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Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Aug/Sept/Oct Update

Quick recap on an action-packed Summer meets Autumn where I ran 2 marathons and picked up a nasty injury where I had to pull of my homecoming Half (sob, sob).

Truro Half Press

Way back in August I was really happy to have some local press coverage in my home county of Cornwall.  The last time I was in the Cornish Guardian was when I ran London Marathon, aged 18 in 2001!  I wrote off to them with a bit of info on the challenge and telling the story of my friend Rebecca who lives in Penzance and her struggle with M.E.

Truro Half Marathon were kind enough to feature my challenge on their social media and website.  I was really looking forward to running the streets that I used to walk on as a teenager but an injury 2 weeks before meant that although I travelled down with the intention to run, it was just too painful to risk.

Booked Hamburg

I booked Hamburg as my German marathon for 2020 (number 26) after much deliberation.  I had been very keen to run Berlin as it is one of the Abbott Majors and the fastest course in the world.  But two failed ballot attempts and the risk of flight and hotels rocketing from when the ballot is drawn to when I would need to book made it difficult to justify.  I enjoy big races and the amazing support but sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming and tough to concentrate with space at a premium.

Pretty sure this is the Fischmarkt, we ended up here at 6am drinking and dancing I think.

I probably wouldn't have opted for Hamburg as a back up had I not met fellow EU marathon collector Tim Teege.  Tim lives in Hamburg and runs the race each year and offered to have us to stay which was extremely generous of him.  He has 4 daughters and we thought it would be really fun for Lucy, maybe they can teach her some German!  I've been to Hamburg once before on a stag do!  It was a lot of fun but extremely boozy.  We went to watch Hamburg FC in a match they had to win to avoid relegation (and they did!) as well as running around the bars of the infamous Reeperbahn district.

Will be great to meet up with Tim again, here we are at Copenhagen Marathon, May 2018.

An added bonus of running in Hamburg for me is how far north it is and with it being in April there's a good chance it will be cold and/or wet.  Hamburg Marathon recently got voted as the best marathon in the world online too, so not too shabby a race for me to run!


Lovely views, very hot morning on the south coast

Over the crazy hot summer that we had in England, I decided to run along the coast from Portslade to Peacehaven when visiting family in Sussex.  It was a really hot morning and I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and views.  It was a nice break from the cycle paths of Bristol and even though it was really tough I would definitely do it again.

161 mile Aug

August has gone down as my biggest mileage month of the challenge so far.  161 miles in total which I was very happy with.  It clearly came at a cost though as I went down with a really painful hip flexor injury towards the end.

Wow, almost like a proper runner!

It was such a hot summer that I felt a bit disappointed that my times hadn't improved on previous years but the bigger issue was whether I would be fit in time for Budapest Marathon in late September.

M.E in Romania

I appealed to hear from M.E sufferers in Romania on Phoenix Rising and S4ME, after a while someone replied to my post.  It was the sister of a lady called Andreea who lived in a city called Iasi.  She suffers from severe M.E and I was extremely grateful to her and her sister for sharing her story.  I was able to introduce them to another Romanian with the illness a few weeks later which made me very happy, hopefully they can help each other somehow.

Click here to read Andreea's story.

Budapest Marathon

Gotta love the Danube

I managed to get around Budapest Marathon in one piece in a fairly cautious time of 4 hrs 43 mins.  It was a good temperature for running though got warm towards the end and came with fantastic views of the Danube pretty much throughout.  I was really pleased to get it done, I was genuinely relieved and hopeful I could recover in time for Bucharest Marathon 2 weeks later.

Click here for race report.

Booking no.25 - Rome, Italy.

Definitely one I'm looking forward to

I was very surprised to see Rome Marathon come back after 2 years of being cancelled.  It would appear that the council's issues with the organisers had finally been resolved so it was an easy decision to sign up.  The flight is from Bristol which is a massive bonus and it's a nice chance for Cat to see Rome for the first time.

2009 in Rome, great city, not so great result

The race starts at the iconic Collisseum and takes in a number of the sites there.  I've been once before with a friend over 10 years ago to watch Man Utd v Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League Final.  We were outplayed, attending the match was actually kind of scary but I enjoyed seeing all the sites.


2 weeks after Budapest Marathon I headed back to Luton airport to fly out to Romania.  Ben came along to run too and we finished the course in brilliant sunshine (27c) before heading out for a few beers.  It was a nice course and well organised, I got round in 4hrs 38 mins and without too much pain.

Ben Scott and I win our first race!

Race report here

Quick hi-5


I hit a big landmark just before Porto, £20K raised through the challenge for Invest In M.E's biomedical research projects.

Not far to go to hit my target of £26.2K (mirroring the 26.2 miles in a marathon).

M.E in Portugal

I was very fortunate to find 3 people to interview from Portugal, all with excellent English and also a Facebook support group who very supportive.

Beautiful Porto

Click here to read Andre, Elle and Ana's stories.

One of the people I connected with had a family contact at a prominent Portuguese sports website and was happy to feature my challenge on there which was great news.

Click here to view Amma Magazine article.


August 2013 on our honeymoon, it was 30C!

Croatia only seems to have one road marathon that I can find.  So a trip back to Zagreb was always on the cards for the last international race of the challenge.  I have been before when Cat and I stopped off for a night on our honeymoon towards the Croatian islands.  It seemed like a nice town, not an obvious tourist destination but we enjoyed the awesome roof of St Mark's Church and the old town.

Cool Runnings?

As you probably know by now, I struggle massively in races over 22C.  The challenge was always going to be tricky from that perspective as I live in a country in Northern Europe where there aren't many days to train in those kind of temperatures. When I read the advanced forecast for Porto and saw with joy that it was going to be 15C it was rather exciting.  Below explains why!

Prague - 15c - May 2015

Helsinki - 24c - Aug 2015

Dublin - 14c - Oct 2015
Thessaloniki - 19c - Apr 2016
Stockholm - 24c - June 2016
Gdansk - 27c - Aug 2016
Brussels - 15c - Oct 2016
Toulouse - 22c - Oct 2016
Barcelona - 22c - Mar 2017
Luxembourg - 33c - June 2017
Vilnius - 19c - Sept 2017
Amsterdam - 21c - Oct 2017
Ljubljana - 20c - Oct 2017
Malta - 22c - Feb 2018
Vienna - 29c - Apr 2018
Copenhagen - 23c - May 2018
Tallinn - 21c - Sept 2018
Sofia - 20c - Oct 2018
Paphos - 23c - Mar 2019
Bratislava - 20c - Apr 2019
Riga - 27c - May 2019
Budapest - 22c - Sept 2019
Bucharest - 26c - Oct 2019

Average - 22c

Pete Thompson 

In 2017 I enjoyed following the challenge undertaken by Pete Thompson from Dorset who ran a marathon in all 44 countries in Europe in 44 consecutive days.  He was kind enough to feature my challenge on his website and social media.  Cheers Pete!

That's a wrap for now, back soon where I will have finished Porto (no.24) and will be training for Rome Marathon.

Thanks for all your support, if you're feeling generous please leave a donation to M.E research for a cure to my fundraising page below.... 

Total Sponsorship Raised: £20,120
Social Media Followers: 2420
Miles Covered: 237
Average Temp: 19C
Lessons Learned: 3 marathons in 6 weekends on one working leg is possible, just.