2019: the quiet year that got crowded.

After it became apparent that marathoning wasn’t going to be a one-time thing, I decided to try and tick off one marathon major each year. This year it is the turn of New York City. However, the year ahead is more complicated than just one autumn race.

It is worth noting here that not all marathons are created equal. If running a new pb is your aim, NYC probably isn’t the marathon for you, go for Chicago or Berlin (currently regarded as the fastest around, all hail king Kipchoge!). New York, although being possibly the most iconic, well supported and popular marathon, and is certainly not flat and as a result, relatively not that fast.

After a very busy 2017 and 2018, I resigned myself to the fact that for me, running for pbs in Spring and Autumn every year is too much. It’s not so much the physical act of racing, but the months of discipline and focus that a proper marathon build up now entails, as well as the fact that, let’s face it, to everyone else, you are a pretty boring, distracted, mostly overtired recluse who doesn’t want to participate in anything!

But sometimes the rules are meant to be broken. Circumstances have somewhat forced my hand, so this year I will aim to run fast in Liverpool (26/05) and Frankfurt (27/10), with NYC the week after hopefully under three hours.

The logic behind the late entry to Liverpool is two-fold. First, the BAA who organise the Boston Marathon have changed the qualifying time for 2020. Second, I have built up a nice little base since Christmas of around 50-60 mpw, with which I was able to hit under three hours with in October 2018. It feels a shame to waste this bit of momentum I have going, so why not throw it into something in late spring?

Add into this mix a surprise ballot success in the Great North Run, a first attempt at 100 miles on the trails and a few other shorter distances and the year starts to look busy. I had been told by many not to expect success in the short term regarding the GNR, but once I had the thought ‘I wouldn’t actually mind not getting into that one as it makes the schedule that bit more busy’, it was inevitable!

My advice to anyone entering a race ballot, is to come up with a good reason why you don’t want to get in – works every time for me!

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