Sunday, 16 April 2017


So here we are in the final week! I can't believe the London Marathon is now so close. I'm feeling in good shape for it and hoping next Sunday is going to be a brilliant day I'll never forget. We stayed in Enniscrone with our friends Ciara and Sean and their boys for a long weekend and had a really relaxing few days. Gill and I had a beautiful run along the coast which was really spectacular. You can't leave Enniscrone without trying the famous seaweed baths. Built in 1912, you immerse yourself into the murky bath filled with seaweed.

The wild West of Ireland
Easter Saturday brought about our usual Easter Egg hunt and this year we had 25 children at my mother-in-law's house.  I was amazed to receive over £300 in donations for my London Marathon cause from the day.  People are so kind and generous and I really appreciate all the support. Every year I dress up as a chicken and help the kids find the eggs..and taste one or two to check they are all ok*. A few years back I had tried to get some sort of Easter costume but the only thing Elliott's Fancy Dress had that was remotely close to an Easter outfit was the chicken suit.  The kids now call me 'chicken man'. Gill and I had a nice run on Saturday morning at 7.30 am around Mountsandel Fort and Coleraine before erecting two gazebos and getting ready to host 25 excited kids for the hunt.

Chicken Man wowing the crowds again
The donations are really rolling in and I'm so close to the target I set of £2000.  The charity HOPE FOR YOUTH NI are delighted and have been so supportive to me. At present, the total is £1769.20. For the first time I feel the target is within reach. It's a weight off my mind and I can now focus on hauling myself around the streets of London. Thank you to everyone who told me I could raise the total (especially you Lisa!) whenever I had my doubts. I've hounded everyone so much over the past few months. Don't worry guys.. the end is in sight. 

It was also good to catch up with my friend Vicki who ran the London Marathon in 2015.  She had lots of good tips and advice for getting round the 26.2 miles.

So this final week is all about

  • not drinking any alcohol
  • not eating all the Easter Eggs**
  • carbing up
  • no stupid injuries
  • three small runs
  • checking I've everything packed before we fly over to London on Friday

*  quality control of course
** maybe too late

Tuesday, 4 April 2017


Eighteen days to go and I have completed the dreaded 20 mile run. The tapering process can now start. This is basically a reduction in the miles as I approach race day. No training programme will tell you to run the full 26.2 miles in your training schedule and most will suggest getting to around 20 miles with three weeks to go. From here on in the runs will decrease in length.  That said, I still have a 15 mile run next weekend! I'm still running four times a week, comprising three x five mile runs during mid-week.

Saturday started with porridge and then to keep me fueled for the 20 miles I took some bananas, raisins and gummy bears with me. I ditched the gels and it seemed to work.

Porridge, berries and honey for breakfast

The 20 mile run is done and dusted and gives me great confidence. It went much better than the previous week's run and the aches and pains afterwards weren't as bad either. I think my marathon training is unquestionably being supported by Lucozade Sport.

Thirsty work
Next weekend I'm off to the west coast of Ireland with the family and am looking forward to some new scenery. There seems no end to the running at the minute but with less than three weeks to go the finish line will be in sight soon!

Listened to another Martin Yelling (running guru) Q&A last Friday which was great and is comforting to know there are thousands of others in the same boat with aches, pains and worries about April 23rd just like me.

Sponsorship is now at over £1300. Every time I post on Facebook I get more money so that's why I'm doing it so regularly. Hope For Youth NI is a great local charity and in the run-up to the marathon I'll be posting some great examples of what they do. I know it's a bit annoying to see constant requests for sponsorship but so many people have said to keep reminding them as they've promised to donate*. 

* that's my story anyway!