20 Odd Miles!

Something that I tend to do is run a fair amount on Saturdays. This is generally because it’s a day off and I can get up to all sorts and do what I want. This Saturday was no different, in fact it included more odd miles.

The first of my 4 runs was at Hilly Fields parkrun (@hillyfdsparkrun) at 9 in the morning. I went to this parkrun to hand out vouchers for the London Marathon Store but before doing this I ran the course. The course was awesome, it’s a 3 lap course that includes a few grassy sections and a few ups and downs which was great fun! The first couple steps onto the grass made me instantly think of a few cross country races I did at school which I used to really enjoy. The volunteers and organisers at this parkrun (especially RDs @AdelePrince & @slowishrunner) were awesome aswell and I was warmly welcomed by everyone (nothing to do with the vouchers! Haha). I enjoyed the ups and downs of the course so much I ended up surprisingly finishing in second with a time of 18.57, really pleased with that.

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So I swiftly left Hilly fields park, after handing out the vouchers, and headed into the city for my 2nd run of the day. This run was a 10k+ run with some friends that run from Nike Boxpark. It was good to catch up with the guys as I have struggled to make a run with them recently due to races etc. The 10k route was a nice one along the canal and around part of Victoria Park. Me, Tim and David decided we were up for a few miles extra as we are all doing the Run Hackney Half Marathon so we carried on along the canal for a bit and headed back to the store.

After a quick pit stop we grabbed some money and headed out for another couple miles, this was the third run. We went to Borough Market to grab some food, it was epic!! The pictures below are from when we did the same thing last week ha

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(These photos are courtesy of Harry who unfortunately couldn’t make the running this week due to being ill, get well soon mate!)

The fourth run was the electric run that was around Wembley. It was a cool event. The organisation of it wasn’t great especially when people that had their numbers were in the queue for race pack pick up, but I wouldn’t fancy organising an event with 14 or so thousand people so can’t really say much ha. Apart from that it was fun and it was a good laugh especially because I was running around and messing about with glowsticks with Sarah and David who also run with a few Nike run clubs.

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The night was hilarious and this wouldn’t be a good blog about electric run without a picture of David showing off his new neon hair!

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(Picture courtesy of Sarah! hope you don’t mind David, photo removal on request.)

Wait I just remembered it was actually 5 runs ha. After the electric run 5k we decided we wanted to get a few more miles in, mainly after being a little frustrated at the lack of running involved in the electric run. We got the tube to Green Park and then ran along the embankment. We then went our separate ways lighting our paths with our glowsticks ha. This run was really nice because it was quiet and we could run however fast we wanted. However the speed was dictated by the fact we had burgers in between these runs, all about getting the balance!

Overall a productive Saturday totalling 20 odd miles!

Speak soon on twitter via @UKRunChat #ukrunchat #fastesthouroftheweek and on Facebook etc.

Steve

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You never know what’s around the corner!!

I thought i’d write a little blog to explain what I’ll be up to in September and how I got there.

It was Saturday 8th February, I had just finished my half day at the London Marathon Store and I was walking around near the store. I was walking to the tube station and almost took a road alongside Spitalfields Market, so glad I didn’t! Instead I thought “I may aswell walk through there to see if anything interesting is happening!” Next thing you know I’m in this cage doing a 30 second football freestyle video to try and win the chance of a trip to Rio.

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The video went really well as I always use to kick a ball around in the park or at home down in Devon. I then got an email from the guys running the competition saying I was on the shortlist. Then I got an email saying I was one of the four to be involved in the next part of the competition.

I’m not 100% sure how much I can say about the two days because there may be more videos filling in a couple gaps. However, the experience/challenge was videod and is currently being used in a few forms as adverts in front of other YouTube videos, which is mental!

The video can be watched at http://www.getreadyuk.com. Hope you enjoy it, I’m not going to write on here the outcome of the competition so it will be more fun to watch ha. Unless you’ve already seen my tweets and Facebook statuses recently!!

The two days were probably two of the best days of my life and I am looking forward to September!!

Here’s a few shots of what I got up to on the two days

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I’m back running a lot now following the Manchester marathon and am looking forward to my next few races. I will post a blog or two soon saying what I’m up to and how training is going for the London BUPA 10k, the Ashmei trail marathon and maybe the Ruby Run, aswell as parkruns etc.

