Saturday, 5 April 2014

Marathon 5

Marathon 5
Tarawera Ultra Marathon

Completed (60km) - 9hours 36minutes
We are one quarter of the way there. 5 marathons down, 15 to go - all for LIV Village.  I have heard that as the original LIV Village continues to expand (with a community hall and clinic being built) there are plans to open a second LIV Village (thanks to inspirational Lara Kruiskamp) in a different region of South Africa.  This is amazing news and is very encouraging as we head into the second quarter of the 20 marathons.  
the 5th marathon was a 60km ultra marathon, the Tarawera Ultra Marathon. This years event had a last minute course change due to the expected arrival of Cyclone Lusi. The 100km and 85km events were changed to a 75km run and for us 60km runners, the distance remained the same, but the course was  an out and back run (I.e. More hills).  What was initially mild, actually perfect, running weather soon turned to muddy, wet and windy. Either way a fun day. I met and ran almost the entire course with Roger (a school teacher from Tauranga) - we shared a few laughs and the time flew past - Thanks Roger. We shuffled along at a steady pace, no racing, just plodding. The first 45km were pretty comfortable, but I did struggle the last 15km, thanks to a mean uphill and just damn tired legs. I will add that Roger had a GPS, and we were counting down to the 60km mark - and had that heart-sinking moment when you realize that the course is about 3km longer than you expected. With sunken-hearts and smiles on our faces we shuffled on, recognizing the terrain as close enough to the finish. I crossed the finish line with Roger and my daughter Jaimie. No blisters or hot spots my ASICS Fuji Racers were perfect over this wet 60km course. 
Here is the link to the donations page:  With the current exchange rate, foreign curacy donations go a long way in terms of South African Rand (just saying)
Upcoming event: Marathon 6 - 12 April 2014 - Great Forest Marathon
And we're off...
Before the start with the Managing Director of my support crew (Kellie, my wife).
Pretty amazing scenery

Things got wet and muddy.

Finishing a great day with my daughter Jaimie and new buddy Roger
Two awesome cheerleaders, Jaimie and Maddy - thanks for the support!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Marathon 4

Marathon 4

Colville Connection Trail Marathon

Completed - 5hours 38minutes

My family and I made the 6 hour journey from Napier to Colville for a weekend away. What an awesome part of New Zealand. I think most of the New Zealand postcards were photographed up there.  What a pleasure to visit.

Once the race was under way, the family headed off to Waitete Bay and I settled into my pace for the day. It was a warm, humid, muddy day. Colville Connection is a trail run and a mountain bike event, so the mud was churned up quite a bit and made for slow progress. Walking the up hills, running the flats and sliding/ skiing the down hills like a Sochi cross country skier.  Man, big respect to those mountain bikers!

Met and ran with Mike, a Canadian Navy Diver for a bit of the race. This guy was tough, no real marathon training, but obviously fit from Navy service. We shared a few stories and wished him luck and he was off... (I saw him again at the finish, so no I wasn't hallucinating) :)  

I'm am looking forward to the next run, and catching up again with Tago and Ross, some like minded running buddies. Great to see Tanya and Colin at the finish (Congrats Colin for finishing the 70km mountain bike event, legend!).

Finished with no injuries. This was my third marathon with my ASICS Fuji Racers, these shoes have been good to me. Some proper calf cramps at 40km mark, probably from trying to run a bit too hard towards the end. Good lesson for Marathon 5, take it easy!  All in all, a good day.  Thank you Colville Connection Organizers.
Getting ready for the start

Mike in the mist

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Marathon 3

Marathon 3

Hutt River Trail Marathon

Completed - 4hours 01minutes

It had been 5 weeks since marathon number 2, I felt very well rested, perhaps a little too rested after  Christmas holidays. Rested but confident.  I had managed to keep my training up over this tempting period - sticking to a light training schedule, running 3-4 days a week (more often 3 rather than 4).  To avoid injury I kept most runs between 30 - 60 minutes, with just one longer (2 hour) run about 2 weeks out from this marathon.

