Last weekend update 23/02/2018:
This weekend marks the end of my year long running challenge, when I run the Glentress Marathon. Since last February I have aimed to complete at least one race per month until February 2018. And I’ve done it! Well as long this weekend goes to plan. Sometimes the races have been ridiculous distances, 100km being the longest, but some months I was sensible with a 5km. At the heart off all of these has been the the reason I run - Cystic Fibrosis.
During tough points in races, particularly the ultramarathons, I needed to remind myself why I was doing what I was doing. I was raising money for the CF Trust, and more personally I was doing it in memory of my brother Paul. My hope is that I’ve raised some awareness of the condition and that the donations I’ve received from my amazing supporters goes some way to finding a cure and supporting sufferers and their families.
The running has helped me personally as well. When I started this challenge it had been a couple of years since Paul passed away, and I still found that tough to deal with. Mainly I wasn’t as confident as I was, maybe people wouldn’t see that as I forced myself to seem confident, but I felt it was an act. However in the past year I’ve run distances I thought would be impossible for me. I’m maybe not back to where I was but it has helped. I mention this because I know other people reading this might be dealing with a loss, everyone will recover different but I think you should try the impossible. If for any reason you don’t achieve your goal, well it was impossible and you’ve not lost anything, but if you surprise yourself it’s an amazing feeling.
Although this is my last planned running weekend I will take on another ultramarathon in March if I reach £2k in donations. I'm not that far off and as long as I reach the target in the next 2 weeks I'll get signed up. Depending of availability I'll be going for Glasgow to Edinburgh on 31 March.
Finally if like to say thank you to everyone who has supported me so far. That's anyone who has donated, who has asked about how my races/training are going, to physios who have put me back together, to strangers who have spoken to me during ultramarathons, to my work for arranging fundraisers, my colleagues for sitting through my presentations, strangers in coffee shops or online who have donated, the people who inspire me with their efforts and Kate plus all the other staff at the CF Trust who have supported me all year. And a big thank you to my fiancée Donna, who has supported me while still doing her own fundraising and been understanding when running has distracted me from wedding planning (sorry - it'll have my full attention after Sunday).
What I'm doing
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Around about May/June last year (2016) I decided to try getting back into running after maybe 10 years or so away from it. It didn't really start that well. One of my first few runs was meant to be a three mile run but I gave up less than a mile into it. It was a bit of a low point for me. I was pretty happy to be on my own to save my pride!
Things picked up though and in October I ran the Great Scottish Run half marathon in 01:45:19 which I felt was pretty respectable considering where I was 4-5 months before. Best of all I managed to raise over £400 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in memory of my brother Paul who passed away in 2014.
Having managed the half marathon I started looking for my next challenge in 2017. The obvious next step was a marathon, but that would be a one off achievement. I wanted to do something that would last the year. So I have decided to run a race each month of 2017.
As with the Great Scottish Run I will be raising funds for the CF Trust in memory of my brother. Paul was a big influence on my life and his own achievements help drive me on. For a while I lost that drive. Although I started to get back on track before running, it has definitely helped me feel more confident again. I’m by no means a top class runner nor will I become one, but pushing my limits (at my own pace) gives me a sense of achievement.
I have my races for the first half of the year decided and will update the list if it changes.
7 Jan - Great Edinburgh Winter Run - 5km
25 Feb - Glentress Trail Marathon - 26.2 Miles
19 Mar - Loch Katrine Marathon - 26.2 Miles
02 Apr - Glasgow to Edinburgh - 55 Miles
14 May - Monkland Half Marathon - 13.1 Miles
03 Jun - Salomon Sunset run Edinburgh - 10 km
18 Jun - Great Scottish Summer Run - 10km
18 Jun - The Great Scottish Tattie Run - 1 Mile
08 Jul - Saint Cuthbert Way - 100km
27 Aug - Malmesbury 10 km - 10 km
10 Sep - From Hel' n Back - 12 km
01 Oct - Glencoe Marathon - 26.2 Miles
18 Nov - Glentress Winter Trail Half Marathon - 13.1 Miles
18 Nov - Glentress Winter Trail Night 10km - 10km
19 Nov - Tweed Valley Forest Ultra Trail - 65km
24 Dec - DB12Run Presents Baltic - 12km
13 Jan - Great Edinburgh Winter Run 5km
25 Feb - Glentress Trail Marathon – 26.2 Miles
Although I ran in January I think I will keep going until February 2018 since I’ve been a bit slow getting my fundraising up and running.
UPDATE 16/11/17 - Fundraising target increased from £1,000 to £2,000. If I meet this new target I will run an additional ultramarathon in March or April.