As you read this, I will be puffing and panting my way through 26.2 miles of the Manchester marathon in England, in aid of the registered charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
Crohns’s is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system. My friend Barry was diagnosed with the disease over ten years ago and it is something that continues to affect his quality of life.
Myself and Barry have therefore taken upon ourselves to run four marathons in fourteen weeks in aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK.
This will be the first marathon for both of us. In fact, this is my first ever race. Might as well make it a good one 🙂
Who are Crohn’s and Colitis UK
Crohn’s and Colitis UK are a UK-wide charity established in 1979. Their aim is to improve life for anyone affected by Inflammatory Bowel Diseases such as Ulcerative Colitis and Crohn’s Disease.
They have over 30,000 members and 70 local groups throughout the UK. Barry has been to some of their meetings before and spoke of the great support they offer. He knows someone who is involved with the charity and has seen firsthand how important the organisation is to people who have Crohn’s.
What is Crohn’s Disease?
Crohn’s Disease is a condition that causes inflammation of the digestive system (also known as the gastrointestinal tract or gut). Inflammation is the body’s reaction to injury or irritation, and can cause redness, swelling and pain.
Crohn’s Disease gets its name from a New York doctor, Burrill Crohn, who reported a number of cases in 1932. The disease is not infectious.
Crohn’s Disease is one of the two main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease, so may also be called ‘IBD’. The other main form of IBD is a condition known as Ulcerative Colitis.
Crohn’s is sometimes described as a chronic condition. This means that it is ongoing and life-long, although sufferers may have periods of good health (remission) as well as times when symptoms are more active (relapses or flare-ups). At present there is no cure for Crohn’s, but drugs, and sometimes surgery, can give long periods of relief from symptoms.
You can find out more about the disease by reading “Improving Life for People Affected
by Inflammatory Bowel Diseases“.
The Crohn’s 4 Marathon Challenge
We have challenged ourselves to run:
- Four Marathons in
- Four Countries …each completed in
- Four Hours (or less) …all within
- Fourteen Weeks
In Aid of Crohn’s and Colitis UK (Clyde Group)
The four marathons we are running are:
- Manchester (England) – 6 April 2014
- Belfast (Northern Ireland) – 5 May 2014
- Edinburgh (Scotland)- 25 May 2014
- Tenby (Wales)- 13 July 2014
There are four weeks between the first two marathons and three weeks until the third one in Edinburgh. We then have seven weeks until our final marathon in Wales (we had hoped to run our final marathon sooner, but it was not possible).
Preparing for the Marathon
My preparation for the marathon was going great. From the end of August to the start of March, I ran around five times a week. A total of around 1,100-1,200 miles. I felt in great shape for the marathon.
Unfortunately, three and a half weeks ago, I pulled my right hamstring badly. This was a slight injury that I made significantly worse by not resting and running for another three or four days (I ran 33 miles in three days following the injury so only have myself to blame). I ended up in a lot of pain and spending two weeks on the sidelines, but with rest and the help of my local physio, I managed to get out running a week and a half before the marathon.
Due to the pain still being there, I was only able to run one mile in the first day out. I soon followed this up with three mile runs for three days in a row. On the Sunday, a week before the marathon, I ran ten miles. Thankfully, my hamstring was not in a lot of pain during the run. I had a little pain after the run, though that was to be expected.
The next day I went to the local swimming pool with my friend Gerry (who is running the Edinburgh Marathon with us). I did some stretching in the pool and steam room. I am not sure if I ran too much on the Sunday, or if I over stretched the muscle the following day; however I was unable to do my six mile run on early Tuesday morning. I hobbled around a few hundred yards and felt a lot of pain whenever I put pressure on the muscle. Thankfully, I had learned my lesson from the last time and wisely turned back and went home to rest. This returned me to the stage of resting, icing and light stretching. Very frustrating!
What does this all mean?
In short, my training was going great, however the last three or four weeks were very frustrating. I effectively missed three weeks of training; including important twenty and fifteen mile runs.
As I write this post, a day and a half before my run, I still have pain in my hamstring. I managed to walk four miles tonight without being in too much pain (i.e. Friday night – a day and a half before the run). This gives me confidence that I will be able to complete the first marathon.
The one thing I know from last Sunday’s ten mile run is that, despite not running for three weeks, my fitness has not dropped too much. I still feel confident in completing the rate.
I am seeing my physio directly before heading down to Manchester for the marathon (the day before the rest). This should also help aid my recovery.
To complicate things further, Manchester has this week been experiencing level ten pollution levels due to dust from the Sahara desert. People were warned not to do any physical activity outside because of the dangers to your respiratory system. As someone who suffers from Asthma, I was obviously concerned about how bad this pollution would be, particularly as I suffered from a bad asthma attack two years ago due to the pollution in Bogota.
Apparently, the pollution situation will be better for the race. Fingers crossed I am not affected.
I should not complain.
If this kind of thing was supposed to be easy, they would not call it a challenge!!
I would be very grateful to those of you who could make a small donation to Crohn’s and Colitis UK. You can do this at:
The minimum donation through JustGiving is only £2.00 (which is around $3.30 USD). Every little helps with this kind of thing and your donation will go to a registered charity that does a lot of great work in the UK.
Be sure to click on the tax relief button if you live in the UK so that an additional 25% is added to your donation.
Just Bring It!
I am really looking forward to running my first marathon. It’s going to be a great day (as long as I don’t end of having to stop because of my hamstring injury).
After the race, I am meeting my friend Dave (a Wigan’er). I have been great friends with Dave for around ten years now. We initially met in Asia and travelled through Thailand together. Two years later, we travelled together through Asia, Australia and New Zealand; a fantastic trip that took around nine months. I caught up with him for a pint six or seven months ago; but it will be great to catch up again.
Manchester may also be my first drop of alcohol in three months. I fully expect me to fall asleep at the bar after two pints!
I will do my best to update you all about my experience in Manchester. Our aim is to complete the race in under four hours. As long as I don’t have any major problems on the day because of my leg, I am confident we can do it.
A few weeks ago, I would have said that I was hoping for a time of around three hours and forty minutes, though after being injured for three weeks or so, I will be happy to do it in a slower time.
However, I still want to ensure we do it in under four hours. To do that, I will just have to ensure I run below 9:09 minute miles. From a fitness point of view, I should have no problem doing this as on our eighteen and twenty mile runs we were averaging around 8:25 minute miles, though obviously I have my hamstring injury to take into consideration.
No time left to over analyse everything. It’s time to bring it. Wish my luck 🙂