Dan Bows – My Newport Wales Marathon Story

One Bloke, One Week, One Marathon…

Not necessarily the title of a best seller that you’ll rush out to buy but nonetheless a true story of heroism, near death experiences and overcoming adversity, or as some people have since told me… stupidity.

Now, to set the scene for my avid readers… About a month before the Newport Marathon a friend of mine, who was due to run to raise money for KOAC dropped a bombshell that due to injury he may not be able to complete the event. With just over a week to go, the fears were realised and unfortunately due to Doctors advice, he would be unable to compete.

Stupidly or heroically (depends on your view) I agreed that I could probably make my way round at a leisurely pace to ensure that this fantastic charity had the representation and I hoped that doing this challenge at short notice would help to boost our fundraising efforts.

So, how do you prepare for a marathon at a week’s notice I hear you ask… Not like I did!

Now, I wouldn’t exactly call my training routine scientific and I probably wouldn’t advise anyone follow my approach. I started by getting drunk on the Saturday night and followed that with a 16 mile run on the Sunday. My immediate thought… well, if I can do 16 miles hungover then I can probably get to 22 miles sober and then the adrenalin will carry me through. Yeah… Something like that…

The rest of the week, I rested, popped one short run to keep the legs moving and carbo-loaded in the days before the event. So this bit of training (or tapering as I believe they call it in the Pro’s) was actually done (kind of) right!!

Then came the big day and I actually felt nervous approaching the start line, which I didn’t think I would because I was just going to wander round casually but… it was a cold day so I may have gone off a little bit quicker than I’d hoped.

Now, any long distance runner worth their salt will tell you that you should pace yourself consistently over the course of the race… My approach however quickly changed from ‘a gentle jaunt’ to ‘let’s see how far I can get at a decent pace… then I’ll just hold on’ so off I went.

By the time I reached half marathon distance in 1 hour 43 minutes I was feeling comfortable and was actually ahead of the 3 hour 30 minute pacer. I managed to keep a decent pace going until mile 16 (sober this time) and then I decided I needed to ease off and settle in.

Now… by the time I got to mile 19-20, to say I fell off a cliff is an understatement. It felt like I was running backwards in custard and my body started aching but, seeing as the pain was the same whether I was walking or jogging, I decided that jogging was probably the quicker option (Just!).

I struggled through to mile 24 when Newport’s splendid transporter bridge came into view and the crowds gave me a new lease of life meaning the last 2 miles were actually lovely; I even managed a ‘sprint’ (fast jog) finish and crossed the line in 3 hours and 41 minutes surpassing even my wildest expectations.

I’d just like to add that the marathon was a great event and the support was fantastic but most importantly, we managed to raise some money which will go towards a fantastic day/event and will lead to a wonderful memory for a family suffering from the atrocities associated with cancer.

So, on reflection…

  • If you’re looking for a challenge, you should definitely consider a Marathon. It really was a rewarding experience.
  • If running a Marathon… you need to train for more than a week!! You also probably need to consider some sort of training plan.
  • Try to run a consistent pace. 1:43 for one half and 1:58 for the second half is a bit of a drop…
  • Don’t agree to challenges when drunk!