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Going from a Miler to Marathon Runner

It’s a lot further and more painful then the mile!

I’m in a hole. A place of pain that I haven’t experienced before…2hrs on the clock and almost 20 miles into my first Marathon. This isn’t a normal marathon, this is the Snowdonia Marathon, a big 26.2 mile bite for former 1500m/mile guy. There is 260 meters of climbing and the same in decent over the final 6 miles (see profile below for a visual explanation). In this last 6miles, I question what, why and how I’m doing what I’m doing, as it’s a lot further and more painful than running the mile. My left quad is sore from a tweak on the first fast downhill at only 5miles, my right side is now shutting down for over compensating and energy levels are taking a hit. I slowly slip outside the top 10 and also outside my 2hour 50mins time aim, now it’s survival. “Don’t stop, keep moving,” I repeat to myself on the final climb and final at the top and it doesn’t end there.

“Don’t stop... keep moving” Click To Tweet

It’s from top I realise this isn’t done yet…as the next mile is on slippy, flooded trails…bang! I go down, hard and have a bloody hand and knee, but I’m OK to keep moving and getting closer to the finishing line. Dry land- phew! Back on road but it’s now a pure decent, which the quads hate…just got to get to the finish line. “Don’t stop… keep moving” and finally in 2hrs 59mins and 19secs, I’ve done it. Completed my first marathon.  I’m officially done!

Above picture from www.sportpictures.cymru – A great resource for top Snowdon photos. 

The most humbling experience in my running career

In my interview with S4C at the finish, I’m in a daze and mention how it was the the most humbling experience in my running career, but also how it will help me as a coach. I then find myself on the floor of the Community Centre being looked after with space blankets and sweet tea (the prize of going to the well in your first marathon!) After that I’m feeling better and realise my wife, Alex, has flown round the course and see her finish in 4hours 20mins- to which she explains she loved every second of the race and it was brilliant! Who’s the real runner now!

Never again…

That evening I don’t feel good. I’m struggling to walk, eat and function! I’m saying out loud to anyone that will listen that this is my only marathon and definitely ‘never again!’  The next day not much better and since the race have picked up a little each day. Mentally, also much better too, as on the drive home I made the decision to do Snowdon again next year! Yeah runners… we make no sense. But I feel I learned so much from not getting it right- that I need to get it right next time.

Back for more, see you in 2020!

So if you want to test yourself, over the most amazing scenery, in a brilliantly organised and supported race- head to www.snowdoniamarathon.co.uk and join me as I head back for more, see you in 2020!.

Next challenges..

Next up…a bit of a rest, before building training up for the festive period of ‘shorter’ road races. Time to hit-up the NoblePro for Russel Bentley and myself on our 20km/h challenge! Plus to think up the next challenges to keep testing myself as that’s what running and life is all about!!

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James Thie
James Thie
Multiple World Indoor Championships and Commonwealth Games middle distance runner. Coaching the runners of the future.

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