Edinburgh 1/2 Marathon Recap


In Which I Run VERY Tired

Edinburgh Half Marathon. As I live in Edinburgh, it’s my adopted hometown 1/2 Marathon race.  (That and the Scottish 1/2 Marathon in September which actually goes by my home…)

The previous two years I did the full marathon, finishing both years in around 5hrs (and last year being sponsored by a beer company, I got a HELLA lot of beer given!) This year however, I’m concentrating on York marathon in October so didn’t want to commit to doing two in a year. (I’ve run two a year in 2016, 2017, 2018. Gets tiring!)

To make the half marathon easy on myself I agreed to work the night shift just before. So I started work at 6.30pm on the Saturday, finished at 6.30am on the Sunday and the race began at 8am…

I hung around work when I finished as it was starting a few minutes walk away. I carbed up on a crappy microwave burger (seems to work for me!) and then got changed and set off in the pouring rain to the start line.

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People were soaked but their spirits could not be dampened. (I’m proud of that sentence!) The PA system was counting down by the minute and everyone looked excited and/or nervous, with lots of family and friends at the side lines cheering them on already.

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Then, we were off. Slowly, walking to the start line. It’s a huge undertaking I’m sure, getting all these people organised into start pens and making sure it all goes off without a hitch but it doesn’t stop people complaining that they have to walk a few minutes to begin the race. See it as a bit more of a warm up why don’t you?

The race starts very central to Edinburgh and within a few minutes I was running by Greyfriars Bobby and then my workplace. (National Library of Scotland.) The guys on the day shift said they’d be out front looking for me but they got confused and thought I was running the full which didn’t start until 10am. Turns out at 10am they spent AGES looking for me, but obviously I wasn’t there.

After the library we ran over the Royal Mile and down a hill called the Mound which lead us to Princes Street Gardens and a bit of people congestion so had to slow right down. Didn’t take long to get going again though, and we looped by Waverly Train Station and back on to the Royal Mile (which is a bit longer than a mile.)

EMF_MARATHON_2018 I felt surprisingly fresh after a 12hr night shift and was running quite well. Not fast, but I wasn’t struggling either. My plan for this run was just to enjoy it, finish and get the medal. We then ran in front of Arthurs Seat (a HUGE hill) and at 5k we left the city behind. (But not the rain.)

I was expecting to have to walk at the water station but carried on running. Mile 5 soon arrived and then we stuck to the coast line for the next three miles before coming slightly inland and running near the historic Musselburgh racecourse and that brought me to mile 9, which is where my tiredness caught up and I had a walk break. NINE miles constant running after a night shift though! I was VERY chuffed with that! I could see the finish area on the other side of the road but still had a way to go.

After that it was 2 miles on the same road before turning back for the final 2 mile stretch. The sun came out for a couple minutes, didn’t like what it saw and went away again. The last few miles of my race was a mixture of running and walking and I was enjoying myself more than I thought I would be. Time flew by and all of a sudden I was in the final stretch, down the finishers chute and done!

In my head I wanted around 2hrs 10mins and I completed in 2hrs 5mins 8secs. Can’t argue with that! Handily, the in-laws live close to the finish line so I went there for a shower and some cuddles from my baby. He made sure the medal wasn’t fake.

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And there you go! Turns out that I can run okayish even when tired which is good news for marathon training surely? I usually run after my 12hr day shifts but this is the first time ever I’ve run after a night shift. Next race I’m entered for is Leeds 10k at the start of July and I want to get close to my PB of 47.57. If I do or if I don’t, there’ll be plenty beer afterwards..!

Speaking of which, you thought I’d forgotten!

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TA-DA!

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Marathon Season Approaches!


In Which I Make My Yearly Promise To ‘Take This Seriously’

For a month or so now I’ve been taking this running business quite seriously. Every year when York Marathon is on the horizon (It’s in October. You knew that.) I always tell myself that this year will be a PB (Personal Best) but then I don’t do enough running to be able to finish well.

