This is a long one. I make no apology whatsoever!
Part I: Thank you
Firstly, I would like to take the opportunity to say thank you to some special people, without whom this challenge would have fallen flat. There are so very many of you, here goes. Thank you to…
Those people closest to me, from whom this challenge has, at times, distracted my attention. You know who you are. I’d like to say it’ll get better from today, but there are bigger challenges ahead as you already know, and you know I can’t pass up a challenge. Thanks for your unending support, cheering, encouragement and of course putting up with my endless prattling on about running 😉
You are closely followed by my late Grandmother, who always told me I could, even if everyone else told me I couldn’t.
To those people who took on the challenge with me, at our regular Tuesday night run, to keep me from going insane with the boredom of running alone: David, Damian, Genevieve, Alex, James, Angela…the list goes on…
…and includes my upside down friends in Oz who completed the final fortnight with me, great people and huge supporters, Michelle and David with whom I have shared the joys of Sense holidays and the joys of running 😉 Thank you guys. Run well.
Next up, the Blackwater Valley Runners club and more specifically the following people who have inspired, encouraged and advised me over the last few months (and entertained my looooooong Sunday run requirements!): Dave, Alan, Nick, Paddy, Steve, Bill, Barry and of course Sandra. Thank you guys. I really appreciate it.
I’d like to specifically thank the following people that I have met through my running addiction and whom have kept a keen eye on the blog, namely: Keith, Aussie Alex, Gill, Neil and several of my colleagues.
Thanks go to my colleagues at work with whom I have spent time discussing the challenge, asking if what I propose to do is mad enough to be labelled ‘challenging’ and from whom I have received a great amount of support and encouragement.
To the holiday leaders and team from Sense, with whom I have run a good few miles, thank you for entertaining my requests for running friends and donning your gear to keep me going at each and every opportunity.
To Sense for supporting me throughout and for providing the wonderful Holidays program which drove me to take on this mad challenge (and become a better person for it!) I thank you greatly.
To the media for responding to my incessant requests for ‘airtime’ and actually giving me some to spread the word.
Nearly there…To everyone who has sponsored me, you know I appreciate it but I’ll say it again, thank you for supporting such a worthy cause.
To Gill for her poem and for the push onwards to the next ‘thing‘ in the saga that is my life.
And finally a great big 1095mile long thank you to James Ellis. Why specifically? Well allow me to explain… for being fool enough to do the challenge in the first place, inspiring others to follow suit, for finding me and seeing the possibility, being persistent enough to make me take it on, generous enough to let me make it my own, kind enough to support me throughout and keeping faith, and dedicated enough to ensure it lives on for another year (or is it three 1095mile years?). Thank you buddy.
There will no doubt be people that I have forgotten to mention here. I also have no doubt that I will have personally thanked you but I apologise for the omission anyway. Consider yourself thanked!
Part II: Things I have learned in the past year. AKA ‘On running and other things.’
There’s nothing quite like the buzz of a race. Really, nothing. They make great targets and milestones in a long year of running!
If you haven’t run before, start with a quarter mile and go home. Do a third of a mile a couple of days later. Within weeks you’ll be doing a handful of miles. Beyond that, the world is your oyster as they say 😉
Keep plugging away, no matter how far you can run now, it get’s better. Much better. Desire provides the drive.
Get yourself some well fitted (and gait analysed) shoes from your local running shop (and get some advice of which shop is good, all running shops were not created equal!)
Running isn’t quite as free as they’d like you to believe but it’s cheaper than many other sports. They make ‘technical’ running gear for a reason though, it works.
Pretty much anything is possible, given enough time and mileage. Get yourself a good training plan and stick to it. Your race is all in the (weeks of) preparation.
Find yourself a suitable running club, one that gives you what you need, be it motivation, fun or a regular hard run.
Don’t underestimate the value of days off (he says, on day 366 of consecutive days running!) they allow the body to recover!
A marathon is not two half marathons, it’s more like three and I mean it 😉
Part III: How do I feel?
This is a year I will never forget. That is for sure. I have so many fond memories of moments over the year. Thankfully they are immortalised in the blog pages and I don’t have to try and remember them all! I’ve come a long way in a year, as a runner and as a person. There will be something missing tomorrow, when I don’t run, or blog. I feel sad about that but it’s definitely time to let someone else have the limelight for a while 😉
Part IV – The highlights of my year…
Meeting Mo Farah was a special event, mostly because he’s such a lovely bloke and very down to earth.