Keep your eyes open and look around corners!!

Steve

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My London Marathon 2014 weekend

My weekend began with Mile End parkrun. I went there to hand out vouchers for the London Marathon Store but was also able to run. This was a great run because a lot of people from far and wide came and did it because of the small race occurring on Sunday! The attendance was 157, on Saturday not Sunday! I was really happy with my run as I got within 36 seconds of my PB which was good being only 6 days after Manchester Marathon.

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After the parkrun I got into work and it was such a great day speaking to amazing people doing the marathon. One person that was great to speak to was Charles Cousens. He is one of the London Marathon Ever Presents which means he has done every single marathon since it began in 1981. Charles also came in to see his medal because he actually donated the 1981 that sits on our medal wall.

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Another person that was great to meet was Jim. He has done 46 marathons so far and has put a pledge on our wall aiming to run 4 more before he turns 80 next year. He was such a lovely guy and had photos with me thinking I am an athlete and will do some big things in the future ha I will try Jim!

Later on in the day the “Emperor of Long Distance” Haile Gebrselassie came into the store to do a signing session. It was amazing to see him and his big smile walk through the door of our store. He seems like he is the happiest man in the world. I guess you would be if you’ve held 27 world records!

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Haile signed a book and t-shirt which I’m over the moon with. It’s still strange waking up with the t-shirt in my wardrobe ha

So to the main event. This was the first year I have experienced the London Marathon first hand. I have watched it on TV on many occasions and have always been amazed by the footage and amount of people running the streets of London. I went to Tower Bridge pretty early to get a good spot to see all the wheelchair, IPC and elite athletes. I run around Tower Bridge nearly everyday for work and fun but on Sunday it was so much more special. The atmosphere was electric! (See below, me and my London Marathon Store colleague Chelsea cheering on!)

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It was great to see all of the wheelchair and IPC athletes and I can’t imagine how strong they are. To be using your arms in such a way for 26.2 miles and at those speeds, unreal.

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It was great to see Richard Whitehead in action having read about his journeys from short distance running to JOGLE and winning basically everything. He was soaking it all in, I can’t wait to experience Tower Bridge within the race.

Me and Chelsea were standing on the left hand side of Tower Bridge so on the racing line which meant we got to see Wilson Kipsang, the winner, and the lead pack flying passed. It was amazing to see! I have always seen the speeds on TV and seen others going quick at other races but this was another level! To think they are running at between 4.30-5 min/miles for 26.2 miles is incredible. Wilson Kipsang got the new London record which was amazing. Shame he lost or had his passport stolen last week as he was due to come into the store on the Wednesday with Geoffrey and Emmanuel Mutai.

Another person I got to see fly passed was Mo Farah. I had such a strange feeling when he went passed. I got goosebumps probably because I had seen him on TV winning the 10,000m at the Olympics in 2012 and it was just surreal to be that close.

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After seeing the elites run passed I had to head off to work so couldn’t cheer everyone on. I’d like to say well done to Amy and Michelle who are both colleagues that work at LMS and Michelle is now the Assistant Manager at Oxford Sweatshop. They both did really well in the race. Amy ran a 5 minute PB so just over 3:35, which is awesome especially considering the heat and amount of people on the course. Michelle completed her second marathon in a week, after doing Brighton, with a second sub 4 run, epic!

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Above is a pic of me and Amy. Me with my Manchester medal and Amy with the London medal which is great.

I’d also like to say well done to Johnny and Kelly Hanrahan! They both run with the Adidas 26rs and they both did great. Johnny now has to get a new pledge up on our wall after doing the marathon in 3:17:02 which is awesome!

I’d also like to say well done to all of you that ran it on Sunday! It was such a hot day and I take my hat off to anyone that runs that gruelling distance no matter what time it takes. Whether it takes 2:04:29 or 6 or 7 hours+ you have covered the distance and have done your best and that’s all that matters. I have really enjoyed reading some of your stories on twitter and look forward to seeing what’s next!

My mission now is to do whatever I can to get into the race for 2015. Ballot, Charity (including maybe running in a rhino costume), and Good for age are my ways in, fingers crossed. However, I am now doing Brighton so two in a week will be interesting but it’s all fun and games.

Speak soon on Twitter via #ukrunchat #thefastesthouroftheweek etc & Facebook.