I made the trip to Lower Hutt without the family for this one. The plan was for me to drive down on the Friday, run the marathon on the Saturday morning and drive back Saturday afternoon.


There was an ultra option (a 60km) for this event, I stuck to the standard marathon distance. The course ran from Upper Hutt to Lower Hutt, meandering along the river.  Pretty flat and not very technical, very enjoyable run. Thank you Aurora Harriers for a great event.

There was a very interesting feature on this course, going through  this tunnel.  You couldn't see your feet and the end looked like a speck - I'm not sure how long the tunnel was, probably only a few hundred metres, but that was a surreal experience.

Heading into the tunnel

I met two legends, Mike Tennent and Ross Steele. Mike is running 52 half marathons in 52 weeks for Hospice. And Ross has run 60+ marathons and has run a marathon on every continent! Ross was great company and I look forward to catching up with him again - turns out as we compared upcoming race schedules that we will be meeting again at the start line on the next few events. You can read Ross' race report here:

 Marathon completed with no injuries and the a few more running friends. Three down and 17 to go.

NZ Herald article:
20marathons20months got another mention in New Zealand Herald. if you haven't seen the article, here is the link below - we are honoured to be mentioned along side some inspirational people:
21/12/2013 "Marathon efforts all made for others"  -by Peter Thornton

To Donate:
To support the 20marathons20months for LIV Village - Here is a link to the donation page:

Marathon 2

Marathon 2
Wanganui 3 Bridges Marathon
Completed - 4hours 09minutes

December was an exciting month - marathon number 2 was completed and 20marathons20months got some newspaper coverage:  If you haven't seen the articles please see the links at the end of this post...
Marathon number 2 was a special one - the Wanganui 3 Bridges Marathon was run on the 14th of December 2013.  This was a weekend with South Africa on my mind.  This weekend was Mr Nelson Mandela's memorial and funeral. As a tribute I had an SA flag pinned to my chest (and Johnny Clegg on the playlist).

This was our first time visiting Wanganui and we were very excited to start seeing a bit more of New Zealand.   As a side note -to families traveling with little ones to or through Wanganui, you must check out - Kowhai Park - this place is an amazing playground for the kids and totally free.

Kings Court Motel provided a spacious one bedroom unit which was ideal. Just a short walk from the motel, through Wanganui town centre to the race start.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and went straight to registration pick up my race number.  The race organizers (Wanganui Harriers) went the extra mile and arranged for me to have bib number two for this event, marathon number two. Thanks so much guys!

Race day - Vaseline and band-aids strategically placed on my person, shoes on and laces tied - nervous energy in the air.  A few fellow runners at the start commented on my cap (Comrades Marathon cap) stating that Comrades was on their bucket-lists. It was special to see Comrades Marathon igniting excitement half way around the world,and awesome to hear how folks were looking to challenge themselves. Before the start I also managed to catch up with Rachel (who happened to go on to win the women's marathon that day - what a legend). She has run 4 marathons in 2013, raising funds for Oxfam and in 2014 she is off to run the New York marathon.  One of the amazing by-products of this 20marathons20monoths for LIV Village is getting to meet some amazing people.

So the 3 bridges marathon, and yup you guessed it, we ran over 3 bridges.  The course was 4 laps of approximately 10kms each to make up the marathon distance. Flat with constant scenery of the Wanganui river.

A highlight for me was to run the final 100m with my daughter. She was patiently waiting with mum (running shoes on) and shrieked with excited when she saw me come round the corner.  According to my daughter we won the race.  Special way to finish the second marathon.   As an added bonus, I won a spot prize (an All Blacks cap) and prize-giving. All in all a good weekend!


