a head-on wind.

From Brading, I cut down through Knighton. This patch is quite lovely, a rare flat part before being thrown back into Hill territory, going through Arreton and onwards up onto St George’s Down. There were a lot of similarities on this route with last week’s. But I had run most of these paths several times by now. Variety was a thing of the past. On the plus side, I am developing a good knowledge of some of the lesser trodden paths on the Island.

Brading Down
St Georges Down

From St George’s Down, I ran around the paths that circle Newport and lead on to Carisbrooke, this is all quite hilly area, but nothing compared to the long uphill struggle up on to Tennyson Down. That path just seems to go up and up, the strange thing is that last week I ran it the other way and it seemed then that the hills were none stop. I guess it’s just fatigue, so even having to run up a slight bump feels like climbing a mountain.

There are pros and cons to running a route that you know well. On the pro side, you know where you’re going and how far you have to go. But on the con side, you know where you are and how far you have to go. In this case, I also knew exactly what was in store. Sure, there are a few downhill stretches, but whenever there’s a down there’s always a really horrible up to balance things out.

There’s a lot to be said for taking on routes that you don’t know anything about. You have no clue what’s in store, so you can bumble on, safe in the knowledge that you have no knowledge of the route, every uphill or downhill is completely new. Mentally, I find that a much better place to be. Ignorance is bliss.

So yes, the Tennyson trail is littered with hills and the downhills are no easier as by then, everything hurts. One thing that most marathon runners will agree upon is the pain of the down stretches are often worse than going up.

But of course, this trail saves its secret weapon right until the end. After heading down past the golf course and through Freshwater Bay, the real sting in the tail looms. The climb up to the Tennyson monument. I struggle just walking up here, especially when I’m over 24 miles in.

Once at the monument, I toyed with the idea of sitting down to catch my breath, but as luck would have it, the monument was surrounded by tourists and walkers. I stumbled on, safe in the knowledge that the last stop at Alum Bay wasn’t far. I could have taken on another hill and gone down from Headon Warren, but instead, I took the much easier section around that last hill, much more civilised. Plus I was running on fumes, why make it any harder after a route like that?

Tennyson Trail looking towards Freshwater Bay
Tennyson Monument

I had arranged for a pick up from Caroline at Alum Bay. But it was so busy, the queue for the car park was backed up quite away. My brother was down for the day with his boys and I had hoped to meet them all there, but there was no chance. I’d completely forgot that it was a bank holiday and it was likely to be busy.

Once in the safety of home, showered and feeling a bit more human, Caroline handed me a box, emblazoned with the number 46. Inside was another amazing hand made medal, a gold star with the number 46 on it. This was made by my good friend Alex Hedley. I may not enjoy the marathons themselves, or at least the last few miles, but I really look forward to the secret medal at the end.

4 more to go! But what’s really nice is that I have a surprise week off next week. I had figured that I only had two weeks that I could miss to still do it within the year, but apparently I was wrong. I’m hoping this extra week will give me the much-needed rest to complete this thing on October 4th.

The donations to Mind are now just over £3600! This is amazing. There is still enough time to try and hit £5000 if I can. 😁

Finish at Alum Bay
46 medal







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.

Sign to the Longstone and Mottistone Down

45. Bad Idea Marathon

50/50 marathons

45. Bad Idea Marathon

23rd August 2020.

I’ve had many bad ideas in my life. This weekend’s marathon was just another one of those. The Bad Idea Marathon is basically a rerun of what should have been Marathon 44, but the heat got the better of me then and I pulled out at 17 miles. Having now run it, I can safely say that it wasn’t just the heat, but the route itself that caused me so much discomfort.

It’s easy to plot a route. I have an app that does it, all I need to do is draw a line and it cleverly snaps into a path or road. Then I blindly follow it! What it doesn’t do is alert me when I’ve chosen a stupid route. That would be a good feature.  This has led to many a pickle!

Originally when I plotted the route I was doing it as a night run and visiting apparently haunted locations of the Isle of Wight. That was the only criteria. However, if I’d have looked closer I would have seen that the route had climbs up onto St George’s Down, then Chillerton Down, followed by Mottistone Down and finally Tennyson Down! That’s a lot of climbing. Fine on fresh legs, but my legs are far from fresh. To put it into context, if my legs were fruit, they would be the bananas that you only use for making banana bread because they are essentially mush wrapped up in a brown skin! Yes, I know that bananas aren’t fruit, but you get what I mean?