(I know what you’ll say, finishing a marathon is an achievement in itself and you’re right, you’re very wise.)

But still, I want to do better. My PB is 3h 59m 15s (it was THAT close to 4hrs) and I set that way back in 2015. In the same year I got a 10k PB of 47:57 and that still stands too. This year, however, I’m aiming high. Or long. Far? I dunno, I want new PBs dammit!

I have three decent shots at a 10k PB over the next few months. There’s Leeds 10k in July (I finished that once in 50 minutes), then Musselburgh 10k (Not done that one before) and in September there’s the Scottish 10k where I finished one year in 49 minutes.

That would bring me nicely to York Marathon in October, where I want to get around 3h 45m. Which is why I’m running a bugger load just now.

Dalkeith Bluebell 10k (Trail Run) 28th April 2019

Dalkeith Bluebell Trail run is set in Dalkeith Country Park, which is in Dalkeith and is a park. The run is on trails. This was my first official trail run ever, in just over seven years of running! It was quite a warm day and I didn’t really know what to expect from the route. We’ve been to the country park a few times and I’ve noticed hills while I’ve been there but was hoping there wouldn’t be too many. I was wrong.

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We started in view of the big country manor house and then were straight onto the trails. There was a 5k or 10k option on this one, both starting at the same time. The 10k was the 5k route and then a different second half, with plenty hills.

5k went by quite quickly with a VERY steep hill just before the 5k point and then we were into the second half of the run. Ran by plenty cows and over lots of trees roots, and of course (as the name suggests) there was loads of bluebells knocking around. The sun came out and it became a bit of a struggle, dealing with the heat and the hills but I kept my head on and ran the entire 10k without any walking.

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Total of 386ft of hills pretty much killed me off, so I then went into Edinburgh to meet for beer and went to see the new Avengers film, followed by more beer. The medal was a very unique home made wooden one! Never had a wood one before! This race was on the same day as London Marathon, and of course I’ve entered the ballot yet again for a space at London next year. They must let me in at some point!

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I have a couple more recaps waiting in the wings to be posted but figure I’ll space them out to keep the anticipation going. That’s if anyone still reads my blog…!

 

Edinburgh Mararthon 27th May 2018


In Which I Get An Unexpected Sponsor And I Become Internet Famous

Well hello there, thanks for dropping by. I didn’t expect you so soon but, as is your way, you just turn up whenever don’t you? Ignora… I mean welcome!

Edinburgh Marathon has come and gone. It was my second time giving this one a go and felt like I’d done quite a bit of training leading up to the event. (running up to the… n/m.)

Since moving to Edinburgh I’ve made some friends. (YES I HAVE THEY’RE REAL) One of which was also running Edinburgh, which was her first ever marathon and so I gallantly offered to run the race with her. (She’s a much better runner than me so I was only really there for moral support.)

On the morning of the run, I had my traditional microwave burger for fuel, kissed Hayley g’bye and then went and met up with Rosy who drove us to the park n ride where we then got on the coach which took us into Edinburgh. (Keep up.)

We had time to spare at the start and it was crappy weather so went and stood inside a university building for warmth and to use the facilities. Before long it was time to line up and then go time.

My plan was to try stick with Rosy until halfway round then let her run off and do her thing whilst I struggled with the second lot of 13.1miles. And that’s what I did! The first few miles were fine, we got into a decent rhythm soon enough and felt well. We ran through Edinburgh city centre then turned towards the coast where it started to get warmer.

The day before, Hayley’s mum had told me to watch out for her sisters at around 10 miles in as they’d made me a sign. I saw them at the side of the road but didn’t register the sign straight away as thought it was an advert.

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How good was that! Wasn’t expecting it to look as professional as it did! Amazing. A bit further on I saw Hayley’s mum cheering me on too.

Around 13 miles I told Rosy I couldn’t keep her pace any longer (just over 2hrs for the first half) and I knew Hayley was waiting somewhere near so would be stopping for a chat and a pep talk. Found her at the side of the road (waiting for me, not like, on the floor or anything.) She also had a sign:

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Again, amazing! Didn’t want to think how much these had cost them to make. The signs are well over a metre tall! She gave me a couple of energy gels and I carried on, running by our house and forcing myself not to run inside.

