For those of you who don't already know, on Sunday 15th April, this year, I will be running the Brighton marathon. Me. Running 26.22 miles. Non-stop.
It all started waaaay back at the beginning of last year. Well, further back than that in truth, but the main thrust started last year. I've always thought I'd like to give it a go, so when someone I used to go to school with announced they were running the 2011 Brighton marathon, it piqued my interest for two reasons. Firstly, it was someone I'd known since I was a young, fresh-faced boy, so it brought the marathon mystique closer to home. Secondly, and I'm sure she won't mind me saying this, she's not necessarily the first person you'd pick out as a marathon runner. Don't get me wrong, she's always been very slim and, if I may say so, quite the hottie, but I'd say she's probably more accustomed to sipping a nice glass of wine or wearing a smashing blouse than pounding out 26 miles on the tarmac. So not only was it rather inspiring, but it also made me think, "hmmm, if she can go through with it, maybe I can too?" How silly and, let's be honest, fucking rude of me. Fast forward twelve months and I'm starting to suspect that she might actually be a secret Olympic athlete. Mucho respect. Needless to say, my training hasn't been all plain sailing...
Anyway, if her marathon efforts had piqued my interest, catching the train up to town to watch the London marathon grabbed me by the testes, tugged them violently and didn't let go until a) I had that sick feeling in my stomach, and b) I had told myself that I, Andrew John Durrant (full name used for added effect), would definitely run a marathon. The fact that I also knew people running the London marathon helped fire me up, but it was the atmosphere and support from the crowd that really made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. I wanted a piece of that action. And a medal. And maybe a sweaty hug from Nell McAndrew or, as a last resort, Chris Akabusi. Alriiight.
Within a few weeks, my friend and I had signed up for the 2012 Brighton marathon, and a tentative training plan had been drawn up. Bonza.
I officially started road running in July 2011. This was quite a shock to my system. Distance running is neither something I've ever enjoyed or been particularly good at. Put me on a grassy field and I'll sprint after a round ball all day long (not even barely literally), but point me in one direction and tell me to plod along for hours at a time and I'm likely to lash out, be sick on the spot or jog 200 yards and collapse in the gutter, crying. So the first month was pretty tough. But I persevered.
Being an idiot (as I tend to be) I thought I'd be able to juggle training for a marathon with playing competitive football on Saturday afternoons. This very quickly turned out to be an error of judgement.
The first problem was that, at 31 years old, I tended to ache for a few days after a match. So, Saturday I'd be playing, Sunday and Monday I'd be aching, and Friday I wouldn't run because I had a game the next day. Not exactly a good balance, given that running a marathon would require slightly more effort on my part than amateur football.
The second problem was that a hulking, neanderthal, master of bastardry absolutely clattered me, quite intentionally, in a match towards the end of August, leaving me with an open wound in my leg that quickly became septic. Cheers. I don't hold grudges, but I hope he has a terrible and painful accident. Every. Single. Day. Of. His. Rubbish. Life. I was given injections, a course of antibiotics and rendered immobile for about a month. That's definitely not in the Good Guide to Marathon Training.
Needless to say, when I eventually started jogging again, I was back at square one. Two months of training, effectively erased. Bollocks. So, with football now thoroughly on the backburner, I entered Autumn 2011 100% committed to the ongoing marathon slog.
To be continued...
In the meantime, if you'd like to make a donation to our marathon fund, please follow the link. I'll love you forever. All donations will go to Everyman, a charity committed to the fight against male cancer.