On the plus side, it wasn’t a hot day, it was rather windy in fact. But I had the pleasure of the company of my good friend and fellow marathon runner Richie Harvey. He met me at the 10-mile mark, ready and raring to run the last 16 miles with me.

I made a slight alteration to the route from the last time I attempted it. I wanted to run from home so needed to take off a few miles. I didn’t do the section that goes along the downs road to Knighton. Instead, once I got to the end of Burnt House Lane, I turned right to Arreton and then joined a little path that goes up to the top of St George’s Down. Up here you get a great view that takes in the Arreton Valley and across Newport. Strangely there was a patch that had a couple of burnt out cars sat there. Not sure if this was a place where they do stock car racing or if they were just the remains of stolen joy ride cars? Either way, it gave the landscape a bit of a post-apocalyptic mad max sort of vibe!

Not far from the burnt out cars there’s a turning that takes you down a very steep section past Blackwater Quarry and then onto Blackwater itself. I’d arranged to meet Ritchie here. It was great to see him grinning at me as I approached. I hadn’t run with him for a while. We were supposed to be taking part in the Bruges Marathon together in October, but the current travel restrictions make this unlikely to happen.

St Georges Down

Normally, running with someone is a great way of keeping your mind off of the miles, and this was certainly the case for the first few miles. But it wasn’t long before I realised that I was struggling.

Chillerton down was the next uphill struggle of the route. I remember this well from the last time I tried it. I didn’t like it much that time either. The good thing with these climbs is that once you get to the top you can catch your breath and look around at the surrounding countryside, before plodding on to the next hill.

The last time I was at the top of Chillerton down it was dark and I got lost in a cornfield being freaked out at the slightest moth that brushed past me. This time I could clearly see where I went wrong. Onwards through Shorwell. From here we had a few miles of road, through Limerstone and Brighstone. By now I was in a lot of discomfort, my pace was sluggish at best. The wind was against us, making slow going, even slower. I was feeling bad for Ritchie as it was such slow going, he assured me it was no problem.

Running up onto Chillerton Down

Once through Brighstone, we headed on to Mottistone where we went back off road and up onto Mottistone Down. There’s a little path alongside Mottistone manor that winds its way up. By day, this is a lovely walk, by night, this is spook central. Once at the top of this path you come out into an opening and there stands Mottistone Longstone. There is much conjecture about the goings on and history of the stones. The two stones are said to be symbolic of good versus evil. Growing up, there were always rumours of weirdness happening at the longstone, sacrifices, witchcraft and evil doings. In reality, it was a Neolithic burial site. This probably fuelled some of the stories you hear to this day. All that being said, it’s a nice place to go and have a walk around, but maybe just in daylight.

This was the turning point, now it was just a case of getting to the finish in Carisbrooke. I was not in the best of places, but tried my best to ignore how I was feeling. We trudged on, eventually coming out onto the delightfully named, but horribly steep, Strawberry Lane. By now I was at 18 miles. I was done. I kept on having to stop to walk, my legs were in agony and my Achilles felt like they were on the verge of snapping. I really thought I was going to fail at this route, again!

Once at the top of Strawberry Lane I had a decision, I could stop and get picked up, or I could continue up onto Tennyson Down, with the knowledge that once up there, there would be no pickup point until Carisbrooke, which was the end of the route anyway. So I moaned about it and trudged on grimly, knowing that I was committed.

Mottistone Longstone

The last few miles were nothing short of pitiful. I did a run-walk combination. My feet felt like lead, I could barely lift them to dodge stones in the path. I was dizzy and nauseous. It’s fair to say, I wasn’t enjoying myself here. I came to the conclusion a while back that I really don’t like marathon running, and frankly, I’m not very good at them. Today just cemented my feelings.

I won’t dwell on this one any longer. As I write this journal entry I’m not feeling too groovy. I feel like the teabag that’s been used to make several cups of tea on a building site. Washed out and squeezed of every drop of anything that was good.

