Suffering in Salisbury

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I am trying my luck with spontaneous marathon running. Somehow summer does not want to become by running friend. Temperatures over 20 degrees take the fun out of the run. As a result I have not been running properly for the last 2 months. Boo! So the plan was not to have a plan, but to trick myself into it by quickly signing up for one telling myself its a new experience, running marathons without preparation. My friend Phil was running the Salisbury 54321 Marathon anyways, would give me a lift and we had been talking about doing a marathon together for quite a while anyway. So here we were, Sunday morning in Salisbury, at the start line and me hearing for the first time that there are not only high temperatures, but also hills and trails. Oops.
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So how did the whole thing turn out? To be fair, I did do a prep run on Friday, just to check if I still can at least do a half marathon distance without major drama. And I could, but at 24k I had enough. And it was the same here: this feeling of an inner running child throwing a tantrum: NOOO!! I REALLY don’t want anymore. And then the feeling of not really having a choice, but to move on… Not nice. So I walked, tried to enjoy the spectacular scenery hoping that I will somehow recover. And then there was the feeding station with biscuits. I stuffed my face asking the friendly volunteers if I could stay here forever. “Of course”, was the sweet answer. “But then you won’t finish the race.” You can’t really argue with that, so I moved on. At some point I had walked so much, that the boredom of walking seemed to out-do the pain of running, so I ran. And my first law of marathon running “If you don’t stop, there is no way you won’t reach the finish” proved to be true yet again. After 4 hours 55 minutes I crossed the finish line, feeling a little bit like a cheat by then, because I actually was not feeling that bad. Even the niggles in my left knee that I had felt from the start were completely gone. So I am thinking about the next spontaneous marathon, to redeem myself from not suffering enough and giving it all this time…

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Fingers crossed for Tokyo

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And tick. The ballot for the Tokyo Marathon opened today and will be open for the whole month of August. Followed by a lottery, results will be made known in September. Not sure how over-subscripted Tokyo is, but after managing to get drawn for New York 2015 and London 2016 I might be on a run here.

All My Marathons

After 31 marathons it is time for a little bit of self-indulgence. Having started with this task 6 month ago, I finally completed it: creating a list of All My Marathons! It is a permanent site on my blog and can be found next to the Home link under the header picture. And yes, now it is there, I definitely will keep it up to date… Only problem: There is no next marathon in the pipeline 🙁 Must be a first – ironic.

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Edinburgh Marathon Review

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Edinburgh is a great place and its distinctive blue/white EMF branding suggests, this is not just an other marathon, but something quite special. The organisers do say it is the fastest marathon in UK and the second biggest after London. So I did run Edinburgh with some expectations and not all of them were met. Here the details:

Is it special? Well, in some ways it is, but if you expect to run through the fantastic and iconic streets of the centre of Edinburgh (as I certainly thought I would), disappointment lurks around the corner. Only the first few miles are actually in Edinburgh and none of them is actually going through the beautiful centre. What remains is running a few miles along the seafront and many miles through mainly uninspired suburbs and roads where you know, the sea is somewhere out there, but too often not in sight.

Is it well organised? All the basics are covered very well: start line, baggage transport and finish area with charity village and food choices. However, the finish is not in Edinburgh but, from the view of an ignorant external, in the middle of nowhere. Yes, we were encouraged to and we did order shuttle bus tickets for the journey back, but walking an other 2 miles after a marathon to catch the shuttle bus and then having an other 30 minutes  journey in a cramped bus before you can make your journey back to your hotel from the Edinburgh’s centre, was not ideal. There must be another way of doing this.

Is it fast? The Edinburgh Marathon claims to be the fasted in UK. I am not quite sure where this claim comes from, definitely not from the course record. The course is not as hilly as you would expect for this area and it gives you kind of a head start with a downhill stretch to begin with. But the claim “fastest marathon” set wrong expectation with me and I was surprised by the constant slight inclines and declines along the route. Normally it would not had been a problem, but I just did not expect it because of the claim being the fastest.

Is it fun? Fun can be relative and its a bit in the head of each runner. But it does help that people are fun and friendly. But for my taste I was missing a bit of variety.

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And what about the medal? Well, the medal is uber cool. First, the shape of a long rectangle is quite unique and second, there is a section cut out in shape of the hilly Edinburgh skyline, which you can find in your goody bag as part of a key ring that can be placed like a jigsaw piece back into the medal. I am calling greek alert over my excitement of this, but hey… Here is the picture 🙂

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Conclusion: Edinburgh is a great city to visit and from this perspective you can’t go wrong coming here for the marathon. However, the event itself did not turn out as great to me as the organiser’s claims of fastest, biggest, greatest might suggest.

London – Jubilee with PB

I am still buzzing inside, so great was the event. I love London, I love how well everything is organised and thought trough, I love how the London crowd’s cheers really give you this extra energy, I love the landmarks and London’s rougher bits. I love finishing at Buckingham Palace and the last stretch down the Mall. And I loved it all the same, when I run London in 2012. Back then it was my second marathon, today it was my 30th. Which means I have much more oder marathon events to compare it with and still, the London Marathon, for me, is second to none by miles. What a glorious way to celebrate my 30th Marathon Jubilee. And even better, I can celebrate it with a new personal best time: 3:26:02! Still can’t believe it worked out so well.

Here some pictures: Before crossing Tower Bridge, the finish with Buckingham Palace and the Finish Line in the background and the medal.Tower Bridge

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