End of 2016

End of 2016

No challenge is just about “the challenge”, it’s about the journey to completing that challenge no matter how long or short that challenge is.  For me the journey to complete each marathon continually passes moments of enlightenment: spiritually; physically and mentally. This year I completed 7 fantastically different marathons.

#58: The Green Ultra Challenge

#59: Rome Marathon

#60: Crainleigh Boundary Trail Challenge

#61: Richmond Park Marathon

#62: Cheltenham Challenge

#63: Chanthaburi Marathon

#64: Pisa Marathon

But really they were similar, in that they began to uphold the ideology of sustainable living. There appears to be a stronger environmental awakening with plenty of participants wanting to feast on sustainable ideas.

Many more groups of people in different societies are running towards sustainable living, with the notion of leading a zero waste life. These #ZeroWasteLife groups may seem idealistic, but then the choice is in everyone’s hands: Environment vs Convenience. By shunning convenience you learn to readapt your life style and facilitate new sustainable habits.

Our Environment: Plastic vs Personal Best

Unfortunately plastic cups are still the number 1 choice to provide liquid to participants.  It is cheap thus keeps costs down, however they are a bane as they are mostly unrecycleable, and tend to end up in landfills or in the sea somewhere. France is looking to ban the nasty things. They are environmentally an eye sore.

Leading up to any marathon, I try to encourage runners at that event to bring their own bottles to reduce the ugly amounts of plastic cups and bottles that are tossed on the road and sometimes in front of runners who have tripped up on a bottle under foot. A lot of water is wasted and volunteers have to sometimes go quite far to pick up plastic runners’ debris including those disgusting gel packs. I have volunteered in events and picked up those discarded chemi-gel packs, that are just full enough to ooze their foul liquid onto your hands or shoes.


As for bringing your own sports bottle to refill at check points, it was interesting to read how participants are scared to carry a “for ever reusable” bottle in case:


  1. They found the bottle too heavy…..even though am sure many of them carry a bottle in training and those bottles probably weigh less than 1% of their body weight!
  2. Refilling the bottle slowed them down and they would not get a precious PB.

A break can actually re-energise the body and could improve performance. I have spoken to a couple of sub-3 runners who have told me about times they have stopped at marathon check points and still been able to break sub 3! One of them carries a reusable sports bottle with him all the time.

Performance vs Visualisation and Belief

We humans are capable of incredible things, it is only our belief in ourselves that hinders what we can do. That is why training is so important to remove our mind obstacles. Failing to train, means our mind tends to be chained to the limits of what others think.

Further performance improvements can be made with a clear mind and visualisation. On my 59th marathon, Rome: good, solid visualisation certainly helped provide a sound performance and was replicated in Richmond Park Marathon. Our minds affect our bodies and being able to perceive and feel your mental and physical beings can bring unimaginable strength on the day. I have found this is best achieved when the mind is clear of negative stress. Because negative thoughts will continually distract and deflect positive thoughts.

However Pisa showed me how being with positive people can help to push out deep negative dark holes in one’s psyche. I have learned a lot by being with myself, but Pisa reminded me that the synergy of people united in one thought can embrace individuals within the group with uplifting energy. I was floating on a cloud into the finish point!

With Brexit & Trump coming into power, it sounds like “CHANGE” is the word for 2017. For me it will be “mindfulness”, to engage with positive beings, to deflect negative fruitless concerns……and maybe try to write a book as have foolishly said I would to my soul sister!

So a reminder to myself: learn more on “mindfulness” so that I can effectively practise visualisation….as well as sleep better 🙂


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