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Published: March 6th 2009
Yes hello 118, can you tell me where the nearest KFC is please?
Three weeks to go until the first Marathon and it was time to undertake our next big training challenge.
Today would see us run 20 miles along the Kent coast. After the celebration of last weekends half marathon personal best, I thought yeah why not, lets just stick another 7 miles on top, could be fun right?
So now I’m a proper athlete it was time to get serious about the pre-race routine. Saturday night I crashed around Marathon Paul's house, as he would also be running tomorrow. Being the finely tuned running machines that we are, we knew it was important to get the right balance of light exercise and nutrition the night before a big race. Well come on now, what did you think we were going to do....sit around playing video games and eating Jaffa cakes?! Before the jaffa cakes we had finished off a pretty large helping of Paul's pre-race ritual pasta. Unfortunately the pasta was laced with mushrooms, but I was prepared to let it go as Paul is a such fun-guy. Sorry I don't even know why I wrote that really crap pun, it sounded really lame in my
own head and I still don't know what's compelling me to keep tapping away at the keyboard now explaining it rather than just hitting the delete key!
Ding ding ding went my alarm at 6am, well actually it went a little bit more like the riff of In Between Days by The Cure as that's my alarm tone, but its much harder to write how that sounds using text.
Half an hour later, after stopping to grab Ben, the four of us were hurtling our way to Kent in Paul's mate Wills car.
On arrival at the coast we started suiting up and you can imagine how we had a giggle or two when collecting our numbers only to find out Ben was 118! I was tempted to alter the 7 on my 117 bib to an eight just for fun!
As it was a tad cold I decided to put my running tights on under my shorts....it's okay. I am an athlete now. Unfortunately Ben decided he would do the same, except he looked a bit daft with his board shorts on over the top of his tights. Thankfully he managed to avoid this by
Thankfully this picture isn't great quality.
Other wise you would be able to see Ben wearing just tights. Nice
wearing JUST his tights. Oh god, I think I just accidentally did a little sick in my own mouth.
As the mayor set us off, Paul did just that. He got off to an absolute flyer and disappeared in a cloud of smoke (I blame the mushrooms) Meanwhile Ben and I were amusing ourselves laughing away at some fella who resembled Billy Ocean crossed with Bob Marley!
5 miles in and things were going okay. There were a few hilly parts which made it a bit trickier on the legs and by 7 they were starting to fell tired, enter the horse. Not an actual horse, just some dude that seemed to think it necessary to breath out violently every time he exhaled, that meant the air rippled of his lips, resembling the noise a horse made. This may seem quite trivial, but I cant stress how annoying this is when you are feeling a bit weary.
10 miles in and I was really struggling to keep up with Ben, so much so that I was starting to drop back a bit which saw quite a gap open up between the two of us. A gap that
I just couldn't get anywhere near closing. Mentally I still felt quite good, but physically my trainers felt like they were made of lead and I was having real problems just lifting my legs. This wasn't looking good at only the halfway point.
I soon lost sight of Ben altogether and the only constant became the rippling sound from horse boy. He was like a leech that I just couldn't shake off. at times I moved slightly ahead of him, just enough that he was no longer in earshot, but then just like a dose of glandular fever I would start to feel a slow pain in my neck followed by the faint ripple of horse on the horizon, giving way to a full on stampede! With my heavy lead like legs in tow, I had for a brief moment considered just running straight into the sea and getting away from him once and for all.
15 miles down and finally I'd managed to shake him off, well I say that, the reality is I was starting to fall back further and further. With just two miles to go, more and more people were starting to pass me
and my legs were burning like never before.
As I approached the park with just one mile left, I heard Paul cheering me on from the side where he was already standing, tracksuit back on, medal hanging from his neck.
As I ran around the final bend, I felt a pain shooting up my left leg and was seriously doubting whether or not I'd make the finish line. With just a couple of hundred yards to go, Paul started cheering me on and I think he could see I was struggling. Foolishly I stated to him 'I say dear chap, I think my legs are a bit tired' (ok so I may have used slightly more coarse language than that) to which Paul, as he started to jog along side me, pointed out 'you've just run 20 miles Darren' It was a fair point. Paul ran along side me to the finish line, spurring me on. It was a touching moment akin to when Derek Redmond's father helped him finish the 400m in Barcelona in 1992. Well Derek and I do have a lot in common, we are both athletes after all.
At the finish line I
Where there's a Will....
there's a way of running 20 miles!
just about had the strength to grab my medal and though I was disappointed with my legs, I was still happy that I'd once again beaten my previous 20 mile time by 10 minutes. From 2hrs 52 down to 2hrs 42!
Paul had finished almost twenty minutes faster in 2:28 and well done to Ben who clocked an unbelievable 2:34! The day was done and with the final 20 mile run in the bag, the next time we go anywhere near that distance will be as we hopefully cross the finish line in Rome.
The final push is on guys....a big thanks to everybody that has sponsored us so far. We have raised over £1500 for the British Lung Foundation and are well on the way to reaching our £2000 target. Can your donation be the one that tips us over the edge? Only one way to find out!! http://www.justgiving.com/3marathonchallenge
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