Here, one of our runners, Simon, tells his story of preparing to run the Uganda Marathon 2017. An experienced runner, he tells us about his love of running, how the past week has gone, his plan for the forthcoming week and his excitement about traveling to Uganda in late May.
We join Simon at the beginning of his running journey, as he tells us where it all began…
By Simon Fox
Start at the start
April 2014. Up popped on my newsfeed a picture from 3 years ago. Broad smiles of me and my dad stood on Brighton promenade after completing my first marathon. I’d signed up so that in the year after graduating from Nottingham, I could commit to some exercise in what would be a busy year of teacher training. Three years later, I’m about to embark on my 5 & 6th marathons- two weeks out from another London and hopefully another crack at lowering my year on year improving PB of 2:38, before 5 weeks later a trip to the hills, dust, and smiles of the Uganda International Marathon! An opportunity to visit the diverse, fascinating continent of Africa for the first time, meet a host of international runners and locals whilst visiting and raising money for surrounding projects.
The past week: heat training the wrong way
This last week has been what I love about running. A week ago today I awoke at 6:10 am beneath the now-famous volcano Eyjafjallajökull which halted flights across Europe after erupting in 2010. A 16km out and back would have had a dreamy view of the volcano silhouette in the rising sun. But no. All I saw was cloud and rain. I stayed patient though and was rewarded when, at the turn around point, I found a small footpath leading to a waterfall flowing over a ridge. On getting closer to it, I realised that the footpath went right in behind it, and the next thing I knew I was screaming with joy/endorphins as the ice-cold water ran over my head and down my neck!
Back in the capital, I woke up the following day to a -5c icy, snowy Reykjavik. Maybe the wrong type of heat training, but still, snowy capped mountains and a low sun casting long shadows over the port and promenade kept my spirits high and smile dominant!
Back in southeast London, I got my last marathon paced session in pre-London: 24k at 3:44km”, with 12 laps of a local park. Having passed the same women running in the opposite direction, what must have been 15 times, it was a question of who would crack first!?
Onto the weekend and a morning run at Parkrun with some special running mates, in Catalonian Roger and dad of 4 boys, Sam. Then, with 25c in London by 3 pm on Sunday, so maybe this time the 31km on road and trails was more appropriate ‘heat’ training.
Running has taught me so much in the past 4 years. Lessons of discipline, reflection, enjoyment, and contentment. In Uganda I look forward to the new things I will learn and the people I meet, the places I visit and the hot hills I run up. Bring it all on!
Week in km’s: 134km
Running highlight: Behind the Icelandic waterfall
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