Caroline came to the rescue (again). Once home I collapsed in a heap on the bed and fell asleep. I eventually woke up again a couple of hours later. Caroline gave me this week’s medal, this time from Jodie and Peter Wilmott. It was a felted version of our dog Winnie. A brilliant likeness and another fantastic addition to my collection of amazing homemade medals.

Felted Winnie medal
Winnie with the medal







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.

in the tunnel

44. Bath Two Tunnels Marathon

50/50 marathons

44. Bath Two Tunnels Marathon

16th August 2020.

Socially distanced start

This week’s marathon was an actual proper event. None of this skipping around the Isle of Wight, I actually had to go somewhere, on the ferry, off of the Island to take part in the Bath Two Tunnels Marathon. My first proper event since Marathon 23, the Endurancelife Sussex Marathon.

Technically this is marathon 44.5. Last Saturday I set off to do the usual weekend marathon, but it didn’t really go to plan!

The temperatures last week were up to 34 in places. It was sweltering. The kind of heat you expect when you get off the plane in a hot country. Really humid, leaving you drained and sat in a pool of sweat just for thinking about doing something.

My plan was to set off early evening and then run in the cool of the night. Only there wasn’t really a cool of the night to be had! I set off from Newport at about 6:45 pm and headed on a bit of a tour of the haunted spots of the Isle of Wight. I figured that if I was going to do a night run, I should at least make it interesting.

The Island is famous for its many haunted places, it’s literally littered with ghosts and ghouls…. apparently! In my youth, I used to love going on ghost hunts with friends. We never saw anything remotely scary, but there was always someone who knew someone, who had a cousin that would say that they passed Knighton Gorges one night in 1985 and would swear blind there were griffins on top of the gate posts where there isn’t anything normally. Whenever I’ve been there it’s just the usual empty gate posts. For some reason, we loved scaring ourselves.

My route would have passed these places. Had I not bailed out early! My friend Guy ran with me for a bit. We both felt the heat. It was tough to run in. When Guy left me I was starting to struggle. It did get a little bit cooler as the night went on but I think the damage was done. By the time the light had completely gone, I found myself somewhere between Chillerton and Shorewell, lost in a cornfield, feeling rather dizzy and disoriented. I was only 17 miles in, but I knew this wouldn’t end well if I tried to push on. So I decided to call it a day and Caroline collected me. Disappointing, but definitely the right decision to make. When I got home I was suffering.

I can still complete this challenge in a year as I had 2 weeks’ spare. They are both used up now. The first week was back in February when storm Ciara hit.

The Two Tunnels 2020 event site

A socially distanced marathon

So onto this week. I’m currently on the ferry, making my way to Bath to take part in an actual marathon! After 20 weeks of running marathons on the Isle of Wight because everything had been canceled, there is finally an event taking place. This one is The Bath Two Tunnels Marathon. The event is organised by Relish Running. Like all event organisers, they have had a rough ride. But somehow they managed to get the approval for this event to take place, albeit under strict socially distanced rules. So it won’t be the same as other events, but I’m quite intrigued to see how it works and very much looking forward to a change of scenery. On the plus side, the hot weather seems to have broken a bit, so, fingers crossed there’s no need to pull out of this one?

I loved the opportunity to go on a bit of a road trip, this year was originally planned as an opportunity to travel about between races and use the camper for what it’s made for. Things haven’t worked out as originally planned, so it was a bit of a treat to get off of the Island and stay somewhere in the van.

I had booked in at a place called Pitch Perfect Camping. What a little gem of a campsite! Quite busy with families, but not unpleasantly so. It made for a nice peaceful evening.

My race didn’t start until just after 10:30, so I had the luxury of a bit of a lay-in. I woke up with a splitting headache. Not a great start. With the absence of alcohol the previous evening, I can only assume that I may be slightly dehydrated.

Once packed up, I made my way towards the race start. One of the measures in place was that no cars could park at the race start so we were directed to a park and ride where a bus would take us to the start. I was worried about getting on the wrong bus, but once on board, it was clear that everyone else on board was also going to the event.

The site itself was exactly like any other event, apart from the lack of people. They had planned the day so that different distances were spread out across the whole day, and every competitor had a designated start time. So there was never a time where there were the usual clusters of people.

When the time came for the marathon to start, everyone was called over and had to stand by cones that were laid out to ensure social distance. Masks were compulsory at this point. One by one, each runner was called up and set off at 5-minute intervals. Nothing like anything I’ve ever experienced, but essential measures for Relish Running to gain the approval to go ahead.