Here are the links to the newspaper articles for December...  
In the Wanganui Chronicle:
"Psychologist gets head around marathon task" -by Iain Hyndman  
"Record entries expected for 3 Bridges" -get a little mention ahead of the marathon number 2.
New Zealand Herald:
07/12/2013 "Running:Napier runner out to change the world"  -by Peter Thornton 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Marathon 1

Marathon 1
Speights Westcoaster Adventure Run

Completed - 7hours 24minutes.

Marathon number one is done.  This was an amazing course to kick off this adventure.  The scenery was spectacular.  The course had 2000m of vertical gain, which I translated as "you get to walk a lot...". The winner finished in 5hours 9 minutes.

I went into this event a little under prepared. The theory being that 20 months is a long time, and I didn't want to run the risk of over-training for marathon one.  The plan for this event was a) finish b) don't pick up any injuries and c) enjoy! I am pleased to say all three objectives were met.

Weather conditions were set to be perfect, if not a little hot.  The race briefing complete, nervous energy in the air, runners milled around and ebbed towards the start line.  I shuffled towards the back of the pack.  A few words of encouragement and caution and we were off. 

I had mentally broke the course into 4 sections

Section 1 (0 - 12km)
Most for the first 12km section was run on private land (thanks to the Bethells Family).  This first section was very pleasant. I was cautious to watch my pace, careful not to let my pace creep up. A good time to chat to a few guys who have run this event before. Important information I gathered a) leave something in the tank for later, b) when you get tired just look at the scenery and c) you have to run the Disneyland Marathon!  To summarize this first section - Take in the great views of Bethells Beach, run across a rather large sand dune, get your feet wet running in the stream and you're into the second section.

Section 2 (12 - 22km)
The second section (10km) was to run north on Te Henga track - amazing views of the rugged westcoast.  I felt pretty good for most of this section.  It must have been about 18km into the run, when I experienced a proverbial 'bad patch'.  Legs felt good, but I just felt tired as if my body just realized that today was going to be a long day. There was a heart-breaking climb up some stairs before getting to the next aid station (at 22km). I was stepping, one, two, three - stop - breathe... one, two, three - stop - breathe * repeat * til the top. Glad to see a few friendly faces here, I took some electrolytes, refilled the back-pack and ate a banana.  With a smile on my face and I was quick to move on. 

Section 3 (22 - 32km)
This 10km was a loop of Goldie Bush, back to the aid station. With a spring in my step, I remember running quite strongly here, feeling good. The field had spread out a bit now and I was on my own heading into Goldie Bush. There were plenty river crossings here, taking the opportunity at each to splash water on my legs, neck and face. Climbing out of Goldie Bush, at what must have been about the 29km mark, my legs started cramping a bit. Nothing too serious, I could still move forward - which in my books is a win.

Section 4 (32 - 42.2km)
Ah, back to the aid station. Tired. Less chatty, still smiling.   I grabbed some more electrolytes. Didn't feel like eating anything. I crouched down to refill the back-pack - bad move - my legs seized up. It wasn't game over, just an intense threat from the legs.  I walked out of the aid station, 10kms to go.  I pretty much walked most of this final section (not by choice). The scenery was amazing. The legs were hurting. The ipod was in the ears, I remember singing along to  'Johnny Clegg - Impi'.  I walked (again not by choice) across the finish line - to receive the finishers medal and an ice cold Speights.  One down, 19 to go.

This was my first marathon with my ASICS Fuji Racers.  I was a little nervous, having not run more than 3hours in these before.  I was very pleased with them, after 7+ hours on my feet, no niggles, no blisters (despite the many river crossings). I'll be wearing these again, for sure.

Thank you to the Speights Westcoaster team for your support, what an amazing event.  There was also a relay option, a 6km, 13km, 21.1km, 30km and the marathon option - something for everyone, see you next year.

Help change lives one step at a time
Here is the link to the donations page

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And twitter: @Run20_20


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Nappies and Niggles

It has been a while since my last update.

