50 by 50 Challenge
Report by Ana-Maria Green
Ana Green (front) with from left to right, Deb Stamp, Amanda Paver, Michael Kennard, Andy Boorman and Joan Woodward
For those of you who may not know, my challenge came about following a conversation back in May on the Bluebell run with a new member, Nigel who was sporting the haloed 100MC blue vest. He made it sound very easy and achievable and so was born the idea I could start by doing “50 by 50”. At that time I did not realise I was actually much further away from 50 than I had thought, maths has never been my strong point! This was further not helped by having to exclude one marathon until it is considered and hopefully approved by the 100MC Committee at their Annual Meeting in February 2017! Thus I was faced with seven months in which to complete 14 marathons (I’d originally thought perhaps I only had 7 to do, oh dear!) in a hopefully respectable time whilst remaining injury free.
It had been decided some time ago that #50 of my challenge would be down on the coast at the seaside town of Dymchurch when Debs knew she wouldn’t be able to get time off for Malaga. Not quite as glamorous, but I am a great believer in fate and how fortuitous that it wasn’t Malaga given the torrential rains which occurred and prevented the race from taking place. Had it been Malaga, I would be stuck at #49 and not writing this report now.
Upon arrival the sun was coming up on the horizon and all looked very right with the world, even though the wind took our breath away as it was so cold!
Michael and I always knew that I was to be joined by Debs and Amanda and a late entry by Andy, however, I was to have a lovely surprise, when Joan walked towards me, having decided a 26.2 mile jaunt was far more appealing than Christmas shopping!! I’m am sure she had plenty of opportunity to question the wisdom of her decision during the course of the race!
The route consisted of five out and backs along the newly reinforced sea wall, wide and flat with breathtaking views of the sea taking runners from Dymchurch to the old coastal defence fort at one end and a Martello Tower at the Western end.
This was the 9th race of the 10 in 10 day challenge, so there were many runners who had spent the whole week running marathons, awesome!
The first outward was very pleasant and calm and we all set off together, wondering how many 1,000’s of marathons had been completed by the runners at Dymchurch. However, as we turned to return from the Western end of the course, we were confronted with a strong and cold wind, not as bad as last week, but still challenging, especially when you had experienced it and knew you had four further laps of it! We all ran together until half way, by which time there was a difference in pace and the faster runners pressed on ahead.
Adam Holland won the race in a time of 2:57:25 and having completed and won the 10th race on Sunday again at Dymchurch, is now the new world record holder for the quickest 10 x 10 marathons, all sub 3, and has broken the previous record by over an hour! What an absolutely awesome achievement.
The first lady was Melanie Staley in a time of 3:23:47.
The Harriers finished as follows:
Michael Kennard – 4:17:25
Andy Boorman – 4:24:00
Ana-Maria Green – 4:28:08
Amanda Paver, Deb Stamp and Joan Woodward – 4:52:45
We decamped to the local pub where our photograph was kindly taken by a runner, Steve who had just completed his 100th marathon and was there to celebrate his milestone achievement and tuck into what looked like a fabulous cake.
We were informed by Traviss Wilcox of Saxons, Vikings and Normans that if we wished, there were still places available on Sunday to run Dymchurch, it may surprise you not, but we politely declined!!! However, one certain Harrier, Derek Harrison did run Dymchurch on Sunday in a time of 3:48:20.
Here ends part 1 of my journey and I now look forward to planning part 2, but at a more leisurely pace!!! I have learned my lesson the hard way, so please do not ask me for a time frame for completion of part 2!!!
There has been a lot of attention on me and my challenge, but I wish to thank everyone who has shared in my journey, who has been so kind, supportive, and encouraging and sent good luck messages and thoughtful texts throughout the summer before I’ve gone off to do yet another marathon, setting off at silly o’clock on the weekend, thank you Miss Morris! A special thanks must go to Andy, Debs, Amanda and Joan for doing some of the Sunday runs with me and for actually running some of the races with me. A really huge and extra special thanks must go to Michael who researched and found all of the marathons so that we wouldn’t have miles to travel, put them in the calendar, did the driving and ran some of the marathons from start to finish with me, whilst I moaned about either my back or my foot or both!
A lot of focus has been on me, he is too modest to say, but he has actually completed 17 marathons since April!
Finally, I must just say that there are some absolutely awesome runners out there who have run 100’s of marathons and do it weekly with smiles on their faces and it makes me feel very humble indeed.