When you can’t run your event…

I was supposed to run the Birmingham Marathon a couple of weeks ago.

Unfortunately, when the weekend came around, circumstances meant that I couldn’t get there. 

It was one of those things, but was a strange feeling to be missing out. I was due to travel there with three friends and was on the WhatsApp group as they set off on the Saturday.


It was odd seeing the updates as they got ready for the big day and so I had a beer and tried not to think about it too much.

On Sunday morning, I did not quite know what to do.

I thought about going for a run but then opted for a volunteering shift at junior parkrun – it’s always a pleasure and I loaded up the tracker to keep an eye on the gang’s progress all morning. 

It was great to watch them build up the miles and wonderful when they were all safely over the finish line. I just felt gutted not to be there to be part of it. 

When they got back that night, I picked them all up from the station to hear all about it and see the medals. 

There will always be other days and other medals to pick up but it was going to be my last big run of 2017 so that felt a bit unfinished. 

As I had got some sponsorship for Stand Up To Cancer for the run, I also felt that I needed to complete the distance one way or another.

Weekends are always a bit hectic so I found time on a day off on holiday to set off early in the morning and get it done. 

As I was away from home, I did not do much route-planning and just decided to do small loops in the area I knew and avoiding too many roads and hills. I used both a Garmin watch and Strava on the iPhone to keep an eye on the mileage. 

There was no rush and the lack of planning saw me scrambling over rocks on a beach and doubling back a few times too. 

The early miles seemed to take an age and the best bit was along Saundersfoot beach when low tide gave me the chance to go on and on and on along the sand. In my head it was like Chariots of Fire but passers-by would probably disagree. 

When I was tired I walked up the slopes and found a nice riverside path to Stepaside at around 20 miles which was good to pick up a flat few miles. 

At 24 miles I had a nice chat to a family who had spotted that I had been out for a while! I saw them again at 25.5 miles and the dad (who was carrying an Ironman Tenby rucksack) gave me a great big cheer to spur me on – thank you IronMan!

As always there was a discrepancy between the two GPS versions so I kept going until both were over 26.3 miles just to be sure. 

And then it was done. It did feel good to have done the marathon I had planned for (and was sponsored for) and I shared an ice cream with my son by way of celebration. 

The Pembrokeshire coast on a pleasant October day was a wonderful place to do it and it was in the main week of Stand Up To Cancer too.

It’s such an important cause and there’s lots of great programming on Channel 4 to enjoy. If you can, text the word TEN or TWENTY to 70404 to support.

Have you ever had to miss an event? Did you make it up afterwards? 

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