Sunday, 25 October 2009

I Love Paris

I was in London on Wednesday for work. London is a bit like a zoo – it’s fun to go and point at the animals but I wouldn’t want to live there. While I was there, I bumped into my good friend, Claire. We trained at the same law firm in East Anglia, where Claire is now a partner. Towards the end of my time with the firm, I was training for the 2004 London Marathon. Claire had been an accomplished junior runner and had plenty of sound advice, which was invaluable for a complete novice like me. Claire has forgotten more about distance running than I ever knew and, I think it’s fair to say, she hasn’t forgotten much. Later in 2004, I raced against Paula Radcliffe in the New York Marathon. While Paula was winning, I was sauntering around the five boroughs in a leisurely 4 hours 52 minutes. During her school days, Claire too had raced against Paula, the principal difference being that Claire had a realistic chance of winning. I’ll be keeping Claire’s advice at the forefront of my mind when I renew my own rivalry with Paula on 1 November in NYC. Admittedly, she’s the bookies’ favourite, but I don’t shy from a challenge.

No idea who the German chap on the left is. At least it's only photographs they're invading these days*

As well as articles for and, this week I’ve been preparing an update for Macmillan’s newsletter. Macmillan’s travelling support was fantastic in Berlin and I’m looking forward to seeing them again in New York. Macmillan’s Marie Turnbull has provided great support for fivemarathons, not least sending over some fantastic Macmillan coffee mugs with “We Dunk” emblazoned on the side.

My physio Alan ( has been busy working on my left illiotibial band. I had felt just a small pain in my left knee and Alan quickly traced it to my IT band. As well as curing the piriformis and plantar fascia issues which I took to my first sessions with Alan, he has been invaluable in finding, and resolving, issues before they’ve had a chance to get started. Alan’s now off on holiday, so Tuesday was our last session of the fivemarathons campaign - Alan’s colleague Ali will get me ready to race next week. It’s absolutely the case that I couldn’t have got this far without Alan. Not only is he a first class physio, he’s a great bloke. Being able to share a laugh certainly helps take your mind off the pain of Alan’s elbows working their magic.

I'm still investigating possible races for next year. The Jurassic Coast is already booked in for the end of March, and the Vancouver Marathon for 2nd May. I’m also looking for a marathon which will give me every opportunity of running a new PB. Something with a flattish course, and not too many entrants - I don't want to waste time and energy jostling with other runners for the first six miles. Like San Francisco and Congleton, I want to be straight down to business. If I'm being particularly picky, I also want a race where the water stations hand out bottles and not cups. Choking yourself trying to get down half a cup of water, most of which is going down your front, is nobody's idea of fun. Having said that, a smaller race, with fewer runners, is unlikely to have a deal with a mineral water company to provide the tens of thousands of bottles which are required.

Laith and I sat down this week to discuss possible marathons. I had thought of signing up for a race in February, but as Laith rightly pointed out, it’s probably not enough time to fully recover from the fivemarathons and then prepare properly for a really quick run. It’s therefore looking like October / November 2010, with the plan being to get the Jurassic Coast and Vancouver successfully out of the way, then devote six months to mounting a proper challenge at a fast race. The Auckland Marathon ( could be just the ticket. Since inviting me to consider Auckland last week, my friend Rachel is getting married! Many, many congratulations – I’d never have believed it when we met 18 years ago!

"Christiana, will you marry me?". Curiously, the German camera
crew didn't feature Christiana's 9 foot banner with "Nein" on it.

Unter den Linden, 20 September 2009

Also under consideration for 2010 or 2011 is the Paris Marathon. I’m not sure that my Union Jack waving antics in the final straight would go down all that well with the French. Perhaps I’ll invest in a French flag instead. I understand it’s a white cross on a white background. Hopefully that won’t prompt the same outrage as my comments about Hull. While I’m unnecessarily upsetting people, I’ll answer an email I received this week asking what I’m looking forward to most of all when the fivemarathons are complete, this time next week. First priority will be a huge steak. I haven’t clawed my way to the top of the food chain just to eat vegetables. I’ve made a few jokes about vegetarianism in previous blogs, which fellow omnivores have pointed out could be construed as offensive. Fortunately, most of the vegetarians haven’t had the strength to protest.

*Calm down, Madam, it's a joke


Barcelona, 1 March 2009 3 hrs 57 mins (new PB)
London, 26 April 2009 4 hrs 01 mins
San Francisco, 26 July 2009 3 hrs 43 mins (new PB)
Berlin, 20 September 2009 3 hrs 46 mins
New York, 1 November 2009


Coniston 14 (14 miles), 28 March 2009 1 hr 48
Humber Half Marathon, 15 June 2009 1 hr 40 (new PB)
Congleton Half Marathon, 11 October 2009 1 hr 33 (new PB)

This week’s training schedule:

Monday, 19 October 2009 2.5 miles easy
Tuesday, 20 October 2009 6 miles steady
Wednesday, 21 October 2009 London
Thursday, 22 October 2009 4 miles easy
Friday, 23 October 2009 Rest
Saturday, 24 October 2009 3 miles easy
Sunday, 25 October 2009 4 miles steady

Christies is the charity which provides funds for, and supports, the work of the world renowned specialist cancer centre, The Christie, in Manchester (see Macmillan provides practical, medical, financial and emotional support for people affected by cancer and campaigns for better cancer care (see

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NYC Marathon, 2004

NYC Marathon, 2004
NYC Marathon, 2004