Here, one of our runners, Simon, tells his story of preparing to run the Uganda Marathon 2017. An experienced runner, he writes about his love of running, how the past week has gone and also looks ahead to the 7 Day Adventure – his first time traveling to Africa!
This week, we join Simon after his participation in the London Marathon, as he tells us about the big day…
By Simon Fox
Why I run: Race day!
The big one; race day, London Marathon 2017. What every runner is working towards; fixing their eyes on the prize that slowly comes closer day by day. Fitting in early starts, fighting through lactate burning legs, aching muscles and it finally arrives; race day!
There can be few bigger race days than the London Marathon. 750,000 people lining the Capital’s streets, 7.5 times more than our national stadium can hold and 40,000 completing the start to finish from the gazelle-like 2:05 elites to the more plod than jog 7-hour plus-ers.
Training is called resting in the week before a marathon, which I dutifully completed by making the normal on-foot commute by bike. On Friday night a good running friend and brilliant host Alex put on a pasta party. A binge on carbs and run chat in the following 4 hours ended with agreements on pace and a final plan for the big day.
Sunday morning and the plan kicked in. Great running pal and fellow carb loader Roger was ready and waiting as I arrived at Blackheath common. We joined the other club runners moving towards the start line squashed together in a bundle of nerves, laughter, and best wishes. We had agreed to go off at 3:42 per km pace which mainly involved telling our bodies to go slower than they wanted to in the first 10km. As 3 hands of royalty pressed the big red button, we were off, blown along by relentless wailing walls of spectators, past iconic London landmarks, with the occasional cry, smile, and wave from friends and relatives amongst the masses.
London is incredible. After 15 miles you go through the first tunnel. It goes silent and you notice it. It’s the first time since waking that you’ve heard no noise and as noticeably as the silence arrived, it soon disappears and is forgotten about, as you enter back onto the conveyor belt of sound and support.
As it turned out, I faded in the final 10k. Fleshy legs turned into 2 concrete lumps and off dropped the desired pace completely. Maybe too ambitious an initial speed, maybe some problems with fuelling and maybe just not enough specific training sessions in the lead-up. I crossed the line in 2:40 with the hope of a PB gone 10 kilometers earlier. Roger came soon after and together we reasoned, reflected and smiled for pictures, knowing that race day is to be relished! No matter the result, running is to be enjoyed and when it brings together such a buzz of community, encouragement, and support on our capital’s streets; it is to be treasured!
I will tell myself now and keep reminding myself: ‘Simon in the Ugandan hills at 25C, whatever you do, don’t go off too fast!’
Week distance: 61km including VLM 2017
Favourite run: km 0-30 of London
Simon is running the Uganda Marathon for two UGM Charity Projects: ‘The Suubi Centre’ and ‘House of Hope and Love for Uganda’. You can check out his fundraising page here. Thanks for writing another awesome post for us Simon!
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