British Champion

Hello fellow club members,

With the Marathon season coming up; London, Edinburgh, etc l would like to tell you how I fortunately won the British over 45 Marathon title last April and hopefully it can help the athletes running  future Marathons.


On April 18th last year at Fort William I fortunately become the British Masters over 45 Marathon Champion(and it still feels fantastic!)

The signs were good; I got a number 29 bus from Comely Bank to get a lift with staff member Shona Irvine, her partner Peter and son Stewart. As l have said the number of the bus was 29 but you know that number that is painted on the inside of the bus just to the left of the driver? It was number 180 and l thought to myself that is the highest score you can score when playing darts, three times treble twenty(60,60,60). Also, it was my race number when l fortunately won the Elgin marathon in September 2009.

When l got to the Hotel my room number was 170 and l thought to myself, that is the highest out shot in darts, treble twenty twice then bull (60,60,50).

Then I got my race number and it was 147, and l thought that is the highest break you can make when playing snooker(15 reds, 15 blacks, then all the colours).

When I fortunately won the Elgin marathon  six months before the British Champs I ran 2hours 41minutes 47seconds and l thought if I can knock off 5 seconds a mile that would  give me a time under 2hrs 40mins. 26 x 5 seconds = 2minutes 10seconds, which would bring me home in 2hrs 39mins 37secs. Unfortunately I got injured so had to change my plans.

When I train for a marathon I stay focused and shut down my life for three months, which means cutting down on alcohol, being more careful with what I eat and not going out too much. But with winning Elgin the pressure valve was removed as I had been trying to win another marathon since my first victory at Luton on Saint Andrew’s day in 1997. A lovely couple called Morag and Pete from Hunters Bog Trotters invited members(and social members) over to Donegal for a training/fun weekend in March. I decided to go but as soon as the plane touched down in Belfast I was injured! It’s as if my body was saying to me “Martin what the hell are you doing going away for a weekend when you are in marathon training mode?” But it was a GREAT weekend, all twenty four got on well and I have some fantastic memories, what price can you put on that? Thanks Morag and Pete.

I was worried about the injury and the thought of not running the British Championship but fortunately it cleared up after ten days. With missing  ten days training I had to change my plan. Breaking 2hrs 40mins was no longer on so I put plan B into operation. 2hrs 46mins was now the new target(depending if I was leading or not) which equates to 6minutes 20seconds per mile. 6mins 20secs for 3miles gives you 19minutes, for 6miles it gives you 38minutes, 9 miles 57mins and so on. Breaking the race down into 3mile segments to monitor my form was the new plan. I also play a game, I have a good sports watch(well £22.99 Argos) which if you hit the right button tells you your split per mile. If I was under 6mins 20secs for a mile it’s a goal for me e.g. 1-0 and if I was over 6mins 20secs a mile it’s a goal for them 0-1. When you are running for over 2 and a half hours you have got to think of something! When I got to halfway I was winning 12-1 so I had to change my plan! I was feeling good and running well so I thought there is no point in slowing down. 6mins 15secs a mile was now the new target. I thought 6mins 15secs a mile gives you 62mins 30secs for 10 miles so, 2hrs 5mins for 20miles. I went through 10miles in 62.18(12 secs up) and 20 miles in 2hrs 4mins 45secs(15secs up). When I won Elgin I went through halfway in 81mins 48secs, at Fort William my split was 81.50, only 2 seconds difference and I thought “oh no, I am going to be in trouble later on” as I was not  as fit as I was when running Elgin.

It started to hurt at about 22miles and at 24miles I saw two cows in a field and remember thinking ‘one will be called Ben and the other will be called Nevis’, that’s when I realised I had hit ‘the wall’. The ‘wall’ is when your body runs out of carbohydrate and starts burning fat. It’s very painful and in extreme cases you can even loose body mass. I know when it starts happening because I hear Marti Pellow from Wet Wet Wet singing “I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes”. But I said to myself ‘just  keep it together from here on in and you will be British Champion which thankfully I managed. The only trouble with it being a ‘British Title’  is I feel more like a boxer than a runner. That reminds me, I need to buy a new belt, I’II get one with a large buckle.

 My time was 2:44:55 and my splites were 81:50 out and 83:05 back. So 1 minute 15 seconds slower coming back which equals 6 seconds a mile which all happened in the the 10k, PAINFUL. Please don’t start too fast if you are running a marathon folks!

I managed to finish number 1, the lowest number you can finish in a race.

Kind regards

Club Captain

Martin Ferguson

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