It is that time of the year when I look at my race calendar and say to myself… “what were you thinking? It looks like you just randomly listened to Twitter conversations and went with it, you idiot. Where is the sense?” But the race calendar to me is much more than a conversation I have in my head, it is a monster that started as a dollop of goo in a petri dish dropped in the bin, covered with left over tandoori, and tea bags that, by the next morning has taken over the kitchen. It is organic in nature that does start with a simple structure of one race a month, and 2 foreign races over the course of the year, maybe one in the Spring and one in the Fall, before group races and impulse sign-ups happen, and before too long… well, please see above.
Crafting a great race calendar is much like making a great mix tape, even to the pointing of starting with a blank TDK C90, with the sticky label insert just waiting for you to write on it. Or in my case, a blank Excel spreadsheet.
I did try, as I try every year, to be sensible. I know, that word is rarely associated with me. I was not named Most Likely to do something Sensible in my college yearbook. If anything I would have probably been named as Most Likely not to.
I started with the simple principle I mentioned earlier, for one race a month and, given I ran 7 this year, I thought I would run a marathon or above per month for 2017. I ran two in two weeks in November with PF and no training other than gym time, so was more than confident this is doable. So I went through Runnersworld.co.uk/events and added a race a month after first adding the races I knew I was already signed up for – Brighton Marathon, and Comrades. And pretty soon with the inclusion of the Yorkshire Marathon thanks to Cat, Sarah and Colin, Barcelona thanks to Matt B, and Bowieathon thanks to Jen and Helen things were looking up.
If you haven’t used the Runnersworld site it is very good. Just put in a month and then a distance and it will list them all. Of course, that search doesn’t work for people with families etc so add distance from home, county or region and you can narrow it down to local races.
And so this is how Portland Coastal made the list, Milton Keyes too. The Rocket 5K the day before, however, was all Rob O’Hara’s fault. Cakeathon I booked a long time ago, after completing the Punk Run and Alice is Wonderland Caucus race. Along with Bowieathon it is a 6 hour lap race in Kent, on a Saturday, with a great cake, sweets, drink stop at the start/finish, a great goody bag and superb bling. This one I have been looking forward to for a long time.
Originally I had booked the inaugural Dorchester Marathon, but unfortunately Comrades is the week after so I will be travelling. The kind people at White Star Running allowed me to pick another and so I will be at Bovington in December to finish the year, home of a tank museum, a monkey park and all the fun images you get when combining those two things.
Petra Desert Marathon was also supposed to be on the list but with two terrorist attacks and a government advisory I had to pull out for the sake of the nerves of my loved ones. They get jittery enough when I go to East London, can you imagine if I was running through a country on high alert? And so that was cancelled.
Also, what was intended to be my A Race, the Berlin Wall 100 Miler, caused a lot of pain and the calendar to diverge from it’s original sensible beginnings. I dithered when registration opened and missed my chance, it was already sold out and so THAT is why I am running Comrades.
Notable Inclusions – The A Races
The phrase, “well, that escalated quickly” is often heard when I am putting a race calendar together and really, is there any surprise when it all gets a little Norman Bates? Comrades has always been my A Race from when I started running. I ran the Two Oceans two years ago and I do love to run in South Africa. Comrades, though, is something different. And the 87KM uphill route makes it so much of a challenge you can see why it has such a reputation. So my A Race is Comrades.
Close behind though, and following on from the disappointing withdrawal from Petra I had focused in on the Iceland Ultra (Laugavegur) and then Jeff (Ukruncat) was talking about the Ultraks Ultra in Zermatt. This race has been high on my To Do list and the timing was great so, an online credit card transaction later and I am looking forward to this…
And a couple of months later I will be back in Switzerland for a race I deferred so many times they cancelled my entry, which meant I had to once more register for Europe’s Most Beautiful Marathon – the Swiss City Marathon in Lucerne.
The Non Marathons
It was supposed to be a year where I ran only marathons and above, and the calendar did look like that for a very long time until I realised I had to do Bacchus. Given the fun and games we had last year as Team Unicorn, and more and more people wanting to join us, I had to really.
On top of that I wanted to break a personal record or two. I shall attempt the Guinness Book of Records WR for a marathon dressed as a chef. It is a very doable 3:56. But I also want to beat my own records. The record I chose was my 10K and to do so I needed the help of a pacer (Ninjaboyruns) and THIS IS NOT CHEATING!!! And a flat surface. The flattest park in London is Victoria and I got my PB there at Pride 10K, so why not book that and give it a go? The Rainbow Ninja will be my alias. And I shall run it sub 48.
That seems about it at the moment. It is only the 2nd January and there are 363 days to add new races. I am not above, or below, adding more. I would prefer to have a proper summer holiday so am avoiding talk of a rerunning of Race to the King. I do have November free and Nice-Cannes has always interested me. But now I have Barcelona, Zermatt, Comrades and Lucerne on the list, and 4 foreign races just seems plenty in my humble opinion.
If I do add more I shall blame you. I hope you are ok with that. And it all starts thanks to a race entry that someone bought me 🙂 can you believe that? So next weekend it all starts at the Runthrough Brixton 10K held at Brockwell Park, hopefully see you there.