Devonshire tunnel entrance
Coming out of the first tunnel

Tunnel one – Devonshire Tunnel

The weather was overcast but very warm. The humidity was overpowering. I set off at around 10:30 and was already a puddle of sweat! The route was pretty simple. It had been adjusted from the usual route to avoid any possible congestion. We ran along a cycle track (familiar territory). This would have been the old railway line. The first tunnel on the route was the Devonshire Tunnel. Devonshire Tunnel is on the closed Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway mainline, between Midford and Bath Green Park railway stations, below high ground and the southern suburbs of Bath, England, emerging below the northern slopes of Combe Down village. It’s about 409 meters in length.

Entering the tunnel was pure refreshment. The air was so cool, a welcome relief from the humidity outside. Once through here there was a brief spell back out in the heat before we entered the second tunnel.

Combe Down Tunnel entrance
in the tunnel
A bridge along the Two Tunnels route

Tunnel Two – Combe Down Tunnel

Combe down tunnel opened in 1874, this 1,829-yard (1,672 m) long disused railway tunnel was once the UK’s longest without intermediate ventilation. The tunnel now forms part of the Two Tunnels Greenway walking and cycling path opened on 6 April 2013 and is the longest cycling tunnel in Britain.

Inside it is pitch black. There are lights, but they are very dim, making it hard to see anyone until they are right next to you. It’s used by a lot of cyclists, some of them bomb through without worrying about lights or any runners or walkers. Most are quite courteous though. As you get near the middle of the tunnel you can hear violin music. It’s oddly spooky! It’s a very long tunnel, it does feel like you’re never getting out, especially by the last lap.

Once through the tunnel, it wasn’t too far before the turn around point. Then we headed back along the same track. In total, we had to complete 4 laps to complete the marathon. I normally hate lapped marathons, but I came to relish going through the cool of the tunnels. I actually felt like it gave me a bit of a surge of energy.

It’s not the most picturesque of routes as you’re either in a tunnel or running along a cycle track. I believe under normal circumstances the marathon route takes in a bit of the surrounding countryside. But the thing that makes this event unique, are the tunnels. I would certainly recommend this event to anyone looking for a summer marathon. The organisation is superb and the marshals are so encouraging along the trail. One marshal, in particular, was lovely and really gave everyone a lot of encouragement. I swear it was the actress Olivia Colman! If not she really did look and sound like her.

This may be my last opportunity at a proper event before this challenge is done, so I made sure I enjoyed it, well, as much as you can enjoy running a marathon!

The finish line
Finished, literally

More medals

Once home, I had the extra joy of being handed another homemade medal from my lovely friend Beverley-Jo Fisher. This was supposed to be for last week, but I blew it, so I was so chuffed to receive it today. There were two packages handed to me by Caroline. I love the intrigue of trying to guess who it might be from. Inside one box was a hand-drawn slate medal with a rather worn looking shoe drawn on to it, quite apt as I have really been going through the running shoes, in fact, I must get a new pair. The second was a picture disc of a 7″ single of Hole in my Shoe, by Neil From the Young Ones! Thank you Bee, I love them both and the lovely message in the card. Where on earth did you manage to get that picture disc from?

Neil Hole in my shoe







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 finish

43. Ventnor Fringe / Stella Star Marathon

50/50 marathons

43. Ventnor Fringe / Stella Star Marathon

2nd August 2020.

The start

This week should have seen the Ventnor Fringe taking place, but of course, it’s yet another casualty of 2020. So it was suggested that I could do a Ventnor Fringe Marathon. Fine in principle, but one of the noticeable features of Ventnor is that it is very hilly, so I wanted to avoid doing laps around Ventnor, that would be ridiculous. so I plotted a route from Cowes that would cut through the centre of the Island and then finish with a lap around Ventnor.

