September was a pretty special month, with the arrival of Nina, my wife Jennie and I’s first baby. She took about 16 hours to come, and Jennie tells me that the bundle of joy at the finish was better than even the best finisher’s medal.
Kielder attracts a great field to what is advertised as Britain’s most beautiful marathon. The course which swoops around the Kielder water never takes you far from the shore, so with big numbers and a clear path, getting lost would be impossible.
This was a great relief given a very sketchy sleep the night before. As the rain came down waiting before the start I felt like having a quick snooze. As the gun went off, so did the rain, as well as Ceri Rees and a couple other runners knocking out near 5 minute mile pace. As they headed up a hill into the distance a fellow runner pointed out that Ceri had won the race the last 2 years and ran a bit internationally.
The scenery consisting of woodland and hills on our left, and water on our right dazzled as the sun came out, whilst the (I am told) 680 metres of ascent and 700 metres of descent broke the journey. I ran with a Dutch lad Cees for the first 12 miles before he took off. Having struggled to train in recent times, I felt short of having that extra gear and just ran a pretty steady pace before hitting the finish banner in 2hr 49mins. I was happy enough with 4th overall, and can not say enough good things about the superb marshalling and organisation. It is a race I would have no hesitation in recommending (unless you are looking for a Personal Best).
I am not quite sure whether to race again this year. I have possibly already done one too many this year so will see how I feel in the next week.
I am quite often asked to share details of talks, below is a list of a few in the next 6 weeks. I am also speaking at events for the Southern General (8th October, Glasgow) , Insurance Society (Edinburgh, 7th November), NHS podiatrists (14th November, Edinburgh) and great to see you if these are areas you work in.
The public events include
11th October. The Edinburgh Ultramarathon Festival with coaching and talks also from Andy Mouncey. I’m doing one talk on running the 10 highest Scottish mountains in a day, and another on illness in runners.
20th October. Being Your Best with 5 times World Champion and Olympic Champion John Ngugi, and Commonwealth Games flag bearer and gold medallist Euan Burton. This event will raise funds for the fantastic John Ngugi foundation.
25th October. MACP- Musculoskeletal Association of Chartered Physiotherapists
1st November. Muckle Toon Adventure Festival. Great trail run and then a talk about Scotland to Sahara, Run the World, Run High Africa, and the Big 10.
I will also look forward to watching 20 minutes of footage, cut into 2 features on “The Adventure Show”, following Donnie Campbell and myself running the 10 highest mountains in Scotland in a day, which is on Wednesday 8th October, BBC 2 Scotland, channel 970 down south, or available on i-player.
Thanks to everyone for so many kind words re Nina, and to main sponsors Merrell UK, and coach Donnie Campbell for their unstinting support as ever.