Entering The Dublin Marathon – Late October 2012

So before you get put off by the usual reason for putting up marathon appeals, don’t worry, this isn’t a request for money (nor will it evolve into on), it’s just a ramble on why I’ve just signed up to put myself through another 42kms of pain.

So I’ve been threatening to do a fourth marathon for a while now, so much so that I think people had probably stopped believing that I would. You wouldn’t think it to look at me, but there was a year or two back there during which I really loved distance running, and ran three marathons in as many years. Now, a year into marriage, and having been doing that clichéd ‘first year of marriage weight gain’ thing for most of it, I’ve decided it’s time to dive back in. So I entered the Dublin Marathon:

(click to view if that’s too small to believe!)

It’s been seven years since I last ran a marathon, and since possibly unreliably perceived wisdom tells us that every cell in your body is replaced every seven years, I guess this really does count as starting again. My life has pretty much happened in every way that’s important since I slogged my way round a warm Rome course in four hours and a few minutes – and London in almost exactly the same time a few weeks later – back in 2005, and while I still see those two races (and my awful, ill-training and injury-hit first attempt at London, which took nearly six hours) as proud days, I have to be realistic when talking about any kind of sporting achievements and file them, at this stage, as pretty irrelevant to how I am now. I’ve spent too long pondering doing this but knowing that my lifestyle – the huge number of gigs (I don’t drink at most of them, but still) the late night writing and the sporadic teaching schedules – would get in the way. It’s time to stop the excuses.

I won’t be running for charity. It’s not that I don’t think that running a marathon for charity is a good idea, but I already did that three times back in ’03/ ’05, and asked many of you to sponsor me. This time I’m doing it purely for myself, just for the challenge, and because I remember how good it felt to be that fit. If you’d like to give money to a charity, please do so, you don’t need me to pester you into it.

In the meantime, having started from an infrequently used gym membership, a pair of clapped out running shoes and a fitness level as low as I’ve had in some time, I’ve got 90kms or so under my belt over the last three weeks, got my first vicious blisters, replaced my shoes, stocked up on foot creams and plasters and had to cycle in to work right after a tough run, genuinely struggling to push the pedals round. I already feel a whole lot better for it. I won’t ramble, I’ll try not to bend your ear about the latest Sunday slog every time I see you between now and October, and I’ll try not to let it get in the way of the rest of life too much, but barring injury or one huge will-power failure, this is go.

One last thing – if you want to join me, just shout!

The pain begins…


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