The next few miles were tough. Hugging the coast all the way to the turn around point at around 16/17 miles, then ran through Gosford House grounds which is a big stately home kinda thing, then aimed back for home. Again, my actual home as I had to run by it on the way out AND on the way back. Waved to my house then got my head down for the last five miles of the marathon.

After 30 minutes or so, further down the road, I could see ANOTHER of those signs! Thought that was odd as I don’t really know anyone else up in Scotland yet. Getting closer though, I realised it was Emma who was jumping up and down like a mental. She told me that she was gonna be at the end of the race to come round for drinks but obviously Emma is a bit of a liar because I could see her. And I knew exactly how far away from the end she was:

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Don’t ask me how, I just knew.

Last couple of miles. Struggling. Sore, hot, sweaty, thirsty. End in sight, so looked as hard as I could at the crowds to try to spot Hayley. Didn’t see her though. Ah well, FINISH LINE!

4hr 53mins.

Not my fastest, not my slowest. Possibly my middlest.

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I message Hayley saying I was done and she told me they were at the opposite side that I’d come out of so I made my way over. I found her there, along with people I didn’t recognise. I did, however, recognise the brand name on their t-shirts.

Innis & Gunn. The lager people from the signs!

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Turns out they’d been following me and updating their Facebook page to get people to cheer me on all the way round! Hayley (the con artist) had been in touch with them prior to the run and told them that I was raising money for charity and as part of my training had stayed off of Innis & Gunn (which is in fact my favouritist Lager ever. Not even just saying that!)

Also, they had a photographer there. BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY they had a cold can of Lager and a pint glass for me to help recover. Which was EXACTLY what was needed. The Facebook post got thousands of likes and hundreds of comments and I actually felt like a celeb. Especially being featured on their website too!

Actually cannot thank them (and Hayley!) enough for all the support that they gave. Also can’t thank them enough for the 48 cans of lager that they’d filled my fridge with… Which might explain why it took me so long to remember to update my blog.

They best do the same for me next year.

INGENDboth

UPDATE

They also sponsored my JustGiving £150. Wonderful people!

 

A Month To Go


In Which All My Panic Sets In

DA-DA-DAHH-DAHH

Yesterday was five weeks until Edinburgh Marathon. Which now means its four weeks on Sunday. Add in the taper week and I have three weeks of training left but I’m on nights for the next couple of days (well, nights ya’know) and so that’s like two weeks left so next week is the last week and I may as well just give up on my training altogether.

Ahhhhh the familiar pre-marathon race panic. Kinda feels nice it’s back.

DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH

But in a good way five weeks today it’ll be all over and done with. London Marathon was yesterday (I didn’t get it, AGAIN) but I knew a few friends that ran it in the stupid heat and all finished and now all have a brand new shiny medal. (One each, even!) Then this morning Runners World magazine landed through my letter box, so it’s all run run run this week. Except I haven’t run in a couple of weeks. Not through lazyness (promise) but through what felt like major chub-rub. (I’ll save the picture for when I see you.)

DA-DA-DAHH-DAHH

I was doing chuffing great with my training. My shift pattern is two 12hr days, two 12hr nights, four days off so I decided that after both day shifts I would run 4 miles straight after work, and then run 10 miles to work for my first night shift. (We have showers at work, don’t panic.) Then I’d fit in a 3 mile and a 6 mile run on the days off. It worked well. I’d actually managed to run a bit further than 10 miles on my way in a couple times, one of 11 and one 1/2 marathon distance.