It’s been quite warm over the past few days, so to avoid a repeat of the Wonder Woman Dash, I set off at 7 am when it was a bit cooler. I started with a nice seafront run to Gurnard, I never tire of this route. In Gurnard, I was joined by Guy on his bike. He brought his drone along to try and get some footage. It was great to have him along. We went down the cycle track and then continued on the track from Shide. I have done this route many times, but I do appreciate the flat, traffic-free path. Guy zoomed off ahead to get the drone fired up. I caught up with him around Merstone station. It’s really quite lovely around there at the moment, the cornfields look great.

en route to Ventnor

Guy stayed with me to ensure I found the correct path that would take me in the direction I needed to go. For some reason, this turn off has been somewhat elusive to me, so I always miss it and end up running to Sandown instead. Once I was pointed in the right direction he headed back home, leaving me at the start of the Worsley Trail.

I’ve used this route before, most recently on the Monumental Marathon. It’s a nice route but the hills are relentless and quite steep. The trail goes up behind Appledurcombe and onto Stenbury Down. Right at the top is the Worsley monument and a beautiful panoramic view of the Isle of Wight. Last time I was here it was difficult to see a few feet in front of me, but today I was treated to the Isle of Wight in all its finery.

I didn’t dwell up here, it was pretty windy and I was keen to push on. On my way down the fields were full of sheep. I came across an unfortunate sheep with its head stuck in the wire fence. Poor bugger looked like it had been there for a while. I managed to stretch the wire enough for it to go free. It looked most disgruntled.

Stenbury down

From here I continued passed Nettlecombe farm, through Whitwell and then on to Niton. I wanted to tie in a visit to St Catherine’s Lighthouse as part of the route. I’ve always liked this part of the Island. I like walking the dog down there and finishing off in the Budle pub. No pub today though. I ran around the lighthouse and then back up into the road towards St Lawrence.

In 2014 there was a landslide from the undercliff that blocked the route between Niton and Ventnor. It has since been opened up for walkers or cyclists. The road itself is an idyllic route for running, picturesque, and traffic-free, a joy on a nice day like today. The surrounding fauna has taken over so the roadside is fringed by Buddleias. Loads of bees and butterflies, lovely.

St Catherines Lighthouse

Once through St Lawrence, I just needed to go around Ventnor before heading to the finish point. Sounds easy. Nope. As mentioned earlier, Ventnor is seriously hilly. With only a couple of miles to go and legs really feeling the distance, I made the mistake of going up a road called Seven Sisters Road. I should have known from the name that it wouldn’t be nice. My last attempt at running the Seven Sisters was at the Endurancelife Sussex Marathon, the last proper marathon before lockdown wiped the whole year out. Obviously this wasn’t the same, but the name should have given me a clue.

Originally the plan was to finish at Ventnor Exchange, the home of the Fringe festival,  but it was closed, so my finish was at the bandstand in Ventnor Park. It was lovely to see Caroline and a group of friends there waiting to cheer me in, such a boost. I actually didn’t feel too bad for a change and was happy to sit around and just chat.

Caroline gave me a package to open, it’s like Christmas every Sunday 😊. Inside was a plaque with a painting of our dog Winnie’s mother, Stella. She sadly passed away a year after we got Winnie, such a lovely dog. On the back, it said ‘Stella Star Marathon 43 August 2020’. This is such a nice personal gift. This was from Ben Sullivan. There was also a letter from him, I know the Charity Mind is important to him. Thank you Ben, this was such a thoughtful thing to do. There were also some beers that came along with this, very nice. I will enjoy those.

Light at the end of the tunnel

Another one down. Only 7 more to go! Still seems a lot, but then 1 marathon is enough. But I definitely feel that I’ll complete the challenge now. Famous last words, I’ll probably break a leg next week!!! There is still hope that a couple of the marathons I had booked in will still take place. The New Forest Marathon still plans to go ahead if they can get the final approval. The Bath Two Tunnels marathon, once canceled, they now have the approval to go ahead, so they just need enough runners to make it worthwhile. Quite excited as I honestly thought everything would be canceled.

I’m so pleased to see the donations for Mind on my Just Giving page are now at £3,126! This is amazing. I’d love to try and get to £5000 before this challenge is out.

The finish
Stella medal

For Stella and Paddy xxx







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.

42. The Meaning of Life Marathon

50/50 marathons

42. The Meaning of Life Marathon

26th July 2020.

ready to go

“The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42”

Douglas Adams – The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

So, I’ve made it to number 42, I never thought I’d make it this far. I guess it’s made me a bit thoughtful, but, don’t panic, I haven’t drunk enough to start having the meaning of life conversation. But it did make me wonder what the hell I was going to do this week for a marathon and with the number 42 looming, I figured I should do something of meaning, more than just running a marathon.