The 20 marathon 20 month support crew has grown by one.  My wife, Kellie gave birth to a healthy baby boy, Alex on the 16th of September...  Blessed. Seeing little Alex with his big sister Jaimie, has given me that little extra motivation to run for the LIV kids. 

Training was ticking along well, fully kitted out in awesome ASICS range (thanks again ASICS NZ), I had no excuses, rain or shine I was out training... I was running 50 - 60km per week... when (for the first time ever) I felt a niggle in my foot.  Actually it was a strained peroneal tendon - but let's call it a niggle because that sounds less serious. And a week later I rolled my ankle!  I was gutted (that would be minimizing it - more accurately I was feeling annoyed, down and grumpy). I've since been in good hands, Lynley from Boyce Podiatry and Jess from Cape Physio - have helped me make a quick recovery and I've not lost too much fitness.

Lessons learned:
* Rest days, alternating heavy weeks with easy weeks and stretching are going to be important for this project. The writing is on the wall... I'm getting old. Next  I'll be wearing slippers, talking a little too loud and telling Dad jokes... (I already do two of the three). 

* Time on feet is more important than km per week.  I had been getting a bit obsessed with distance per week and I think that trying to keep up high mileage per week contributed to the niggle. So now I am more flexible with my runs, going for time on feet rather than distance (Bruce Fordyce speaks about this in training for Comrades).  I am running two days during the week (each 35 - 60min) and Saturday (60min)and Sunday (around 1hour 30min to 3hr)

As a result of baby Alex joining the family and the rolled ankle -  I'll be going into the first marathon a little under done.  I have pushed back the start of the 20 marathons (which was supposed to kick off with Auckland Marathon on the 3rd of November) to the 23rd of November with the Speights Westcoaster.  This looks to be a very scenic trail run based around Bethells Beach, Auckland.     Thanks to the race organizers for supporting this cause with a sponsored entry.  Check out the website join in, with 6km, 13km, 21.1km, 30km and 42.2km events. there is an event for everyone

Marathon # 1
23rd November 2013
Speights Westcoaster

Support the cause - follow this link to donate:

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Mid-winter update

Marathon number one is about three months away. 

I have been slowly increasing my mileage (see my training log below).  My weeks have looked like this: Mondays and Wednesdays I work a little late and so no running (aka rest days). Tuesday and Thursday are evening runs, I get out around 7pm in the dark, after I've built a rocket ship, had a tea party and I've impersonated the Cookie Monster.  Then it's supper time, bath time and bed time for Jaimie... and finally my run time.  For runs under 1 hour I have a very excited running buddy - Moya, our Jack Russell. 
Weekend long runs have been in day light, mostly in awesome Hawkes Bay sunshine, with one memorable icy rainy day...  An essential aspect of my training is not featured in my training log is church on Sunday. 

I have been humbled by the support we have received.  Some very generous supporters have already made donations to the cause.  Tyrone, Daryl, Julie, Rachel, Sally and Joe, Thank you all very much.
We have some amazing sponsors so far:
ASICS New Zealand are our official running shoe and running apparel sponsor. I am so excited about this, I think I am still smiling...  I've only ever run in ASICS from my very first 10km in high school, to marathons and a few ultras. My Dad ran his two Comrades marathons (back in the 70's) in a pair of ASICS (actually I think they were Onitsuka Tigers - by ASICS).
Race Food - are based in South Africa and are supplying us with our energy bars for the 20 months  They are the official energy bar sponsor of the Comrades Marathon - they do an awesome almond and cranberry nougat energy bar.
Running Buddies

Moya, with our house somewhere there in background...

Rainy winter day...

Here is the training log for the last 6 weeks.

WeekMonTuesWedThursFriSatSunTotal KM
Jun10 -16Rest6Rest10Rest612.534.5
Running time0:350:520:331:06
Running time0:300:560:47
Running time0:520:431:390:24
Running time0:400:542:100:35
Running time0:380:562:010:40
Running time0:470:401:002:24