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DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH

But then week before last I went out in the afternoon on a day off for a 10k run. I struggled all day to motivate myself out the door and finally got off the sofa and went to get into my running kit. Bugger. I’d forgotten that my running kit was all in the wash. I searched through a few boxes of clothes which I’ve yet to unpack (we only moved here eight months ago, plenty of time yet) and found an old pair of shorts and a Bradford 10k finishers t-shirt and then I was off. From home I have loops of a mile, 5k, 5 mile and 10k. Thought about doing the 5k loop twice but the 10k loop has more hills. Couple miles in and I could feel my thighs chafing. Quite badly.

DAH-DA-DAH-DA-DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHHHHHH

ALSO now that I’m typing this I remember that I got mugged off by a kestrel. It was hovering around the edge of a field so I stopped my watch, took my phone from its armband and I tried to take a picture but it flew further down the edge. I started my watch, phone back in, and ran 50 metres or so to where the bird was now hovering. Same again, watch stopped, phone out, kestrel flew further. And repeat. Watch go, phone in, run down, stop. FIVE TIMES the feathery mouse-eating bastard did this, before FLYING ALL THE CHUFFING WAY BACK TO WHERE IT FIRST WAS. Got mugged off by a squirrel on my way to work a few days ago too. But anyway.

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Finished the run and got home then in the shower. (Again, pics when I see you.) What I didn’t realise was that the lining of my old shorts was ripped in a few places and so caused what I can only describe as ‘major rubbage’ on the inside of my poor thighs. I’ve honestly never seen thighs this raw since I was last at Asdas chicken counter. It felt like sunburn and not Scottish summer sunburn. Like actually sitting on the sun, burning. The pain put me out of action for well over a week and it was even painful to walk let alone run.

My legs finally started to heal and I stopped walking like I’ve not got to the toilet in time. Just in time for our holiday as it happened and so I packed my running kit in my suitcase and decided I’d run 3 of the 4 days we were away in Montenegro. Problem with THAT plan was the all-inclusive food and alcohol in the place we were staying. Didn’t run once, but funnily enough got actual sunburn. On my legs…

I say funnily enough but it wasn’t funny at all at the time. We did find a pub named after me though!

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No, not ‘Tosser’, Hemingways!

So I figure I’ve got a couple weeks to get my training back on track and then it’s onto marathon number nine. I’m running to raise money for Prostate Cancer and am taking any and all donations at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/hemingway-run

(You look nice by the way)

Thanks.

IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN! DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH! DA-DA-DA-DAH-DAHHH!!

(heh.)

 

Mad Dog ’18 Race Recap


In Which I Go Back AGAIN

Mad Dog. One of my first 10k races ever and the one that I always say means that my running year has started properly. (York marathon in October signalling that I can take it easy over the winter. As though I’ve been pounding the pavements all summer..!)

The main concern with this years Mad Dog (Sixth year in a row I’ve been there!) was getting there. (Floo powder?) For the five years previous I’ve been living in Yorkshire and so a little over an hour drive and you’re there. At the end of last Summer we moved up to just outside Edinburgh and so the commute to the race got a bit longer. Four hours to be exact. (Not too exact. Four and a bit hours. Four hours 15 minutes. And 17 seconds. Not counting stopping off.)

(Four hours 37 minutes and 32 seconds in total to be exact.)

(Roughly.)

There was also the matter of staying over to take into account as it was too much driving (For Hayley) to go there and back in the same day (lazy) so we decided to make a weekend of it. (In Southport. In Winter.)

I had a hotel booked (Ramada Plaza) with payment on arrival, which was £90 for room only so we decided to stay Friday and Saturday nights. A few days before race day however, I got an email from the (excellent) organisers of the Mad Dog 10k saying that you could get Bed and Breakfast for £90 a night and organise late check out if you mentioned Mad Dog but only at the hotel… Ramada Plaza!

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Straight on to the phone was I, and the nice lady at the other end changed my booking. Same price as before but now with late checkout and breakfast for us both? Magic!

I won’t bore you with the Friday and Saturday details because you’re here for the race recap and not a holiday recap. But we ate plenty, had a good wand-around, Hayley spilled my beer all down me on the Friday, and we played in loads of Amusements and won a baby Groot after spending a few quid(ditch).

