16: The Recovery 50 (25 Jun 11)
15: South Downs 26 (11 Jun 11)
14: Forest of Dean 33 (15 May 11)
13: London Marathon (17 Apr 11)
12: Brighton Trail 27 (27 Mar 11)
11: Pilgrim Ultra 33 (5 Feb 11)
10: Winter Tanner 30 (9 Jan 11)
9: Downs Dawdle 28 (12 Dec 10)
8: Rutland Marathon (7 Nov 10)
Event 7 to 1...now a distant memory!
Had anyone told me 17 months ago that I would be running 50 miles on Armed Forces Day last weekend I would have questioned their sanity. As I stood on the starting line of my final ‘Run4Recovery’ event at 3 AM on the outskirts of Aldershot, I questioned mine!
Running until dawn with a headtorch was quite satisfying as I traveled down deserted roads towards Guildford with a small back-pack full of necessities. I was due to meet with my support vehicle at the half-marathon point at 6 AM; which allowed time for a slow steady jog to ensure that I didn’t twist an ankle in the dark.
The second leg to Headley Court was again deliberately slow and steady; my admin vehicle going ahead of me every 2-4 miles, allowing us to meet up periodically. The two things that my support vehicle carried that I not expected were a camp chair and a flask of coffee – both an unexpected luxury. Arriving at Headley Court at the 6 hour mark, I knew that the next admin hour was the only real chance that I would have to refuel properly before running a full marathon to the RLC Armed Forces Day event at Deepcut; where I was due at 5 PM.
Roads that had seemed flat on the first run, started to feel hilly as my energy levels began
fluttering from the 30 mile point. They picked up again just before the 35 mile point, where I met with a colleague who had agreed to run with me for a while. At the 40 mile point I was feeling pretty fatigued; in hindsight probably not having taken enough energy on board during the first marathon. Snacks and energy gels that had tasted fine in the morning started to become less appealing as mental and physical tiredness started to kick in. The last 10 miles definitely involved more marching than running as the heat of the afternoon took its toll. The final 5 miles were a real head down slog and I arrived in Deepcut having been on my feet for over 12 hours.
Arriving at the RLC Armed Forces Day event was fantastic, as I ran a lap of the arena carrying an Armed Forces Day flag. Although the end of a long day, the support from the crowd was excellent – especially when it came in the form of a cold pint of beer.
As I write, donations are still coming in and so far I’ve raised £6500 for ABF The Soldiers’
Charity. Not as much as I had hoped to raise, but enough for The Soldiers’ Charity to continue making a difference - especially for those injured soldiers who pass through the doors of the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court.
Maybe I’ll just park the outstanding sum as ‘unfinished business’ for another time; however, you can still donate at www.justgiving.com/JohnKerner-Run4Recovery
until the end of July and by doing so you will make a difference.
Well the fantastic news is that I completed my final 50 mile run to DMRC Headley Court and then back to the Armed Forces Day at Deepcut yesterday! I’ll update the blog properly later in the week (once I’ve recovered), but before I do, please take a look at a news clip filmed at Headley Court last Friday.
Also, please don’t forget to donate if you haven’t yet done so. Thank you.
I store all of my running gear in a big box at home and had a clear out the other day in preparation for my 16th and final Run4Recovery event on Armed Forces Day next Saturday. Whilst sorting things out I found myself reflecting on a few things:
1. Runners come in all shapes and sizes. Although my body shape has changed, my weight has remained roughly the same. Distance running is 50% physical and 50% mental.
2. My understanding of exercise fuelling has increased massively, despite the fact that I thought it was pretty good before I started. I’ve also learnt that there’s a fine balance between getting it right and having a visit from ‘The Gingerbread Man’ (listen to any MarathonTalk podcast if you want to learn more).
3. Also, not every race results in a medal. I’ve now got a range of T-shirts (useful), drinks glasses (useful, depending on the content) and a mixture of paper-weight type trophies which I still haven’t found a use for and maybe never will. Running is a rewarding experience, regardless of whether you get a goody-bag at the finish.
4. I’ve also got a fair understanding of what my comfort zone is – a sub 4 hour marathon runner I am not. I like the scenery of the outdoors too much and having a chat with others. Running is social.
5. I also have absolute respect for runners who seem Mr or Mrs Average on the outside, but are totally the opposite as soon as they lace up their running shoes. Running is a great leveler.