Last year I regularly went out and plogged! A weird phrase that generally raises eyebrows and makes people question if you’re into weird sexual practices. No.

The word plogging is an English-Swedish combination of jogging and plocka upp, which means “pick up” in Swedish. Swedish speakers use plogga, a combination of plocka upp with jogga (“jog”). Both words, though, refer to the same activity of picking up litter while out on a jog.

So there you have it, litter picking while running. I started purely because I cannot stand litter and Cowes was bad. Not as bad as some places, but any litter is bad enough. The thing is, once you’ve focused on it, you can’t help but see it, wherever you go. I’ve been brought up to not leave rubbish behind, so to me, it’s anti-social behavior and it just brings the area down. But, more importantly, we’re seeing the negative effects of the rubbish that gets left in a natural habitat and especially the oceans. It’s literally choking the planet and the majority of people are happy to turn a blind eye to it! I don’t get it? So rather than just get wound up by it, I started to go out and pick it up, bag it up and dispose of it properly.

There’s always a lot of focus around beach cleans, and rightly so. But I tend to focus on the streets around where I live. I think people generally assume this is dealt with by the council, but it doesn’t seem to be at all. We live by the coast, so it doesn’t take much for that rubbish to find it’s way into the water and end up out at sea.

I would go out and cover a 3-mile area and collect between 2 – 4 bags of rubbish, just around the streets where I live! But the worse thing about it was, no matter how many times I did it, it was always back, just as bad the next week.

The trouble with plogging is that it is back-breaking work, so I could never do enough before my back said ‘Stop!’

When I started this marathon challenge I decided to stop doing it, purely because I didn’t want to cause a back issue. It gave me sciatic pains, so I needed to play safe. But, the nagging feeling I get when I see the growing amount of litter is still there.

Anyway, I’m rambling a bit, so I’ll cut to the point. Today’s marathon was a plogging marathon. It was slow, very slow. I was out for eight and a half hours, picking up rubbish. I started off going up and down the streets of Cowes, this way I could easily go back and drop full bags at home. Then I headed down along the cycle track and up the other side of the river to Island harbour. Back along Fairlee road, through Newport, and then back up into Cowes and home.

I managed to gather 10 big bin liners full of rubbish before I had to stop for fear of hurting myself. It’s not necessarily picking up the rubbish that is problematic, it’s carrying it while running that is the problem. It gets very heavy and awkward to get into a flow. Actually, you don’t get into a flow. I think I would run about 10 steps before I had to stop again to pick something up.

Plogging in Cowes
Bag of rubbish
Collected bags of litter

Problems ahead

While in the lockdown period, it was nice to see nature being given a break from us. It gave me hope and I naively thought that perhaps this could be the thing to rebalance things a bit. I was wrong! It seems we’ve come out of lockdown with an attitude that we’re going to make up for lost time. A vast amount of rubbish is being left. I was running along the river and picked up so much rubbish left by people who had clearly sat there because it’s nice, but then weirdly decided it’s ok to just leave their rubbish!

I found people sitting by the river, enjoying their own picnic, yet they were surrounded by plastic and cans! Under normal circumstances, I’d be wondering why they didn’t pick it up themselves. I realise they shouldn’t have to, it shouldn’t be there in the first place. But now everyone is so over conscious of other people’s germs that there is no way they’re going to touch it.

Which brings me on to another issue that is clearly getting out of hand. Masks and gloves. I lost count of how many I picked up today. Most of these masks are made from a plastic substrate. They aren’t going anywhere for a long time, and there are a lot of single-use masks being used right now. But then they are just being discarded. Slung by the roadside. How is that acceptable? If people don’t want to pick up a used can or bottle, you can be sure they won’t go near a mask or surgical gloves!

Ok, I’ll leave that there before my head explodes. I found today really discouraging, so am feeling the need to vent. Not helped by the fact that on the last few miles back I went back up the cycle track. I had already been down that way and filled up 2 bags, yet on my way back, the litter was already appearing again! At the bottom of my street I picked up about 6 empty beer cans, all the same brand, and in the same place, it was obviously the same person. I picked them up before I headed to Newport. By the time I got back, there were 2 more!

