Regular readers will know that I’m a bit of a runner. I’m not Mo Farah, by any means, but I do like to pull on my trainers and get out and explore the countryside. Until recently, I’d been running four or five times a week – work and other things permitting – and was covering about thirty or so miles a week. I’ve previously run a couple of 10k races, but, to be honest, I prefer trundling around on my own to being jammed between several thousand other runners.
I thought it would be good, though, to put some goals in my running schedule. Give me something to train for. So I’ve decided to pull out all the stops and have a go at running a marathon. Or, rather, two marathons, to be precise. Not at the same time. Let’s not get carried away here. We’re talking about two separate races. On different days. And separated by a good few weeks.
The first will be the Somerset Levels and Moors Marathon in September. It’s described as a multi-terrain course of ‘approximately’ 26.2 miles on a ‘mainly flat’ course with a couple of ‘challenging’ hills. For race directors to even admit that the course might contain hills is quite something. So for them to actually described the hills as ‘challenging’, well… Oh, and there may be ‘livestock on route’.
The total field last year was about 55 runners, so it sounds like a fairly fun event. Very much my thing. And, despite the rigours that the course may well throw at me, and provided I don’t pass out somewhere along the way, I’m guaranteed a personal best! Fantastic. And far more interesting than plodding around some city streets.
My second race, in mid-October, is slightly more conventional. The Dartmoor Vale Marathon is an on-road run around the villages and country lanes at the edge of the Dartmoor national park, one of my favourite parts of the country. It’s actually a guaranteed 26.2 miles this time and is hoping to attract around 200 runners. I would imagine there’ll be a few hills here, too, but I think we’ll be pretty safe in assuming that livestock will be kept to a minimum.
So I have between now and September to get ready to run a marathon (or thereabouts, in the case of the first race). I’ll bore you with details of my training schedule some other time, but it’s perhaps worth outlining here my goals for the races.
Firstly, and perhaps most obviously, I want to finish both of the races. I’ll not dwell on a specific time goal, though finishing on the same day I started would be a bonus. Secondly, I want to enjoy myself. This means, like everything else in life, not taking the races too seriously. And making sure that, no matter what the course throws at me, I keep smiling. Perhaps there’s a (little) bit of Mo Farah in me, after all.