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2016: a six star running year

Well, I have just finished my last run of 2016; and as I headed out around familiar local routes, roads and villages I was able to reflect a little on my running experiences of the last twelve months. Readers of my previous blogs will know that my (successful!) attempt to run all six world marathon majors (the timmyslam) dominated my running calendar in 2016. But there were plenty of other great experiences and achievements too.

The numbers look good: 1,460 miles run (more than ever, despite a slow start); 35,000 miles travelled (including races in Japan, Germany and three in the USA); ten marathons and a first ultra; a first podium (OK, it may have been a small race but they all count!); and PBs for 5k and 10 miles.

The start of the year was tough as a back injury kept me from running over much of the winter, meaning that my first marathon in Tokyo was more about determination than speed!  Spring brought a return to normal training and my first experience of running two marathons in the same week (Boston and London). April also saw a change of running club for me, and whilst not looked for or expected, it reinforced the importance of running and training with those who support and inspire us the most.

A first ultra, and just so much fun

A birthday weekend with the family in the Lake District was, of course, arranged around a marathon, and also marked the beginning of the journey that will take me back to Windermere in May 2017 to run the Brathay 10in10 (10 marathons in 10 days).

The summer saw me return to my best running form, with some encouraging and fast racing performances, as well as my first ultra, a 69 mile race from Carlisle to Newcastle. A huge thank you to my KuHAC clubmates who really motivated and inspired me to push myself to train at my best. It was also great fun to team up and run Equinox 24 in September and to support the club’s Couch to 5k programmes this year.

The autumn was all about the final three races in the timmyslam and also the launch of my Timin10 fundraising, which has seen me raise over £3,000 to date. It has been an incredible response from so many people, for which I am extremely thankful. As winter approached there was just enough time to qualify as a Leader in Running Fitness, complete a final marathon and set up the timmytalks website for my blog.

Here are some of the highs (and lows) of my running year:

  • Best performance: Askern 10m – Berlin marathon a close 2nd
  • Worst performance: Major Stone half marathon – it all went wrong in the last two miles!
  • Most fun: The Wall (69 mile ultra) – 16 hours of laughter, Haribo and a bit of running!
  • Biggest race: New York City marathon – officially the biggest marathon in history
  • Smallest race: Enigma Deja Vu marathon – it’s still 26.2 right?
  • Memorable moment: watching sunrise over Lake Michigan whilst waiting at the start in Chicago
  • Best support: The Pink Ladies (Liz, Phoebe and Alafair), seen in London, Windermere and New York
  • Favourite comment from a fellow runner: “You’re a stud!” – on hearing about timmyslam and Timin10 (to much laughter from Liz and the girls)
The pink ladies

So as the year draws to a close I want to pass on my thanks to all those who have supported me in my running this year: my clubmates and other running friends (it’s great to see our local clubs represented at races around the UK and the world); Will at Hansford & Crocker for keeping me on my feet when my body felt like giving up; and most of all to Liz (who ran her first 5 and 10ks this year) and the girls for sharing my travels and putting up with ‘crazy running man’ (sorry, no end to the craziness in 2017!).

Collectively you have inspired, motivated, supported, fund-raised, transported, fed, stretched, trained and entertained all year long. I hope that in some small way I have been able to do the same.

All the very best for 2017 – see you at the start.