As runs go, this was a weird one. I can’t really call it a run as there was very little proper running, but believe me, it was far more exhausting than a regular marathon.

Once back and thoroughly showered, Caroline sat me down and gave me not one, but 3 homemade medals. The first from my brother Chris was a necklace with a 42 pendant on it that comes from the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Then from my lovely friend Mike Atkinson a second medal of a running man video box with a digital runner embedded into it. The third was a 7” single of Running in the Family by Level 42, but the best thing was that it was signed with a personal message to me from Mark King! The effort that my family and friends have gone to, to give me a medal at the end of these runs has just amazed me. I am so thankful to all of them 😊

My Run Keeper app had a bit of a wobbly and only recorded about six and a half hours of the route. I failed to switch it on for the first few miles and then it must have paused somewhere along the way, so sadly it’s not a complete record. I was hoping to share the rather peculiar route.

signed copy of Running in the family

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.

Pint of beer

41. I Feel Fine Marathon

50/50 marathons

41. I Feel Fine Marathon

19th July 2020.

Marathon 41 starting group

So to give the name a bit of context, at last week’s Wonder Woman Dash I was in bits, the last lap broke me and I finished up curled up on the green, unable to communicate. This week was a completely different experience. At the end of the marathon, I was asked how I felt and I was happy to reply ‘I feel fine!’

I have spent the entire week in different states of fatigue, at times completely knackered, other times a bit washed out and could do with a lie-down. So, in short, I wasn’t relishing doing it all again this weekend. The days leading up to today have been rather hot, so I was worried it would be another hot marathon. Luckily the gods of drizzle had different plans.

I’d been contacted by some other runners who were going to run the virtual Southampton Marathon and wondered if I’d like to join them? I jumped at the chance because, quite frankly, I hate running marathons on my own. I had company last week and, even though I may have been suffering, I really did love having the company.

The plan was to meet up at the Bargeman’s rest pub and use that as a base. We’d do a few different loops that all came back to the Bargeman’s so that people could have food and drink. I thought it best to run from Cowes first, just in case I was flagging behind, then at least I’d have A few miles in the bank.

I set off at 8:15. it was my perfect running weather. A fine drizzle, but not cold, just refreshing. The cycle track is pretty sheltered so I wasn’t getting too wet, it was nice as I ran along to hear the rain on the trees, and that lovely warm damp smell you get in summer when it rains.

At the Bargeman’s there were about 8 other runners. Some were going to do their own pace and choice of route, I was happy to just go along with whatever the majority were doing. We all set off at 9 and went at different paces. There was a group of 4 of us that were going to do 10-minute miles so we stuck together for the entire thing.

We went back up the cycle track, into Cowes, along the seafront to Gurnard, and then back down the main road towards Newport and drinks stop at the Bargeman’s. The rain was not stopping so we were all soaked. Some had thought this through and had t shirt changes at their cars, a wise move. Not me though!

For the second loop, we were going to go up Mountjoy, but that Idea was dropped, so we just went back up and down the cycle track again. To be honest, we were chatting all the way so I didn’t even notice the route. At one point I checked my distance expecting it to be about 14, but was delighted to see 17.5! That literally never happens.

Once back at the Bargeman’s we had a quick refreshment stop and off we went, this time out towards Island Harbour. I only had about 3 miles left to do and I knew this last stretch would push me over the 26.2, but I felt ok still! I never feel good in the last few miles, so I was quite pleasantly surprised. I wish they could all be like this.

I was 4 miles ahead of the others so when we got back to the pub they still had 4 miles to do, but I could sit and relax, safe in the knowledge that I only have 9 more marathons to go before I can hang up my trainers and sit on the couch.

All in all, not too shabby, I could even eat and have a beer afterward, normally I can’t stomach anything, but for some reason, today was Ok. Caroline came to rescue me with some dry clothes and also gave me a bag full of nice treats and a brilliant little medal from my friend Richie. Richie has been a great running partner over the years so it was really nice to get this gift. Richie, the vegan gummy bears didn’t stand a chance!

Marathon 41 at the end
Finishers beer







Quick update on the donations for Mind. Last week’s Wonder Woman dash seemed to work wonders. The total is currently £2566, which is absolutely amazing. Who knew that running in a dress was the secret to raising money for charity?

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.