Tuesday, 23 December 2008


Welcome to my opening blog for fivemarathons.com! It’s a simple idea – run five marathons in 2009 in support of Christies and Macmillan. Christies is the charity which provides funds and supports the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see www.christies.org). Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see www.macmillan.org.uk).

Barcelona, 1 March 2009
London, 26 April 2009
San Francisco, 26 July 2009
Berlin, 20 September 2009
New York, 1 November 2009

While the idea may be simple, the reality is proving a little tougher! I’m certainly not a naturally talented runner: “too heavy and too slow” was an early professional opinion on my likely chances of success. Still, there are grounds for optimism – by adjusting my diet and getting on a strict training regime, I’ve lost nearly 3 stones and I’m marginally quicker than when I started.

I do know what I’ve let myself in for – I ran the London and New York marathons in 2004. I also did all of the training for the Dublin marathon in 2005. Unfortunately, 2 weeks before the race, one of my colleagues kindly shared an awful cold with me. Not being able to run was incredibly frustrating. That brings me right up to date: I’m currently suffering from a bout of man-flu, which has stopped me training yesterday and today. Hopefully, I’ll be running again in a couple of days. Tempting as it is, it would be plain stupid to run right now. As long as it doesn’t happen again, everything should be ok. The further you get into your training, and the nearer the race, the more paranoid you become about illness: ensuring you sleep enough, plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, vitamin supplements, antibacterial handwash, the list goes on.

NYC Marathon, November 2004

Other than the current ailment, training is going well. The plan had been for London to be the first marathon, but based on progress in training, we decided to confirm Barcelona for 1 March 2009. Also, starting earlier in the year gives more time to recover between the marathons. Training hasn’t been all plain sailing, though. In October, I was out on a training run in St Helens when I picked up an unexpected injury. As I ran on the pavement next to a dual carriageway, I heard a car behind me accelerate hard. As it passed me, something hit me on my rear and lifted me off my feet. It felt like I’d been shot! I nervously put my hand down to the injury and it was soaking wet. Much to my relief, it wasn’t blood but rather freshly squeezed apple juice. Two hooligans in the car had launched an apple at my rear and scored a direct hit. Less charitable colleagues suggested that it would have been hard for them to miss. An apple launched at 30 miles an hour, from a car doing at least 70 miles an hour, would have had a closing speed of over 100 miles an hour, which probably explained the black bruise the size of a large apple on my rear. When I related the tale to some friends, one kindly observed that I’d been the victim of a drive-by fruiting. Another helpfully suggested that it might be safer to avoid running in St Helens at certain times of the day: after dark, and during the day.

Many thanks for tuning in and showing your support – I hope you’ll continue to log-in right the way through until the New York Marathon in 2009. I wish you all a Happy Christmas - as you can see from this week’s training schedule (below), I’ll be out running 5 miles on Christmas Day. If I time that right, I should avoid too much responsibility in the kitchen, which will be a blessing for all concerned.

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 22 December 2008 6 miles fartlek
Tuesday, 23 December 2008 Rest
Christmas Eve 10 mins jog, then 10 x 40 secs uphill, jogging back down, then 10 mins jog
Christmas Day 5 miles easy
Boxing Day Rest
Saturday, 27 December 2008 Rest
Sunday, 28 December 2008 15 miles training run at moderate pace

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004