Having claimed he’d retired from running marathons last year, (and not for the first time I might add! In fact I’m pretty sure he retired twice last year and twice the year before! haha!) Anyway however how many times it is, our chairman Glen Jones has taken himself off the bench once more. Not for “Just one more marathon” as his blog is aptly aimed, but for one more marathon every month for a whole year.
“I wanted to do something for charity and as I’ve run a few marathons now I didn’t feel that running just one was enough to ask people to part with sponsorship money. So I thought I’d up the anti, and really challenge myself” he tells me. “As many of you know, myself and my wife Ruth have been involved in fostering kids for many years, so I have chosen to raise money for the NSPCC. It seemed like the perfect fit for me”
So on Sunday he found himself on the startline of “just one more marathon” up in Sawbridgeworth in Essex.
Organised by Phoenix Running, the Excalibur Series is a brand new sequence of races offering upto 12 “conquests” throughout 2019. The perfect start to Glens own 12 in 12 challenge.
A slightly different format for this marathon. Similar to the Frolic format of loops of a short course, this one is taylor made for a marathon specific distance with 8 laps of the 3.28 mile course perfectly works out at the golden 26.2 miles. However with 6 hours to complete it in, the runners can run more or less laps as they do choose collecting a different coloured wristband on each return to the race HQ before ringing the antique 1920s school bell to announce their retirement and collecting their medal.
Glen arrived in plenty of time the day before to do a little recce of the course, and it was a good job he did.
“I originally thought it would be quite a fast run as it was up and down the flat towpaths. The venue had hosted a similar event the day before so much of the course was pretty churned up. Add to that a full night of rain and by race day it had gone from quite muddy to very muddy”
Unperturbed Glen set off from the Whoosh Canoe Club and out through the metal gates and onto the towpath with the River Stort on his right. Covered with deep puddles, the freezing water added to the cold and blustery conditions.
“The other side of the loop was trail and was treacherous underfoot”
Glen slipped and struggled to maintain an upright position as he made his way around the course. He knew immediately that he would have to readjust his pace to allow for the conditions.
“I decided to take it easy, as it was so energy sapping. So I took advantage of the excellent hospitality at the race HQ area and kept plodding out the laps chatting to people as I went”
He managed to reach his target distance in a tidy 4.55.23 and a fantastic 23rd place overall.
“That was hard on the legs, but the organisation was great! I’ve signed up for Excalibur 3 on the back of this. I’m pretty sure that one won’t be muddy… it’s on a track”
Brilliant start to an epic challenge from the chairman.
Next stop …. Martello Marathon on February 15th with none other than the master of marathons Mr.Stephen Hickman.
You can keep up with Glens journey at https://onemoremarathon.co.uk/