When I first sent that message to my dear friend asking her if she thought I could run a marathon and she came back saying 100% yes, I didn’t believe her. I went through 20 weeks of training with highs and lows and injuries. I found myself on that start line still not believing her. Still wondering, questioning would I? Could I? If im being honest even after I did it it I still didn’t believe i could do it for a good while.That was less than 18 months ago. I’m about to pack my bags and fly to Iceland to run marathon number 10!
And on the simplest level that’s why I started Marathon in a Day. As you have probably seen me plugging it like mad on social media, you’ll know a bit about it by now, but you won’t know why we started it.
A virtual marathon, well who on earth would be crazy enough to do that? Well I would and Kev would and quite frankly almost everyone we spoke to in the lead up to launch would! That’s because on the face of it 26.2 feels incredibly terrifying, but when you break it down and strip out those pesky rules, it becomes a little bit more achieveable in our brains!
I personally wanted to open up the door for people just like me, who think to themselves there is no way I’m capable of doing that! I was that girl, and trust me if I can then anyone can. Now you ask me if I want to run a race of any distance from 1 mile to 100miles and I will most likely drop what I’m doing and come meet you at the start line.
Running a marathon not only opened up my eyes and my mind to how incredibly strong and capable I was, but it gave me the biggest confidence boost in the world. When I first started training I was scared to show up at a run club, and now I help lead it. When I first started training I would go out wearing all the layers to cover up parts of my body I hated. Now you’ll see me running around town repping the #sportsbrasquad because this body is so powerful, how could I ever be ashamed of it! Running a marathon taught me everything I now know about myself, it gave me the opportunity to escape the demons of my past and rebuild myself in to the strongest version of me, a me I was truly and am truly proud of.
It gave me strength, confidence, belief, resilience, grit and it introduced me to a whole host of the most amazing people I now get to call friends.
I can honestly say crossing that finish line changed my life in the best way.
I’m not guaranteeing it can or will change yours, but it will give you the opportunity to do something you never thought was possible. That might be running 26.2 miles or it might be grabbing a group of friends and finishing a mile, a 5k, a 10k, a half marathon or anything in between. Whatever that ‘I could never do that’ distance is for you then guess what this is your time to do it. Take breaks, make it fun, and smash your dreams wide open!
And it doesn’t stop there if you’re like me and 26.2 is just something you love/have to do then guess what you still have an ‘I could never do that’ be it run sub 5, sub4, sub 3, heck lets join Nike and even go Sub 2! This is your chance. There are no* rules, you just have to run!
Once you do that thing, that impossible thing that you never ever were capable of doing, then guess what! You realise you’re capable of doing anything, and that’s where the real fun begins…
I’m only one of two behind this idea and these are just my reasons, Kev has his own, and there are a million more to get involved.
Come run with us this September!
*We do have a few very limited rules because of you know, the Law! You can check them out on our website!
Running a marathon at night gave a whole new feel to the pre-marathon set up. My normal nervous morning routine of force feeding myself porridge and downing a coffee would now be a full day of waiting around for the clock to strike 8pm. I ate my biggest meal at lunch time, my normal pre-race meal an hour before I left, and it all felt a bit odd. I was pretty anxious leading up to it, the weather forecast didn’t look great, I felt tired and was imaging all the aches and pains. I know it sounds silly but in my 12 in 12 challenge this was the only time I would have a ‘proper’ break, it had been a full 8 weeks since the Sub4 Mega Babe, and I felt a little out of the game.
Let’s start form the beginning. I turned up to the start line of Edinburgh marathon on tired legs, I had run a tricky off road marathon just 2 weeks prior and I had told my self over and over again that any chance at sub4 here was unrealistic at best. It had been insanely hot in Edinburgh in the lead up, just the day before we’d been down on the beach swimming in the sea.
At the start line I was lucky enough to bump in to Steve and Mel of instagram, who I chatted to, hugged and got the insta pictures sorted. It helped to be standing there with people and distracting my mind from the questions of what was possible. They are both great runners and it’s always a joy to meet people from this community I often feel I’m an imposter in.
It’s pretty obvious now that I love running locally, the South Downs is the Queen of running routes, and although I spend an awful lot of time running around some of the same bits, it never gets old!
Arun River Marathon is the 2nd race in the annual Sussex Trail Events river series, and for me it was my third of the series, with just the Lunar-Tic left to complete. Rocking up at the start line was a little different this time as I’d convinced Emma to join me. She is a super runner, much better than me, but hasn’t done much in the way of off-road and well I convinced her it’d be a great idea to mix up her road marathons this year.