Sunday Morning 

Getting up nice and early (nope, snoozed my alarm loads) we went down for breakfast. I took it easy and had bacon (x2) sausage (x2) hash brown (x2) and coffee (x2 and a bit.) We then walked the 15 minutes to the car park where the coaches were lined up shuttling runners and spectators to the start of the race. Only takes five minutes or so on the transfer buses and its free for everyone.

Every year there’s a movie/tv theme to the Mad Dog 10k with a canine connection. This year was Hairy Potter and The Half Bred Pup and as such there were plenty of Harry Potter costumes going on. We saw a few wizards, plenty of HP scarves, a woman dressed as a broomstick and, oddly, five blokes dressed as the Spice Girls. (It’s not Leviosah, it’s Levi-Zigga-ZiggAH.)

A nice touch and to save time at the end, you can get your t-shirt and goody bag before the run. (Medals at the end still.) It means that if people want to run in that years themed tshirt they can, and also reduces congestion at the end of the race. The goody bag is BRILLIANT. You can wait til the end though.

Time to line up so went and lined up. Must’ve got giddy with my predicted time because I was right at the front. The race was started by Jo Pavey (an ACTUAL Olympian) and after a countdown and some barking, we were off. The course is an out-loop-back kinda set up. The first and last 2.5k are on the same stretch of road with a 5k loop in the middle.

There’s plenty of bands/singers/entertainment going on and the middle loop is always well supported. You run alongside the coast for a lot of the run and even though the day had started off icy, it was very nice running weather.

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Now the thing is, starting too far forward means that there’s fast people around you. From the start. And because they are fast you feel you have to go fast too as otherwise they all overtake you. Which is why, after planning to start off around 8m15s a mile, I clocked my first mile at 7m15s. WAY too quick. I actually did the first two miles in 15 minutes which is probably where the (golden) stitch came from to slow me down.

Running towards the Pier and by the Elvis impersonator (think he lives under that Pier, he’s always there) I made myself slow down because I knew I couldn’t keep that pace for long without messing up the second half of the race. Still, first 5km done in bang on 24 minutes.

Water station coming up so allowed myself to walk through it to get some energy back before tackling the second half (blood prince) of the course. I was nowhere near the speed that I had before and that was fine by me. Sub 50 was ebbing away but figured I can still get under 51 minutes. Before I knew it I was back on the main road and then turning towards the finish line, keep going keep going annnnnnnddd…… finished. 50:41.

Chuffed.

So that’s that! Mad Dog 10k done for six years in a row now. Will I make it back for next years race? Always. (Especially seeing as though it’s called “Bark To The Future”!)

Oh wait! Before you go!

LOOK AT THE GOODY BAG!

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Backpack, Running hat, Racebelt (THAT HAS A FLASHING LIGHT) Water Bottle, Fridge Magnet Picture Frame, Snood, Fruit, Energy Drinks, Number Clips, loads of snacks PLUS the Medal and TShirt! (The bar just above the bag is a doggy treat bar. I’ve seen a few people on facebook that didn’t realise it wasn’t an energy bar til too late… Mongrels!)

*flies off on his broomstick for butterbeer*

Great Edinburgh Winter 5k Run


In Which I Wasn’t Expecting To Go So Far Up

Saturday morning. Odd day for a race, a Saturday. I think every other race I’ve taken part in has been on a Sunday. Probably because there was a televised cross country run around the same area later on in the day, but still. A Saturday. 

We woke up around 7am then snoozed til around 7:20, as is the tradition. I got up and made myself and Hayley a wonderful home made breakfast (microwave burger to share, I normally have one to myself but as it was only a 5k that felt greedy.)

