If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know that Sunday was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I’ll explain why in a bit but I want to start by saying how amazing the support has been for me. I really appreciate all the messages and comments!
So, I maybe did 2 or 3 actual training runs for this marathon and I’ll just put this out there.. IT WAS HORRENDOUS.
Before attempting to run Bournemouth, I felt like I had it in me to finish in around 4h 15. I had planned to run at an average pace of 9.45/mi and thought that was a reasonable target considering my previous races. HOWEVER, I massively underestimated my fitness and the difficulty of running a marathon.
The morning of the race
I don’t usually get nervous for anything like this, but I woke up absolutely terrified. I kept asking myself why on earth I thought this was a good idea. My pre race fuel was a pot of porridge and I really struggled to get it down. After eating about half, I got dressed, questioned my life choices again, got ready and left.
Last time I ran in Bournemouth, I nearly missed the race because I thought the start was where the finish was. So this time, I got a taxi to the start and left plenty of time for mistakes. My taxi arrived after about 15 seconds and 5 minutes later I was by the start. Waiting around for an hour wasn’t exactly ideal when I was a nervous wreck, but I suppose it’s better than missing it.
Whilst at the start area, I did all the usual bits and fair play to the organisers, the queues for the loo’s were tiny. After going for way too many wee’s and then being a weirdo checking out people’s shoes, it was go time.
The first half (nearly)
I’ve skipped straight to the first half because not much really happened up to then. Well, there was a huge hill that I stupidly ran up when everyone else was walking. Apart from that, I was on pace and felt decent. I went through the halfway mark at roughly 2:08 and would have been really happy with a 4:16 finish. One annoying thing I did notice was that my Apple Watch was about 0.8 of a mile ahead, so what I thought was a 9.45/mi pace, was actually slower than that.
The fall from grace
I don’t know exactly when it happened but somewhere around mile 13 I just fell apart. My legs refused to move properly and I genuinely couldn’t run for more than 0.1 of a mile. Obviously the main reason for this is the fact that I didn’t train for this. I should’ve known that at some point I’d reach my limit. However, I think that running up that hill seriously damaged my marathon.
Before the race I had planned to meet my girlfriend and our puppies at mile 17. This was prior to my legs completely giving up on me. Somewhere around mile 15 I sent her a text saying I was going stop when I saw her because I couldn’t do it anymore. I was ready to call it quits and accept that the marathon had beaten me.
What she then did is probably the reason I have a finishers medal hanging up in my room.
It might not seem like much to others but it genuinely got me round that day. After I saw them at mile 17, I kept getting pictures of the dogs sent to me saying things like ‘we’re waiting for you’. If I didn’t have any of that, there’s no way I would’ve finished.
I then felt like I couldn’t let her down and obviously I couldn’t quit in front of the puppies..
The last 6 miles
My goal after seeing Alice was to just get to 20 miles and take it as it comes. I’ll be doing a separate review of the course but it really didn’t make my day any easier. You basically had to run 3 miles away and then run back. Seeing the mile 25 marker when you’re still 4 miles away from it was terrible. I’m not surprised that this was the last Bournemouth marathon because it really is a mentally tough course.
By this point it was all about just getting to the finish, whether that was me walking, running or a bit of both. One thing that did nearly kill me off was the wind. At mile 23 it was crazy and it was no surprise that there were kites everywhere.
Now that I’m writing this, I keep thinking that at mile 23 it’s nearly done, so I should’ve been fine. But on the day, it seemed like the finish line, which you could see from about 2 miles away, wasn’t getting any closer. I can remember going past the mile 25 marker and wanting to run it home but I just couldn’t. I’d say I walked maybe a third of the whole marathon and I’m not even ashamed of it.
The 26 mile marker
Just before the 26 sign, I ended up next to a guy who was clearly struggling as much as me. We got talking and I said we should run it in from there. Realistically we both knew our legs would probably give up before that 0.2 was over, but we gave it a go anyway.
The support towards the end was amazing and we somehow managed to run it in and finished together. We shook hands at the end and thanked each other, because I think we were both just grateful that we could run the last bit. It’s not the first time it’s happened to me and I’d really encourage anyone to join up with someone at the end and push each other to finish strong.
Immediate thoughts post marathon
I had a bunch of different emotions when it was all over. Obviously the first was just pure relief that I wasn’t still out there running (walking). Whilst I was walking to the spectator area I couldn’t stop myself from crying just because I had so many different emotions. I was absolutely gutted about the time. I was annoyed at myself because I thought I’d let everyone down. I was excited to see Alice and the dogs. I was in pain. I was relieved that it was over. All that just had me in tears and getting some strange looks from people walking by.
That was all brought on by myself though because in reality, I haven’t let anyone down. I had one goal and that was to finish a marathon. I always knew it was going to be a near impossible task, I just didn’t know how hard it would actually be.
Before Sunday, I was planning to run Paris 2020 and really focus on it. However, I just don’t think I’m ready for it. I think I need more time to get fit, get quicker and get a real good training block done. I also need to lose about 2 stone, so that’s my next goal.
Would I recommend anyone doing what I did? Absolutely not. If you’re thinking about attempting a marathon without proper training, don’t. Wait for one that is at least 12-14 weeks away and train hard for it.
I don’t regret what I did because I’ve proved that I could do it. But, I wouldn’t do it again. I’m really looking forward to actually running a marathon and enjoying it.
In conclusion, running a marathon with no training is possible, but it’s not exactly fun!
Thanks for reading up until this point, I’ll have more content coming soon so subscribe to my blog below. Peace.