However, I would give up all of this and more if it meant that I could make a difference for the young Soldiers of this country who (through no fault of their own) have found themselves needing the support of ABF The Soldiers’ Charity. Recovery doesn’t come cheap and the support of Service charities such as ABF The Soldiers’ Charity will continue to be in great demand for some time to come.
Now is the time to help me help others by sponsoring me on my final Run4Recovery event – the Recovery 50. I’ve never run 50 miles before; it’s a solo run; it’s probably going to hurt quite a lot – so please give whatever you can afford at http://www.justgiving.com/JohnKerner-Run4Recovery.
Make a difference!
The SAAB Salamon South Downs Marathon on 11 Jun – what a great day out! Organisation, administration, scenery, weather, bacon rolls at the start and not a single blister all made for one of the best events yet. Hills, lots of them, added to a thigh burning elevation of more than a mile over a 26 mile course. This is the only event that I’ve run to music (iPod came out at the 20 mile mark) and during one downhill stretch after an energy gel I got one of the best legal highs allowable listening to one of my favourite tunes. To other runners I must have looked like an escapee; sprinting downhill, laughing and grinning like a 4 year old (I have one, so I know what they look like on a mad day!)
Event 15 was my 7th consecutive marathon/ultra since Nov 10, so I’m probably now in the best possible shape to complete 50 miles on Armed Forces Day on 25 Jun. Preparation being key, having mapped out the route for the 50 miler I drove it last Fri to ensure that I was familiar with the terrain and potential traffic conditions – as it’s pretty much all on road/pavements.
Only 2 weeks to go now until the end what has been a great personal challenge over 16 months. If I can raise as much money as possible for ABF The Soldier’s Charity so they can continue their fantastic work in support of soldiers and their families then it will have been worth every mile. Help them help others, by donating to http://www.justgiving.com/JohnKerner-Run4Recovery
Lastly, a huge vote of thanks to everyone who has sponsored me so far; it’s really appreciated.
Only 3 weeks to go now until Armed Forces Day on 25 Jun and my 50 mile run to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. Event 15 next weekend (the South Downs Trail Marathon) will be my last long run, after which I’m going to take it really easy, with lots of rest and good nutrition. Well that’s the plan at least!
This week has been a good training week with a number of long runs and a circuit session thrown in for good measure; although, I decided to curtail yesterdays 3 hours run by about 30 mins as I felt pretty lethargic.
I’ve also started to focus on fundraising. Friends and family have been fantastic so far in helping me raise just short of £4.5K, but I need to raise much more if money alone is going to motivate me through 50 challenging miles. As well as approaching my wider networks, I’ve also produced a poster; copy attached for you to print off and display please: R4R Blog Poster
The support I’ve received from the ABF Soldier’s Charity team continues to be excellent; they really are first class in making sure that all of the bases are covered. All I need now is for people to be as selfless as they are and start donating a lot more money. For those of you who have already sponsored me, a huge thanks as there have been times when your support has really kept me going.
So please don’t forget to help me help others on Armed Forces Day: www.justgiving.com/JohnKerner-Run4Recovery.
Thanks in advance….John
Last week was definitely one of my better training weeks, starting with a hilly 2 hour x-country run and finishing with a 10 mile slow long run along local canal paths. I’ve been trying to spend more time on my legs, so ran for all but 2 days due to work and tiredness; about 9 hours in total, including a bare-foot run and a run chasing my children around the local woodlands on their bikes.
For those of you who like to keep up with what’s going on at the Defence Medical Rehabiliation Centre at Headley Court, we’ll they’ve recently introduced gardening therapy: http://www.bfbs.com/news/uk/growing-recovery-patients-headley-court-48027.html.
You also may be interested in a Radio 4 interview given by Lt Col David Richmond who is under treatment at Headly Court, having been shot in the leg in Afghanistan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/console/b011ckzq.
With now less than 30 days to go until Armed Forces Day on 25 Jun, I’m starting to focus on the final event. Event 14 (South Downs Marathon) on 11 Jun will be just another long run; something that I would not have even considered a year ago! That said, if it’s hot – it will be a different matter.
Fuels that are really working for me at the moment are Nacho crisps washed down with lucozade, fruitcake, choc chip Trek bars and jelly babies. I’m starting to get a little tired of gels and I really need solids every couple of hours. I’ve read that some top ultra-runners eat cold boiled potatoes dipped in salt, but that doesn’t sound too appealing to someone like me who likes their food. For recovery, a chocolate flavoured ‘For Goodness Shake’ and crunchy peanut butter on toast hit the spot. I’ve also just brought an Armed Forces Day flag to run with – very Eddie Izzard!