- London Marathon
This is where my running journey started in 1998 and totally changed my life. In the summer of 1997, while lifting stuff in my flat my back went into spasm. I had never experienced back pain before and was prescribed pretty strong painkillers and signed off work. While I was off, I decided that I didn’t want to be affected by this for the rest of my life and so I entered the London Marathon to give me a target to aim for. This was back in the day where you filled in an entry form that was inside the race magazine and sent it off in the post along with your cheque. A few months later and the acceptance magazine popped through the letterbox. I trained with a couple of friends who were also doing it and my goal was simply to “get round it”. The feeling when I crossed the finish line was something else though. It was possibly the first time in my life that I felt I had achieved something meaningful and it gave me the inspiration to change career and study to become a Personal Trainer. After all, I felt that if I could do it, anyone could do it and I wanted to be able to inspire others to do something they could only previously dream of.
- Edinburgh Marathon Festival
I’ve run the Edinburgh Marathon several times and indeed my marathon PB of 3:19 is set there albeit on a different route to what it is now. The most memorable run there has to be that one from last year where I ran all 4 races. I had planned a much bigger challenge, along with Allison, to run Paris and Loch Ness Marathons and fundraise for Macmillan in memory of loved ones lost to cancer. In my case it was for my dad who died in 2013. As part of the challenge, and to eat into the overall mileage I was set to do, I decided to run all 4 races. I had been inspired by a friend Mark Cooper who had done “The Hairy” a few years before. I was fortunate enough to speak to Mark as well as Kenneth Heney and Craig Mackay, who had also done all 4 previously. I always believed that I could do it and it was just a case of figuring out how I would do it. The whole weekend was amazing with a huge buzz around the 10k and 5k on the Saturday but the hard work was to come on the Sunday. I had to race the Half Marathon in order to meet my friend Fraser to take me back to the centre of Edinburgh on his motorbike in time for the marathon. The Half was taken care of but busy traffic on the way back meant that I had to sprint up Regents Road and be the last person to cross the start line (just before they lifted the timing mats!). The marathon itself was the easiest run I’ve ever done as there was no pressure on me and all I had to do was to get to the finish. I enjoyed seeing some people I knew along the way including Ginnie aka Miss Running Bean and all the wonderful people at the Macmillan cheer points. The last mile or 2 were torture but I kept on moving and crossing the finish line was amazing. The most memorable bit was somehow becoming the poster boy for the whole event not only for EMF but also Macmillan Cancer Support. The one and only time I will ever be a poster boy!
- Loch Ness Marathon
For me, one of the best marathons in the UK outside London. The scenery overlooking the Loch on the bus journey to the start is incredible and the view facing you at the start is incredible. I’ve now done this race twice and the most memorable one was last year partly as it was the last race of my challenge and saw me surpass 1000 miles since the start in Paris but more so for my performance. I got through 16 miles on 3:08 pace which is not only the fastest I’ve ever run in a marathon but also interesting given that the first 18 miles is undulating. I struggled a bit from the top of the hill from 18.5 miles to 20 and walked and jogged the rest of the way but still managed to record my 3rd fastest marathon ever. My lack of long runs (15 miles being the furthest and on one occasion) in preparation accounted for the late struggle but I put the pace for the rest of it down to teaching Metafit and also cycling back and forward to work everyday. I had bought a bike towards the end of July but never knew how to drop down gears and so I was cycling everywhere in top gear, which is where the power came from!
- Cool Summer Mornings 5k
This is probably a surprising inclusion next to 3 big marathons but this one is pretty special to me. We’ve done the race 4 times now while on holiday in Florida and I enjoy it because its a stunning course next to Lake Minneola and my in-laws take part so it becomes a family event. We’ve done this race 4 times now and the most memorable was last year when I finished 3rd overall AND recorded a 5k PB of 19:51. I’ve won age category prizes there before but 3rd is the highest finish I’ve ever had in any race.
- Paris Marathon
Who wouldn’t want to run a marathon in Paris? It’s memorable not only for my first continental marathon but also for the simple fact that you get to run down the Champs Élysėes, the only other time in the year they close it to traffic with the other time being for the finish of the Tour de France. We’ve done that race 3 times now, the first in 2010 a few months before we got married, last year at the start of our challenge and this year. It was the first one, though, in 2010 that was the most memorable and not necessarily for the result! I was delighted to finish in 3:25, which is one of my fastest ever marathons but it’s what I learned after the race that makes it more memorable. I learned that day that there are no escalators on the Paris Metro, none anywhere near where we were going anyway as by the time we were heading back to our hotel, my legs had seized up and I had to walk downstairs backwards! After that, we made a point in booking a hotel within close walking distance to the finish by the Arc de Triomphe! Needless to say the remainder of our trip and getting off the plane in Edinburgh the next day was interesting!
That’s my top 5 running moments and I hope you have enjoyed reading about them. Now it’s your turn! What are your top 5? Either comment below or write your own post, tag me in it and I look forward to reading about them 🙂