Got to the bus stop a few minutes before the bus arrived (handy) and stayed on it for around 40 minutes before getting off quite near Holyrood park where the run was taking place. (Which is obviously why we got off there…)

Ten minutes steady walk and a quick look around then it was pretty much time to line up for the warm up. I don’t usually take part in the warm up for two reasons:

1. I use the first mile as my warm up, and:

2. I don’t want to look like a knob.

However! I took part this time for two reasons:

1. It was a 5km run so not long enough to use a mile as a warm up, and:

2. It was chuffing freezing.

Warm up done, it was go time. I’ve not been around this area so much but figured that it would be a lap of Arthur’s Seat and so nice and steady. Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano and popular with climbers, it’s not too hard to get to the top. (Been there, done that.) The views from the top of Edinburgh are amazing. 

Back to the run! Started off easy enough, nice and flat route for a few minutes then we turned a corner and… hill. Big hill. BIG hill! Should’ve checked the route.

Turns out the first mile included 200ft of climb. And I felt every foot. In my feet. And legs. But the views from the top were amazing. There was a bloke playing bagpipes at the top and he must’ve had a lift up because otherwise he would’ve not had enough air in his lungs to play. 

The down hill section was fun though. Not done many 5k races and so it seemed over very quick. Especially the last mile. Before I knew it I was over the line and getting my goody bag with a brand new medal and t-shirt. 

Found Hayley easy enough and we watched a few of the runners finishing before heading off to Wetherspoons for a breakfast and to recover. 

I love food. Normally, right around now I’d show you the medal draped over a cool, refreshing pint of lager. Unfortunately I’m still doing Dry January so here’s my medal with diet coke instead. 

Looks just as good, right?

Next Up: Mad Dog 10k on Feb 4th. Can’t WAIT!

Mapping Out 2018


In Which I Try Organise My Race Year

Where I’m At Now:

2018 is over a week old and I’m still feeling positive about my New Years Resolutions. I decided to take on Dry January (No alcohol for the whole month) and I’m pleased to say I’m still going strong. Not had a beer since New Years Eve and for someone that used to drink almost every night after work, I feel that’s a great achievement. Tomorrow is a third of the month gone! I’ve stuck a calendar for January on my fridge to cross off the days and put the beer that was still in the fridge in the pan cupboard behind the old pans we don’t use. Hardly hear it calling out to me anymore…

I’ve always said though that once you get through the first three days of something then you’re good for the rest of the time. (Just read an article that says it takes 66 days to make a new habit but mine gets it done in three days so we’ll stick with that.)

Also, I’ve been healthy eating as much as I can. (As in, sticking to healthy eating as much as I can. Not eating as much as I can of healthy food.) Apart from one meal at a chinese restaurant and one unhealthy-ish meal at home, I’m doing ok.

I’ve been out for a couple runs too but only 5k’s. Easing myself back into it. Weighing myself every Monday morning and the first week weigh in said that I’d lost 5lbs. In a week! Chuffed with that!

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Where I’m At Later On:

This Saturday (13th January) is the Edinburgh Winter 5k run. I don’t really enter 5km races but think doing the run and getting the medal and t-shirt at the end will be a good boost to my motivation.

Then in a few weeks it’s down to Southport for my SIXTH time running in the Mad Dog 10k race. I wasn’t going to do it this year (what with now living in Scotland and it being a 4hr drive away) but we’re using it as an excuse to have a weekend away from home. (To Southport. In winter. Logic.)

Plus I’m a Harry Potter geek and when the race is called this, how could I say no?

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After that the next run I’ve got booked is the Edinburgh Marathon in May. Looking to get a new PB at that one (and no sunburn, not like LAST year…)

July might see us having a trip down to Yorkshire and doing the Leeds 10k. Depends on travel costs though, train tickets for that weekend at the moment are just over £100… EACH! Hoping they bring out some cheaper ones closer to the time.

Then October is the Yorkshire Marathon. That’ll be the sixth time I run it (every year its been going) and all things going well, will be my 10th marathon overall. I love that run.

And that’s it so far! That’s what I have organised for the year. I’ve been looking into a running club near home to get my arse in gear so when I get chance will have a wander down and see what the set up is. Think it’ll be good motivation!

Next Race:

Edinburgh Winter 5k – 13th January 2018

Instagram: @Zepalm 

Strava: Marc Hemingway