Six years ago, I accepted a challenge to run a half marathon every month and passed it with flying colours. The training was easy (two stone lighter and six years younger) and I consistently hit sub 2hr half marathons. So, for my impending 50th birthday, I thought I’d do the same throughout 2023.
I started with the Town Moor half in December, two days after Christmas – four laps of the Town Moor with ice and wind is not easy but I had the company of a group 1 runner who got me round by talking constantly at me (for those of you who know Simon, you’ll know this is nothing new). I was chuffed with a time of 2:11 with no training (and only one toilet stop; this will make more sense later).
The challenge was set! My New Year was filled with looking for organised races and seeing who would happily run with me as I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be as pretty as 2017. January took me to Brass Monkey in York where Paul B matched Simon’s chat all the way round and helped me in at 2:08; no idea how but it was a warm day (vests in January!) and I was feeling pretty chuffed with myself. So far, I’ve done the following:
- January – Brass Monkey with Paul B – 2:08
- January (extra) – Manchester with my nephew – 2:11 (it’s worth noting my nephew smashed out a 1:27 on his first half!)
- February – Huddersfield with Karen Dalgleish – 2:12 (vile hills, Karen was a dream to run with)
- March – Carlisle after Covid so opted for being miserable and running on my own – 2:13 (mega Saltwell support at the end)
- April – Gateshead in the pouring rain – 2:12 (Gateshead is not pretty)
- May – Edinburgh in the blazing sunshine – 2:08 (Edinburgh is!)
- June – Derby Ramathon with The Siddiqui’s from Gogglebox! (for one mile) – 2:12
July half is in sunny London at Battersea Park with Claire Lloyd; she’s thrilled because neither of us checked the route map before signing up and it’s 8.5 laps of the park – oops. I’m happy because there will absolutely be toilets!
I’ve stopped running with a watch because I hate giving myself a hard time about how much better I used to be – it’s so liberating and definitely psychologically better for me. Bizarrely at Derby I was convinced I’d run my best ever yet it’s one of my slowest – if I’d known that while I was running, I would’ve beaten myself up. It’s worth noting that every half marathon has a loo stop – the joys of middle age – I reckon I’d stand a chance of getting in faster without looking for a portaloo!
I’ve got 6 left to do (yes, I know, there’s only 12 months in the year) and I’m rounding off with the Pop-Up Hills of Low Fell in November – all are welcome! I’m sure there’ll be a trip to the pub after.
What can I do when I’m 51? Rest I reckon… and take up knitting.