The 20 miler. Its a long run by anyones standards, and I always find the number really quite daunting. No matter which way you split (4×5 miles, 3×6 and a bit) it never seems any shorter or more manageable. However, perhaps the most surprising thing about this past weekends 20 miler was that the plan only asked for 17!!
As the final really big weeks come along ahead of MK Marathon (40-something days to go), to save having the long run hanging over my head throughout the weekend, I’ve managed to strike a deal to get it done and dusted on a Saturday morning.
I’ve also had a great idea to try and incorporate Stevenage ParkRun as well. Using all my local knowledge from a misspent youth growing up in Stevenage and the surrounding areas I searched for the shortest route between home and Stevenage ParkRun, heading down various alleyways and footpaths, but could only muster a shortest route of about 8.5 miles. Just a tad too far for the planned 17 miles. Getting Google to plot the route though, stick completely to main roads and 6.95 miles is the distance. So much for that local knowledge!
Setting off from home, it was a beautiful sunny morning, I noticed the daffodils, but my legs felt quite heavy and I thought I was in for a long day. Coasting through the outskirts of Stevenage though, time was going pretty much to plan – passing an Uncle but not having time to stop, so a quick wave, but it would the start of the ‘bumping’ into people for this run.
I was all set for arriving just before the 9am start (with perhaps a minute or 2 to spare). Then my local knowledge really kicked in, and I took a wrong turn! This ultimately meant I got to ParkRun a couple of minutes after the start. In the distance I could just see the tail-runners by the top of the lake. I plodded on regardless and at the 1KM marker I finally caught up with the tail runners, before then awkwardly making my way through the field for the next 2 laps. I think I also raised some eye brows when I took a gel at the start of the 2nd lap (is this a 1st for ParkRun?). I think strange looks were only diminished by the fact I had another 2 gels in my race belt and a bottle of Lucozade (which have strangely become a bit of a comfort blanket for me in recent runs!?!). It was also on this 2nd lap that I bumped into a lad that I used to play football with.
Finishing ParkRun I had a quick scan of the crowds to try and see the only person I thought I’d actually meet today, but to no avail. I just assumed he wasn’t taking part today and so tried to pluck up the motivation to start the run home.
Through Stevenage Old Town I bumped into my boss. I could tell I was feeling quite good as I commented I ‘only’ had 3 miles to go, and felt very much on the home straight. A little further up the road, I bumped into the same Uncle from earlier on, and stopped for a quick chat. I was then faced with a choice to take a scenic but slightly longer route or continue on the main road. I was feeling fairly good, so headed out onto Letchworth Greenway when I was overtaken by a work colleague on a bike who also stopped for a quick chat!
Getting closer to home, I had a quandary. Finish on about 18 miles, or plump for the 20. Feeling good, I headed off on another loop. A few minutes later I wasn’t feeling quite as good though, started to regret that decision, but somehow managed to press on regardless!
20 miles done. Boom!
Willen Hospice and MK Marathon 2017
In May 2017 I’m running MK Marathon to raise funds and awareness for Willen Hospice, an amazing local charity. I’ll be blogging my journey from here to the finish line. If you’re in a position to make a donation, however small, it’d be greatly appreciated. My JustGiving page is here, or alternatively you can text ‘GBMK50 £3’ to 70070 to make a £3 donation.