Meeting James Ellis last July (sorry mate, you come second on account of not having the Gold or even the Silver medal!) as he’s a genuinely nice person and a good friend. And the mad man who convinced me to do this to myself 😉
Completing the Brighton marathon in sub 3:30, having only decided to do so that morning was a bit of a special moment and a great achievement in my running career 😉
Arriving last night, early, to meet Helen, who is lovely and then finding the group of runners just kept getting bigger and bigger. Thank you everyone, you made it a really special evening.
Running the Great North Run with “Day 363, nearly there” pinned to my back and having many many people pat me on the back and say “Only two more, well done!”
Hearing from James that we are actually quite well known in the blogging world, he was randomly recognised by someone from the Guardian who said “I love yours and Andy’s blog!” Excellent!
Joining the Blackwater Valley Runners and discovering they really are more about making running enjoyable than anything else. Lovely people with whom I enjoy spending time, and it makes me want to run too. Can’t be bad eh?
Taking my life in my hands and running up and down a dark high speed road on my Sense holiday. Not a great moment, but a moment I’ll never forget, for sure!
There’s one consistent ‘moment’ though. Every time I’ve run with somebody. I’ve run hundreds of miles on my own, that’s true, but I’ve also run a couple of hundred with other people, and they have been the best miles by far!
Part V – The cost of this obsession…
I’ve been writing a day 366 – ‘After the 1095miles year’ blog post along the lines of the credit card ‘Priceless’ adverts. Would you believe that I have covered 1700 miles, burnt 190,000 calories and ascended the equivalent of Everest…TWICE and a bit more? All to raise £1800 for charity. And to keep myself from getting bored 😉
…In the style of a well known credit card provider:
1 sprained ankle – priceless (and very painful)
100+ ibuprofen tablets – about three quid!
7 pairs of running shoes – £560
2 marathons – £96
3 half marathons – £117
1 running club membership – £25
6 10k’s – £153
240 hours on my feet – who knows!
230,000 heart beats!
18,500m elevation gained (or twice and a bit up Everest @8848m!)
190,000 calories (or 680 mars bars @ 50p) £340
1 copy of “Advanced Marathoning” – £10
Taking over my life for a year – Priceless
Oh, and I ran today, again. The Club run. Day 366? 😉 The difference? I ran out of choice rather than necessity and it felt good to do so.
The above “thank you” section has taken me about a fortnight to write, but was written well in advance of today to try and make sure I got everybody in. As of this evening, I have an extra couple of “thank you’s” to do. Firstly to Dave and the rest of the club for my honorary club shirt and medal to celebrate the completion of my year of running. It was a very kind gesture and I wish to thank you once again for it. And second, to Michelle and David for the package of TimTams (I didn’t have a clue what they were when Michelle mentioned them a few days back) so that I am now able to confirm, they are indeed superior in every way to the very British Penguin biscuit!
There have been a lot of you who have had a hand in my year of running, I hope to have acknowledged you all here. Thank you all again…
I don’t actually want a day off tomorrow, but I’m going to force myself…I’ll have to go some way yet to beat these guys anyway:
“The greatest average mileage run daily [over a year] is 61.87 km (38.44 miles) and was achieved by Tirtha Kumar Phani (India), from 30 June 2006 to 29 June 2007, in Calcutta, India. Tirtha Kumar Phani of Calcutta, India ran every day, running 22,581.09 km (14,031.15 miles) in total.”
And there is of course Dr. Ron Hill:
“Dr Ron Hill (b. 21 Sep 1938, UK), the 1969 European and 1970 Commonwealth marathon champion, has not missed a day’s training since 20 Dec 1964. His meticulously compiled training log shows a total of over 234,177 km (145,511 miles) from 3 Sep 1956 to 23 March 2005. He has completed 115 marathons, 114 of them sub 2 hr 52 min, and raced in 88 nations.”
Maybe next year eh? 😉
Speaking of which, keep an eye on http://26more.com over the next few days. It’s beginning to take shape!
I’ll leave you with a gallery to remind you of some of the interesting snaps from my 365 days of running.
Run well everyone…