It’s done! It took a little bit of improvisation and few battles with the elements to finally get there, but I managed to squeeze 40 events into 2017 – the year I turned 40. In my previous blog, I had outlined how I had reached number 35. Just having five events to fit in felt like it would be straightforward, but the Scottish December weather decided otherwise.
A couple of the races I had been planning to do fell victim to the snow and ice so I had to get my thinking cap on a little.
Event 36 – A battle with Ben Lomond (December 22) Living right next to Loch Lomond, I see Ben Lomond pretty much every single day and for a while it had felt like it was daring me to have a go at trying to run up it. So I decided to have a go.
On a good day, the rewards would have been plentiful as there are stunning views from the summit. Or so I hear. The clag, wind and rain which had descended on the day I decided to head up meant all I managed to see was the inside of a cloud. My lovely family came to support my efforts, though, and the post-run chips in the splendid Oak Tree Inn not far away in Balmaha have rarely tasted better.
Event 37 – Linwood parkrun (December 23) One of the things I’ve most enjoyed about this whole 40 for 40 process has been the chance to take part in parkrun events which are new to me. I’ve trained at the Linwood track plenty of times before but this 5km blast on the lovely trails and paths which I hadn’t realised were just a few metres away from the oval provided a stern and enjoyable test.
Event 38 – Tollcross parkrun (December 30) A heap of snow had fallen, which is great fun when it comes to trail running but not so great for parkrunning when it freezes and renders most of the paths completely unusable. Tollcross parkrun in Glasgow was one of the few events to go ahead, but they really had to improvise and this was not a parkrun as we know it.
It basically took the form of a snowy cross country run made all the more interesting by the fact I had brought completely the wrong kind of footwear for the task at hand! Let’s just say my 5k PB was never going to be threatened on this occasion.
No 39 – Hogmanay Hel n’ Back (December 31) I’ve been very lucky to have plenty of support from my Helensburgh AAC and Lomond Triathlon and Swimming Club clubmates this year, so I thought it only right to ask them to help me get the 40 for 40 job done. Every September, Helensburgh AAC stages a trail race called To Hel n’ Back, which takes place over a spectacular route of roughly 12km that also packs in 1253ft of ascent.
A more sociable New Year’s Eve run on the route seemed like an appropriate way to bring 2017 to a close but Storm Dylan decided to make sure we got plenty of fresh air as we hit the hills! As is so often the case with running, though, the weather never seems so bad once you’re out in it and it turned out the strong winds were actually at our backs as we headed uphill.
I was so chuffed that others had been more than willing to brave the elements and join me – this was a definite highlight of 2017!
No 40 – The Marcothon (finished on December 31) The rules for completing the Marcothon – brainchild of my friends Debbie and Marco Consani, who I wrote about here a while ago – are simple. Run every day in December, for at least three miles or 25 minutes, whichever comes first.
It’s never an easy thing to do (that’s the whole point) but the Hogmanay Hel n’ Back run was the last piece of my Marcothon 2017 jigsaw and the completion of that meant the end of my 40th event. Job done!
I’m delighted to have been able see this through and proud to have raised a nice sum for Macmillan Cancer Support – a charity very close to my heart – in the process. To everyone who has donated, encouraged, supported…a heartfelt thank you.
If you would still like to donate, please follow this link to my justgiving page.
In the meantime, I’m having a little rest…whilst planning the next lot of adventures!