I sat in a different seat on Sunday, one where I got to scream and shout all day long at incredible people doing this incredible thing, called the London Marathon. It’s been a while since I’ve been on that side of the fence and last time I was I had no appreciation for what these incredible humans were doing. Now I knew! I knew that some of them were running for reasons you can’t even comprehend, some are fighting for times, some are raising the funds, some are proving something to themselves, some are proving something to everyone else and some are just running for the love of being on two feet. Although I could never 100% know what each person was going through (every race for every person is different), I still knew the looks, the tears, the hugs, the pains and I knew that if that was me I would need the crowd to rally and bring me home. So I set up shop and made sure I was the loudest and probably most obnoxious spectator, but hey I think it helped a few people out!
Let’s get one thing straight before I start. If you want to run a road marathon, run the Brighton marathon! It’s tough both mentally and physically, but it’s beautiful and the support is sensational. I’ve run it twice and will run it again and nothing will stop me from thinking that’s a good idea. As long as my body holds up I’ll be back in 2018, and I’m telling anyone who will listen that it’s a good idea to join me.
You remember that time (about 4 weeks ago) when I said that Dark Star was going to be my hardest Marathon of the year, well I massively lied!
Yesterday I woke up at 5:45 and tried to get dressed in the dark and make minimal noise to not wake anyone up (mainly the dog). I shoved a bagel in my mouth, poured a hot cup of coffee to go and jumped in the car! Having a 10am race start last weekend made this 8am kick off feel tough!
This time last year I was well underway with marathon training for marathon number 1. it’s crazy to think i’m now sat here obsessing over number 5. I’d signed up for two half marathons as part of that initial Brighton Marathon training plan and low and behold I was doing it again this year; in some ways feeling completely different and in others completely the same.
“Well that WAS all going so well” words I uttered to myself and fellow runners far too frequently on Sunday. It was of course Marathon Number 1 of 2017, Dark Star. I’d heard the ‘horror’ stories, of the mud and the toughness, but I’d signed up anyway because I really want that shiny medal collection, HA!
Why am I doing it?
The challenge, the love, and the continued push spring to mind. You’ve all heard about my new year’s resolution and this really started there, by just saying yes. There is also a large part of me that is struggling with everything that is going on in this world at the moment. I don’t know how to deal with that on a day to day basis but for me being a woman in sport, and using that for some form of a positive outlet seems like a good place to start.
What am I scared of?
Almost everything; Not completing it, hurting myself or losing any love for running.
What about my other goals?
Yep I know, I’m trying to have my cake and eat it too! I am still aiming for the sub 4, the 22 minute 5k, the sub 1:50 half and just about everything else I can think to add to my running dreams list. My bottom line remains that this is all about having fun, and seeing what I’m capable of, that won’t ever change. That doesn’t mean for a second though that I need to set my aims lower, goals should push and drive you and I’d prefer to be aiming high and missing the mark, than accepting where I am as my ‘limit’.
I love running. Having only ever run 3 marathons in my life time and upping that to 12 in 12 is a massive challenge, but I don’t think I should be asking for money to do it, the support I got in raising money for mind last year was exceptional and immense and I could not ask for anything more than that. I personally however will be picking a charity each month for each marathon/ultra that I will be donating the equivalent spend of the race entry, fuel and clothing to. This is a reminder to me to be super grateful for my legs, my body, my mind and what it allows me to do. I’ll list them on the race recap posts as well to give them a bit of air time and if anyone wants to support that cause in my name then that is just added bonus. If you would like to recommend a charity, then please drop me a note!
What’s the plan?
It will all start on Sunday at Dark Star Marathon and will end at Portsmouth Coastal Marathon in December. The plan will see me run in at least 3 different countries (NYC ballot place pending), run my first ultra, and hopefully survive unscathed physically and mentally. My marathons and races become my training runs and the in-between is all about refreshing my legs and recovering from any damage. There are some unknowns on races as I wait to hear about places or for registration to open so the full plan will be finalised in due course. The current plan is 10 marathons, mixture of road and trail, ranging from 26-28 miles and 2 ultras a 30 and a 38 mile.
As always I’ll be blogging it, social media-ing it, and basically talking to anyone who will allow me air time about it. Follow it all via #clareruns12in12. I welcome all the spectators, runners, jelly baby donators and general well-wishers to join me on what will be a mammoth journey.
Wish me luck