Running has been a big part of my life for many years. I’ve been fortunate enough to run marathons in amazing places such as Paris, New York, Chicago and Berlin. I am not a particularly quick runner but I do it to support my mental health.
I was due to run the Barcelona Marathon in March 2020 but this was cancelled due to the pandemic. This was disappointing from a personal point of view as I was race ready but very obviously understandable.
As we went into the first lockdown here in the UK, the only constant in my life at that time was getting out for a run. I was running mileage that I had never done before and the fittest that I’d ever been. As I wasn’t training for anything in particular, I eventually burnt out towards the end of the year. It became less enjoyable. I did the Virtual London Marathon though so that was a highlight to look back on but there really is no comparison between a virtual event and those with crowds.
2021 wasn’t a great year for my running journey. I got out every now and again but there was no routine and I certainly wasn’t enjoying it. The longer I left it between runs meant it was more difficult to get out. This went on for the majority of the year. I signed up for the Manchester Marathon to try to have a goal to work towards. This was due to take place in October 2021. As the date got closer it was clear that I wasn’t going to be ready. Unfortunately I tested positive for coronavirus a couple of days before the race so I wouldn’t have been able to attempt it anyway. Thankfully the organisers allowed me to defer my entry to April 2022. Covid hit me hard, it took me quite a while to get out again and I was only doing slow short runs (if any!) for the rest of the year.
As 2022 approached, I set myself a bit of a New Years resolution. I kept it just to my family and close friends that I aimed to run everyday, even if it was a mile, and to do 10,000 steps each day. With that in mind I had the very private goal of trying to be marathon ready by April to run Manchester as I had a deferred place but this would be bonus.
I wanted to enjoy running again and build my fitness very gradually, time was not in my thoughts at all. Just putting one foot in front of the other. On New Year’s Day I ran just over 2 miles and I built on from there, running everyday. My distances varied over the next few months and I tried to do a longer run at the weekend, even running just a mile with my young daughter whilst on holiday.
My biggest test came on 6 March, this was when I decided to try to do 18 miles. If I was able to complete this then I knew that I would be ready to run 26.2 in Manchester the following month. I smashed it. From there on in, I ticked over with lower more intense miles including the Wilmslow Half Marathon, my first actual race in over 18 months.
When marathon day dawned on 3 April 2022, I was determined to enjoy it. This was my victory lap for all of my hard work. The weather was perfect, the crowds returned to line the streets, it was a great atmosphere. My wife and son cheered me on in the city centre. I felt good. Manchester Marathon is described as one of the flattest in the UK, although someone decided to put a hill at mile 17 which I was not expecting. My legs felt good up until the 16 mile mark, I had to slow it down slightly but I stuck with it and did what I had to do to get it done. I was delighted to achieve a personal best (this was my 7th marathon). I did it! Achieving not only being marathon ready and finishing but I am enjoying running again.
At the time of writing this I am on a 114 day running streak…..and on the look out for my next marathon adventure wherever that may be.