I’m off running in this epic weather today.

Steve

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My first, Greater Manchester, Marathon!

I woke up at about 5 o’clock, if not earlier, on Sunday morning raring to go and run my first full official Marathon. The reason I put “official” in there was because I began my “taper” in what could be considered a bizarre way, by running 26.3 miles. I did this for work because we ran a 22 miler, which I paced and decided to run between groups to ensure everyone was happy and on the right path.

In the week following the 26.3 miler I ran a further 46 odd miles mainly for work and to explore a bit on my day off. The second week of tapering was interesting aswell. On the Friday I came down with some sort of bug/illness that left me lightheaded for the majority of the 10 days leading up to the race. Not ideal preparation for your first marathon really, but there was no way I was not going to run the race.

On race day in the morning I just chilled out for a couple hours listening to some music and things, and yes it was drum & bass for those of you that know my epic taste in music. Fred V & Grafix – Recognise was the album of choice on this occasion.

Due to still feeling a little light headed I decided to not have much for breakfast. Nutrition is something that I will look into massively in the next few weeks or so and I’m sure I should have eaten more the couple of days before the race but this is something I will learn. Still eager to get running I left the hotel at about 7.30 and got to the race village and Stadium with plenty of time before the start of the race.

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Not a bad start and finish point for a Marathon (especially considering I’m a Manchester United fan, of which people would question.)

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Obligatory HUGE inflatable Asics trainer! (Note: the children of Manchester are more safety conscious when it comes to large trainers than Reading. Or they just weren’t awake yet!)

So after chilling, pretty much literally, around Old Trafford the race finally crept up on us. There I was stood staring at this

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thinking, I’ve got 26.2 miles to do now… Hmm! Once I got going I felt reasonably good, well atleast much better than compared to doing 10 of the 13 miles the Sunday before and the 5 miles I did in midweek. This however probably turned into my downfall, I went off feeling reasonably strong but then soon found out around the 20 mile mark how marathons can teach you a lesson. I started pacing the run as if I was going to go near 3 if not sub 3 not taking into account my poor taper and not great nutrition. Therefore, I’m not sure I hit the wall, but I wasn’t moving as quickly as I had started that’s for sure.

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All I can say is, I am so pleased I had my name on my number/t-shirt! There were 3 key points in this race where I was lagging so much and had doubts over whether I was going to finish at all. All of these moments occurred between 20 and 26.2 miles. The first was when I was slowing and a guy just ran past me and he said “if I can do this, you can!!” He said it with such conviction, probably knowing that it was my first marathon and that I needed those words. He was right!

The second moment was around 22/23 miles, it was all a blur really, but I found myself having to walk a few steps to compose myself a bit and as I was walking a little boy shouted “Go on Stephen! You can do it!” I couldn’t help but smile and get going again, what a legend that little kid was. I hope he does a marathon one day and he has someone there in the right place at the right time to cheer him on!

The third moment was quite an emotional one. There was an older gentleman on the side of the road, again I was lagging, but he said in such a caring way “go on lad, only a mile or so to go!” For some reason this really got to me and I ran from here on in. Being an older gentleman I think it reminded me of my Grampy, who is seriously ill at the moment, and I thought how hard he has worked throughout his whole life and I can’t work hard for this last mile or so. Well I did and that, my first marathon, was for you Gran & Gramps Skinner.

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As you can see I was pretty tired after the marathon and I’m not going to lie that was the most uncomfortable train journey ever. Yes, I had to get up on the train and do some stretching and yes I looked like a muppet. A muppet that didn’t get cramp!

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This medal is a special one for me. It’s not just metal, it tells me I can run 26.2 miles. I’m looking forward to the next marathon but between now and then I have the Bupa 10k in London and a few other things lined up. This is how I’ve justified buying these bad boys:

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I am looking forward to putting in some speed work once my legs feel like working completely again.

I have enjoyed reading all your tweets etc over the last few days about your racing and would like to say well done to everyone that has completed a marathon or other races in the last few days. I would also like to say a huge thank you to everyone that has messaged me in some form wishing me good luck or saying well done over the last few days I really appreciate it!!

Sorry for the long post!

Now get running!!

Steve

X

P.s. I finished it in 3:28:01, sub 3:28 next time!