Marathon Madness

I want to do a marathon. I found out I wanted to do a marathon when Edinburgh started advertising for 2016 marathon video bloggers. As I considered my reasons for the application, I learned this was something that I actually really wanted to do. However, then I did some research, and I realized I did not really want to do Edinburgh. Mainly because of the colossal out-and-back section. I HATE out-and-backs. Perhaps later in life, if I ever become mentally strong in races. I have also competed in the Edinburgh half a few times, and found its relentlessly flat nature depressing (first world run problems, eh?).

Not flat, not boring.

So I started researching my options. I wanted scenic, I wanted to not be left alone (so a fair number of finishers close to my self-estimated time), I wanted not TOO many crowds and crushes. So something perhaps a little more wild, something a little smaller but not WEE. I wanted something that gives me ample time to prepare, and to follow a real training plan. I wanted something with a bit of hills. And something next year probably, given the PhD deadlines this year. 

Preferably with lots of green stuff.

I looked at Loch Katrine for 2016 (May usually). Looks stunning but seems to be a complete out and back. I also think starting training in November may run into the end of the PhD, so maybe not. Not for the first one, but its definitely on the list. I'm considering Strathearn 2016 (June), but I'd need to start training properly in December (should be okay). I'm worried about Strathearn being smaller- worried that I may be left solo for hours on end, slugging it out on the roads. I had a look at Fort William 2016 (July, training would start January). Fort William is a definite possibility. It looks stunning, and is pretty hilly in places. And multi-terrain. There are also a good number of finishers around the sort of time I'd like to be doing. Also the pre-race party sounds awesome.

All images from the marathon sites linked.

Then we are off into autumn 2016- the Highland Perthshire Marathon, Loch Ness Marathon, and Kielder water Marathon in October. Highland Perthshire is a lap course (2 laps for the marathon), which  immediately puts me off a little, but it is meant to be rather lovely and has its hills placed in the centre of each lap. One to think about. Loch Ness is a real possibility- scenic, good finishing times for me, its slightly undulating... but in a decidedly downhill fashion. Is that bad? Isn't that a bit like what the Edinburgh half was like? Am I overthinking this?!?* The Kielder Marathon is again beautiful. Much flatter than some of the others though. And a later time of year.

If you have done any of the above then I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Feel free to link race reports from your blog, or make notes on any specific training you think would help!

So after that rambling muse, lets get down to the main point: marathons are hard... why on earth do I want to do this? Why did I even consider applying for Edinburgh in the first place?

  • Despite loving running, I've never run a marathon! I want to see if I can apply myself to something totally new to me. Something that is really pretty scary
  • I'd also like to raise some serious cash for charity. To be honest when you run a 10k weekly, people kind of stop sponsoring you for them. They start to get the sneaking suspicion that the distance really isn't a big deal to you.
  • Lastly, and most importantly, because I can. I want to show myself what I'm capable of. And show all the people who have always kind-of-wanted to do one that they can too. 

Another good thought is, 'Why did I want to volunteer to do a marathon as a guest blogger?'. There's one answer to that: Accountability. With all those people watching me, I'd really have to apply myself. I couldn't duck out and say, 'oh its alright, I'm sure i would have been terrible anyway'. I'd need to just get my head down and get on with it. So here I am, telling all of you, so I will just get on with it. 

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Marathon experiences? Suggestions about the marathons discussed above? Words of caution on any?

Please feel free to link race reports if you have any!

Other suggestions for a first marathon?

* Almost definitely

PS: Apologies for the double re-used photos, I have been low on both photographs and time at the moment!


14 Comments:

  1. Yay for marathons! I've done three so far and I think my favourite was the smaller of the three (Liverpool R&R). It felt more personal. Saying that though, Berlin and Paris were EPIC. But required more organisation and the morning was more stressful because pf the sheer amount of people. Smaller is better I think for your first one as it means you can relax a bit more and the marshals will be more attentive to you as an individual, rather than a number.

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    1. Thanks so much for the advice Anna :-)!

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  2. Ha, sorry just tweeted you about Edinburgh and Highland Perthshire Marathon.
    I did both as half's (Edinburgh last year and two years ago, HP last year). The latter because of this report:
    http://mockjogger.com/?p=1594

    I'm doing the HP full marathon this year (5 weeks to go...) and I picked it as my first because I can train through summer. Consider how many times you had to train in the dark for Edinburgh and how different that would be for an autumn marathon.

    So, I think Loch Ness (or HP) would be better options. Also because PhDs usually take longer than expected ;)

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    1. Thanks for the link to the report! Thats a good point- I need to have more of a think about when I will be training!

      Thanks :)

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  3. Ooh I'd like to do a marathon in spring too but haven't got as far as deciding where. I'm doing the Northumberland castles HM in October, it can also be done as full marathon abs sounds lovely, but I'll not be ready for full thing by then. I'll be following your comments to find out more advice/options!! X

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    1. Do it as a full next year ;-)! Just looked it up and it does look lovely x

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  4. Yay for marathons! You know that I love them :) My favorites are the mid-size, but like an earlier commenter said, the big ones are definitely fun, just for different reasons. I like the ones that are about 5,000 runners....

    I'm excited to follow along with your training!

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    1. Thanks Jessie, thats good advice! And yes, I'll be blogging away!

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  5. I'm excited for you!! I've done I think 6 now, Dublin was my first in 2012, I've done Manchester, Milton Keynes, Berlin, Thames Meander and Richmond Park. Dublin was awesome because it was my first, and I loved Berlin, but I don't know if I could do another big city one (other than London). The last two I've done have been small, trail-ish, it's just a totally different atmosphere and vibe, and I enjoyed them immensely.

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    1. Thanks Lauren! I am thinking Ft William for the smaller + trail aspects! I'll keep you all posted.

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  6. I started losing the will to live at Amsterdam marathon in 2013 around the lake or whatever it was. We were at something like 5 miles and you could see the halfway arch just the other side of the water... Definitely not a marathon I would do again thanks to that out and back section!

    I've heard very good things from clubmates about the Loch Ness one.

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    1. I had not thought of that aspect of lake or loch based marathons- you might be able to see the finish... Hmm! Thanks for your tips :)!

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    2. Yay for doing a marathon! I can't remember if I replied on twitter, but I've just come across this post (procrastinating at work a little!) and got to give my recommendations. DEFINITELY go for Strathearn if you can. Yes it's hilly, but what goes up must come down and it's so beautiful. One of my favourites as it's just so beautiful and don't worry about being on your own, there's a wide range of runners from your speedies to your plodders so everyone has someone! And also highly recommend Highland Perthshire. I thought the 2 lap thing would be off putting as well but it really isn't. You notice so many different things on each lap and there is only that one hill (twice) and it's less than half a mile long :) Loch Ness was my first and it's definitely amazing, but its just so busy. I nearly tripped quite a few times trying to get going in the first 3 or 4 miles. I suppose all big marathons are! I've blogged about all of them so have a wee look if you still haven't made your mind up!

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    3. Thanks Iona! I will be having a look at all your write-ups :)!

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