There are some impressive achievements in the Marathon distance to report of this month. Without question, Barry O’Driscoll’s completion of his ambitious challenge of running in 9 marathons in 9 weeks – that is about 235 miles incorporating Manchester, London, Wales, Belfast, Stratford-on-Avon, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Brighton (and one more marathon that I can’t remember?). Barry is not a natural runner by any stretch of the imagination, so Barry would have dug down to depths that most of us would fear. It would be difficult to recall a tougher achievement and from what Barry has had to deal with in life, it is amazing. You can read more about his final run in Edinburgh further down this page.
Quite remarkably, an hour before Barry crossed the finish line in Edinburgh, Tewkesbury’s Annabel Roberts completed her racing debut with an outstanding 3:10 hr performance! Her time is the 2nd fastest (behind Shona’s) woman’s time in several years and has left the club’s top male runners quaking in their trainers. Annabel had to manage pain and discomfort during her race, however placing 21st female in a capital city marathon from nearly 3,000 women is worth it. Extra kudos must be awarded as Annabel does have a busy life and her training dairy would be missing the normal miles that it takes to run a good marathon.
Back in the shire at Boddington, Angie Sadler ran in the marathon event and took the top ladies prize with 3:38 hr. Although a smaller field with 43 finishers, Angie had to race smart to finish 15th overall as the 2nd place woman chased in 16th place. A satisfying effort by Angie as this would be her most local marathon challenge. The village also featured a busy 10km race and Tewkesbury’s most senior member, Mike Ward, timed 73 minutes to take the V70 1st place – although Mike is approaching his mid-80s, he shows those 10 years his junior a clean pair of heels.
Here is Barry's race account...
Event no.9, Edinburgh Marathon - the final chapter in the 9 marathons in 9 weeks challenge. Weather forecast predicted 21 degrees and windy, but proved mildly inaccurate. Awoke to Edinburgh eerily shrouded in mist, with another 10am start to accommodate the earlier half marathon (apparently some runners manage to race both events!)
My race started brightly, running around, down and up through the city before descending past Holyrood, Arthur’s Seat, and onwards towards Musselburgh. It was truly wonderful to run along the promenade with the waves crashing on the foreshore. Managed to keep my demons in check, and kept race pace keen upto 20 miles before the hurt kicked in - the last few weeks finally taking its toll on my feet, ankles and ITB. The last 6 miles were a lesson in pain management 😳
Found myself quite emotional as I approached the finish. This challenge has turned into a voyage of discovery for me - I’ve learnt so much about my mental toughness. As the tears started I threw myself into a sprint finish, jumping across the line and punching the air. Time -4:11.
Challenge conquered! 😎
Total miles - 235.8
Time taken - 56 days (I finish a week early 👏)
Total marathon time - 40:02
Average marathon time - 4:26
I can’t quite believe it’s over, and that I actually managed to complete them all. Who would’ve thought it possible. It’ll take a while to sink in. Would I do it all again? In a heartbeat.
“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must...just don’t be shit!”
#9in9 #9in9marathonchallenge #9marathonsin9weeks