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Why marathons, why me, why L&LR, why not?!

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25 Jan 2015

Sharing my journey into marathons and ultra-marathons to challenge myself and raise funds for L&LR to help beat blood cancers

I am a 53 year old Dad with two daughters at UNI, kart racer and a management consultant working long, pretty stressful hours and living in North Hants.  Since late 2012 I am a runner too!  Also, entirely against expectation, I am the Chairman of a running club (Sherfield Park Runners) that my partner, Debs, and I started in April 2013!

2014 saw 5 half marathons (Reading, Fleet, Edinburgh, Bristol and Basingstoke), lots of 10Ks and 5Ks (love parkrun in Basingstoke and as a “tourist”) and various trails including in a team of 8 at this year’s fabulously wet and muddy Endure24 where my contribution was five, 5 mile laps.  I am constantly being told I am bonkers especially when I grab a new challenge, often coming from when someone says “...you can’t” or “...you are too old”.  This applies even more with my 2015 running plans ... my first marathons (VMLM and Berlin) and straight on to do Endure24 again BUT this time as a SOLO as my first Ultra Marathon, followed by my second ultra, the Salisbury 5-4-3-2-1!  With 4 half-marathons and many 10Ks and trail races too.

I am doing all this to raise funds to support the fabulous work at L&LR, and I have 3 key reasons:
1. My hugely influential and inspirational Dad who died, aged 94, in November 2014 and wanted monies raised to beat blood cancer.
2. My brother, Chris, died of Myeloid Leukaemia in 1999, aged 51.
3. My karting friend, Paul Lee-Davis, who was a larger than life, fun loving character who died of leukaemia in 2011 aged 37.

Through L&LR I am fortunate to be working with a running coach, Ben from Full Potential, who has created a personalised 20 week training plan that includes my club sessions and loads of winter trail / cross country races.  Now finished week 7, deep (227 miles with 132 miles in 2015) into the pre London plan, seeing and feeling benefits although not (yet) shifting the weight I want to (basic physics...want to carry less weight, and each 1lb off equates to 10lbs less pressure on my knees) and have not touched a drop of alcohol since N Y Eve...even having a non-alchi birthday!  
Amazingly, although it is relentless with 5-6 running sessions, plus pilates, plus swimming each week I am utterly enjoying it (yes, I am bonkers!). This week there was no long run, just lots of effort sessions complete with a 4.8 mile VERY muddy cross country race for my club…great training combining speed, hills and real hard endurance. 

More here and on my Ultrabonkers blog soon - watch this space!


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Great blog Mark!

Sounds like you're well on track with your marathon training and it's great that you're feeling the benefits even though they're not translating themselves in terms of weight loss just yet. Have you asked Ben for any nutrition tips?

The pilates will really help strengthen your core while the swimming is a good cross-training option which will keep your fitness up while taking some of the impact off your knees.

I think it's fantastic what you're doing in memory of your brother, Lee and your Dad who would be all proud of you although I think they'd agree that you're a tiny bit bonkers to be doing so many runs! You're an inspiration to us all. Keep blogging and good luck with all your training!


I am so proud of your dedication and determination to succeed with all your running events this year - and there are many!!!! VLM is just the start! You are an inspiration - completely bonkers - but an inspiration!