Well we did it! The first leg of our 12 marathon/12 month challenge well and truly nailed but not without some drama on the way – well we like challenges!
We had already mapped out the course – 4 x 6+ mile loops of Savill Gardens with 2 miles added on at the end – and had had a few practice runs so we knew what we were in for. Friday dawned overcast but no rain and about 12c, perfect for running. We parked the car (AKA the nutrition & hydration station) right next to our starting point, a few stretches, fired up the GPS and we were off.
Up to the lake, past the waterfall and then along the left bank of the lake – everything was going well and we had time to shoot some video (which we will be posting on YouTube soon) and take some photos. We reached the far side of the course by the bridge when I noticed that Marlena was limping on her right leg – 3 miles into our 26.2 mile challenge and it looked like we were finished before we started – months of preparation and planning down the pan. We ran/limped the first lap and evaluated our options back at the car. It transpired that Marlena had done something to her Piriformis and every time she put weight on her right leg (particularly on a hard surface) it sent a shooting pain from hip to knee and beyond.
The marathon is a big enough challenge when you are fully fit, but to undertake your very first one carrying an injury, with only 3 weeks full training is nigh on impossible (and I would know – I ran the Barcelona Marathon with a slipped disc!). But these Polish athletes are made of sterner stuff, her sporting and competitive instincts kicked in and before I knew it we were starting the second lap! We worked out that we could intersperse the running with a bit of walking to ease the pain when we were on hard surfaces and wherever possible Marlena kept to the grass and soft verges. In fact you can see from the stats on my Suunto (screenshot below) that we only walked for 25 mins of the 5:36 – remarkable in the circumstances. Lap 2 passed and somehow we were starting the third lap. 18+ miles in by the time we got back to the car for more hydration and (PlantPowered) goodies. I didn’t need to ask if Marlena if she was was up for the final lap – a final slug of water and we were off. Somehow she kept going with a smile (most of the time) and we even survived a dog attack 2 miles from the end – past our starting point and we kept going until my Suunto clicked onto the magic 26.3 (.1 for luck). We had done it! What a day for perseverance, mind over matter and most importantly raising the profile of the Marlon Centre
So what’s next? Well there is half marathon coming up somewhere in Berkshire in the next few weeks and then a full marathon in Europe before the end of June – watch this space and don’t forget to check out the video on our youtube channel.