My year ahead is finally laid out. The races, the places and my 2017 goals are all now pretty much firmly fixed. It’s a mixed bag of half, full and ultra marathons, following rivers and climbing mountains. Here’s where my feet will take me in the next 9 months.
Richmond Half Marathon
Date: 19 March 2017
The race where I set my half marathon PB back in 2014, the Richmond Half Marathon is very familiar territory for me. The course covers much of the Thames path that I’ve run regularly for the past seven years. About as local as races get for me me, I know it down to the potholes. I won’t be out to beat my PB, this’ll be just another steady training run for me in the lead up to the Centurion Thames 100.
Target time: 1:45
Brighton Marathon with 2XU
Date: 9 April 2017
Part of the Brighton Marathon Weekend, the marathon has one of Britain’s most famous sea fronts as its backdrop. Having run the Brighton Half Marathon twice before I’m all too aware what a huge impact the weather can have on this race. If it’s windy, rainy and cold it won’t be much fun but if the sun’s out then the whole place will be hopping with support and it’ll take on a completely different character. With the race falling just 20 days before the big 100 mile attempt, I’ll be out to take this one steady. No heroics.
Target time: 3:15 – 3:30
Centurion Running Thames 100
Date: 29 April 2017
My first attempt at the 100 mile ultra. Following the Thames path from Richmond to Oxford, this comparatively flat course is a natural next step for me. I did my first ultra along the Thames at the Royal Parks Ultra and I followed that with my first 100km at the Thames Path 100 from Putney to Henley. Now it’s time to see some more of this famous river and find out if I have what it takes to earn a belt buckle.
Target time: The finish is everything. There’s a maximum time of 28 hours, but I’d like to get in under 24.
The North Face Lavaredo Ultra Trail
Date: 23 June 2017
When I stumbled off the course of the Lavaredo Ultra Trail in the Italian Dolomites in 2016, scoring my first DNF in the process, I swore I’d never go back. Mountain running just wasn’t my thing. But since then I’ve been reassessing my feelings towards the race and it looks like I’m going back to see if I can conquer this at the second time of asking. If you fall off the horse you’ve got to get right back on, right? Even if that horse is huge mountainous beast of a race.
Target time: Just finish within the maximum 31 hours.
Dixons Carphone Race to the Stones 100km
Date: 15 July 2017
I first ran the Race to the Stones back in 2014. It’s a stunning race along the England’s oldest footpath and it’s fair to say, while it’s not the UTMB, it is undulating. This was my second time at the 100km distance, and I happily clocked a new personal best by 29 minutes but it nearly broke me. Five words that came out of my dad’s mouth at 52km changed everything. I was close to throwing in the towel, he looked at me and said: “Quitting is not an option.” With that I had no choice but to dig in. This year I hope to go back and beat my time and face fewer demons doing it.
Target time: 12 hours 36 mins.
New Forest Marathon
Date: 10 September 2017
In 2016 the New Forest became my new back yard when I bought a house there. And it’s been magic. I missed the New Forest Marathon last year as I was away but this year I’m hoping to take part and take in some of the most beautiful scenery that England has to offer.
Target time: 3:15-3:30
Date: 8 October 2017
Another new marathon for me, this will be my target race for the 26.2. Ever since I went sub-3 in London in 2014 I’ve been aiming to repeat that and perhaps go faster. So far life, fatigue and my habit of doing too many races in a year have all prevented that from happening. And ok, so I haven’t quite fixed the last part of that problem but for the first time in a while I’m training with the consistency and focus that you need to break the 3-hour barrier.
Target time: Faster than 2:57:56 for a new PB