THE RIVER RUN

Having a natural inbuilt stamina has worked both in my favour and to my detriment. During the summer, I had a seed of a thought that I should run a marathon in 2019 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of my brain haemorrhage which struck on the 8th April 2009. I was, at this point, unaware that I would later secure a place in the London Marathon with The Brain and Spine Foundation charity team. I decided to get training to see just what I was capable of at the age of 58, having not run seriously for over 30 years. It took me just seven weeks of training to be able to run 10 miles in 2 hours and 2 minutes. “Game on,” I thought.

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April 2009 a few days after waking from a coma and training for the London Marathon recently.

However, my body had other plans. My stamina capabilities were a bit of a shock to my joints. A hip injury acquired during this 10 mile run set me back by about two months of running. During that time, I have spent hours and hours working in the gym, both on my aerobic capacity on the rowing machine, and using weights to build up my muscle strength to take the strain off my joints. I have since brought my 5K Parkrun down from exactly 36 minutes to 28:01 minutes. My initial target was to complete a marathon inside four hours. Because of my joint issues (I also have a niggling knee problem that occurs from time to time), I may have to adopt a walk/run strategy in order to complete this 26-mile journey through the centre of London. I’ll be happy with five hours.

But this is no longer about my own personal goals. As a representative of #TeamBrainAndSpine my responsibility is to just complete the course because I will have had (I hope) a large amount of sponsorship money. Now, completion is my main target. Anything else will be a bonus. I have a regular training route in the centre of Newport that I call “The River Run”, which goes across one bridge over the River Usk, up the river for a bit, across another bridge and back down along the river to the starting point. I change my clothes in Bannatyne’s Health Club which is on a part of the route, warm up in the gym and then set out. Just nine laps of the river run is roughly equivalent to the 26.2 miles that I’ll need to run. Last night I did an easy three laps (8.75 miles) using the walk/run method in about 1 hour and 55 minutes. My hip (the other one!) was a little sore afterwards, but I could have maintained this almost indefinitely as I barely broke into a sweat.

I have five and a half months left to complete my preparations. I think it’s time to buy a new pair of running shoes to minimise ground impact. I believe my current ones are beginning to lose a bit of cushion. The condition of my joints is dependent upon this.

Please visit my JustGiving page on the link below to read my story:

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/markdpritchard

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