This was the third virtual “lockdown” challenge which had been devised by my running club, Lingfield RC, having previously completed a solo 5km effort and a pairs 10 mile relay in May.
For those of you who are unaware of the Comrades marathon, this is an ultra marathon which is run each year in South Africa and it covers a total distance of 55 miles. The club had therefore challenged teams (of 3 or 4) or solo runners to cover the distance over a 7-day period. I decided to challenge myself and go solo!
Now, you should know that I have only ever once in my 8 years in the sport completed a 50 mile week and tend to rune 3-4 times per week, covering a total distance of 20-30 miles. Even in training for the two marathons that I have run, my biggest mileage weeks never exceeded 50 miles, so this was definitely a big challenge for me!
The 7-day period ran from midnight on Friday 5th June up until midnight on Friday 12th June. My plan was to attempt to cover 8 miles per day in order to cover the 55 mile distance.
Here I diarise my 55 mile week:
Day 1 – Saturday 6th June (4 miles)
Day 2 – Sunday 7th June (12.03 miles)
Day 3 – Monday 8th June (8.01 miles)
Day 4 – Tuesday 9th June (7.97 miles)
Day 5 – Wednesday 10th June (6 miles)
Day 6 – Thursday 11th June (9 miles)
Day 7 – Friday 12th June (8 miles)
As you can see from my brimming smile following my final run of the challenge, I was delighted to have completed the mileage and equally delighted to discover that I had finished as the second fastest of all the teams and solo runners, with a time of 6:40.36.
I learned that my mind and body are capable of more than I had thought and I now intend to cover an average of 8 miles per day going forward as a result of this challenge. I know that this is a realistic and achieveable goal and I am sure that the additional time on feet will only benefit my overall speed and endurance.