Saturday, 31 December 2011

Marcothon 2011

After the GO33 Ultra in November I had planned on taking it easy until the new year. Those plans entailed running only every second day up until the end of the year and covering only around 5 miles per run. This would allow me time to rest and recover from running more events than I had initially planned to do during 2011. 5 miles would keep the engine idling and allow a bit of battery recharge time. However, plans change! A week after the GO33 came a facebook 'invitation' to take part in the Marcothon. How could I say no. The idea was simple, run a minimum of 3 miles or 25 minutes EVERY day in December. I had started last years Marcothon but failed miserably after only the 4th day due to a particularly nasty bout of 'cannybearsedwithis'. For many runners, including myself, December is a difficult month to keep motivated and maintain the fitness levels built up during the 'race season'. These difficulties include the scottish winter weather, various seasonal illnesses doing their rounds and the 'self-inflicted' problems from making merry!! But I thought I would give it a proper more disciplined try this year and confirmed my willing participation. There are no prizes, no medals or goody bags for participation just the satisfaction of completing (where have we heard that before?). 31 days of continious running, no rest days allowed. Many would step up to the challenge worldwide, many would fail and fall by the wayside, some in spectacular fashion and some with a pathetic wimper at the last hurdle. But NOT I!! So with no rest days for a month, the impending end of the world from the predictable mince weather we get in the north, the lack of daylight hours and fitting in the actual time around an awkward shift pattern, how hard could it be? I didn't want to just run the stipulated 3 mile / 25 minute minimum everyday, where's the challenge in that? So decided to try and run different distances and durations over various routes and terrain each day. It would have been easy to find a local 3 mile route and run that everyday for the 31 days.
But I would have bored quickly and lost interest and no doubt would have chucked it early on. As you can see from the few photos put on here I managed to vary my runs to keep me interested. The ever changing terrain, routes and scenery kept it fresh each day, despite the lousy mid-December weather we had. Don't get me wrong there were a few low days where I really could have seen the challenge far eough. These came mainly when the only time could get a run in was after work around 8.30pm, in the dark, frezzing cold, howling wind, icy cold rain, hail, sleet, snow, slush..... I had one fantastic day up on the Braes after a night long dump of fluffy snow, so that made up for those horrible night runs.
On the not so pleasant days I ran as close I could to the minimum and on the very few good days managed a few miles extra. I set myself a pre-challenge target of 250km, around 160 miles. I didn't want to do any 'long runs' during the month, just enough to tick over but keep me interested. The new year will see my longer runs take their place in my training programme.
The first of which is towards the end of January. It's around 30 miles, Balmaha to Inversnaid and back. Many of the 'usual' ultra runners will be there so it should be an enjoyable 5 or 6 hours. As for the Marcothon, for those statistical geeks the months figures are below.
So off to Falkirk for the Park Run today, which was to mark the end of this years mentalness that is the Marcothon. I had hoped to be there an hour early to walk round the unfamiliar route. However, I got lost a few times on my journey from Paisley to Falkirk and somehow found myself in Airdrie high street. Not a tourist hotspot. After finding my way back onto the M80 I then got lost in Falkirk itself trying to find the park. So when I eventually found a car park I still wasn't sure if I was in the right place. I couldn't see any other runners so decided to go have a wander. It was around 9.10am so if I wasn't in the right place, I was gubbed for the run!! Thankful there then appeared an obvious sign that I was in the right place. Debbie and Marco Consani, with their wee lad and Julie Clarke were walking through the park. I said a quick hi and went to find the start area. No time for recon.
 Went for a very short warm up and joined the masses. I decided to start at the back of the pack and run 9 min/mile pace and just enjoy it. But shortly after passing the little loch I put the foot down and decided as it was the last run of the year to just go for it. I passed a fair number of people during the 3 miles. It's a very different type of course and terrain to the Pollok and Strathclyde Park 'Park Runs'. On the last, brutal, climb I was surprised, nae, shocked, when I spotted Debbie about ten runners in front. Even more surprised when I passed her halfway up the climb. By the time I got to the top my lungs felt as if they had been pulled inside out. Thankfully all downhill to the finish. She must been taking it easy today for me to have finished about 20 seconds in front, as normally she would have spanked the entire field!! Anyway I finished in 22.44 . Tough wee course. I'm pleased about completing the challenge and it did a great job of keeping me motivated in an otherwise horrible month. Well done to all who took part and to Debbie and Marco encouraging folk to keep running throughout the month. A rest day beckons, because I'm worth it! Happy New Year all!


  1. Good one Colin, a fitting end to another magnificent year.

  2. Well done, Colin. Great
    Taking it easy? I was burst!