In my past experience of running, I would always have stopped come November. It got too cold, too wet, too windy… I was the epitome of a fair weather runner. But November 2016, something felt different. Like I could stick it out. But I needed a challenge.
I found out about the ‘Marcothon’, a run every day challenge throughout December, with the only rules that whether slow or fast, it HAD to be 3 miles or 25 mins, whatever came first. If you missed a day, you’re out. Well to me that’s a challenge and I LOVE to compete with myself so it was a brilliant incentive to keep pushing through December.
Turns out, December is actually a bloody awesome month to run in. I was treated with gorgeous orange sunrises and sunsets, crisp air and peaceful sunny but icy runs.
I. LOVED. IT! I even got a 5k and 1 mile p.b on Christmas Day!
Fast forward to November 2017, and I found myself looking to do the same sort of challenge. When who should come along but Clare and Kev. After a huge success in the summer with ‘Marathon in a day’, a challenge where runners were asked to cover the whole 26.2, however they wanted to break it down, over a 24 hour period. Part of the proceeds went to Mind, which is a charity very close to my heart.
Sadly I missed the boat for this one as I had other commitments, but as soon as they announced they were doing another virtual challenge, I was all in.
I knew I wanted to use Run Up To Christmas to push me on, and having completed 120 miles the previous December, that was my target to beat. I took great motivation from my friend Katie Ekins, who decided to go for the highest target, 250k, from 1st-25th December. I decided i’d give it a go, knowing it was an average of 6 miles a day…
I had a massive mileage base though, having completed a lot of distance runs throughout 2017, I figured i’d go for it and see where we got to. I could always drop to the 150, 100, 50k goals if it went tits up.
December looked so different this year. I was running further, better, stronger, and best of all, with friends. Instagram has made me so many friendships through running, and although most don’t live close by, once you’ve run an ultra with someone, they’re in your life forever…
I ran with dogs, I ran 20 miles in thick mist, I ran my 1000th mile for the year, I ran up and down the South Downs with new friends, I ran Parkrun and a 10 mile race with my favourite running couple and I took a whole load of selfies and watch shots to boot.
I completed the 250k on the 24th December.
I ended up rounding my miles up to 185, the furthest monthly miles i’ve ever done. I had my highest weekly mileage too, something between 50-55 miles. And the best part… I didn’t injure myself!
I’ve already signed up for 2018. And if you get on it quick, you can pay last year’s prices still. You get a kick-ass medal, with a ribbon corresponding to your distance, oh AND people can donate km’s they’ve run, to you, if you don’t quite meet your goal. Isn’t that incredible?
If you find it hard to stay inspired through the winter, find a challenge (there are plenty around) – RU2C is a safe bet, it donates to Mind, and we all know how much running helps the mind, right?
Sign up HERE.