The biggest challenge for me this year started with a lot of dithering in 2014.
In 2014 I did my first marathon, Bolton Hill Marathon, and wanted to have another stab at it again in 2015. I also wanted the medal from Liverpool RnR Marathon after seeing one while helping out in 2014 at one of the water stations. The last few years Bolton has taken place in March and Liverpool in June so I thought that would be fine no problem, nice little break between. Not this year. They were 8 days apart as Bolton got moved to June. Anyway, after a lot of dithering, as I said earlier, and questioning if I could do 2 marathons in 8 days I took the plunge and entered them both. I also entered three others, Malc's Marathon in March which I had to pull out of due to injury, Blackpool Marathon which I differed to 2016 so I could recover from my injuries and Potteries Marathon which, again, I pulled out of due to knee injury. The two I really wanted to complete (Liverpool and Bolton) I did finish in times of around 5 hrs 35 mins (Liverpool was a minute or two faster than Bolton but no need to be exact). At Liverpool I made a new friend and hope to complete Manchester Marathon in 2016 with her.
I have completed several other races of distances ranging from 5kms to half marathons. In July I did a 10 mile race and half marathon in one weekend so I decided that I would raise the stakes in October and I did two half marathons over the same weekend - Rivington on 3rd and Congleton Half on 4th October. By completing these two halves over the one weekend I raised roughly £250 for the animal shelter where I adopted my Molly (dog that I had for just over 14 years before she died of old age).
I chose this year to have a year off club races as I wanted to concentrate on the marathons I had entered and also do other races. There have been times where I have raced more weekends than not by completing roughly 11-12 races over approximately 14-16 weeks, weekends where I have raced both Saturday and Sunday. I also coached the first beginners group while marathon training and completing the two in 8 days. The day after completing Liverpool RnR marathon I was out running again with the beginners group so clocked up around 30 miles in just two days (around 56 miles over 8 days). I've got loads of new medals this year, entered some races already for next year, done things I didn't think I could do. I also ran a race around a speedway track of all places!
To some, what I have done above might not seem like a lot, but to me, who 12 months ago didn't know if I could do 2 marathons in 8 days, it was the best running year ever.
The one thing that did make me laugh this year was when my friend from Liverpool RnR Marathon asked me to run Manchester with her next year. I looked at the dates for Manchester and for Blackpool Marathon that I have differed from this year to 2016 and saw they are only two weeks apart. I told her this, explaining how close they were etc. The reply I got was "Well that's what you do isn't it?" Well, it looks like I do now doesn't it? After doing two marathons so close together once this year - it looks like its what I do. Good luck everyone for 2016 and hope you all have a great year.