In April 2018, I set up a personal blog named 26@60 - A challenge for my 60th year on the Planet...
I will be 60 years old in August and although the common soundbite that age is purely a number, to me it might as well be The Book of Revelations and the 60 years it took Jesus to confide in Apostle John about all that thorny End of Days stuff! I am running the London Marathon on Sunday April 28th - just 4 days away! How hard can it be?
How to beat off this morbid, irrational fear of being 60 and viewing myself as the newest patron in life’s inevitable departure lounge?
I had one eye on the London Marathon highlights, then two eyes. Then I put my glasses on. Now I am concentrating so hard and rubbing my chin vigorously.
Did I whisper it? I don’t think Caroline heard. I CAN DO THAT – I know, I can do that! After all, how hard can it be?
I contemplate this over a bag of Planters Dry Roasted and a pint of Fuller’s London Pride.
So I took a leap of faith and contacted The Big Issue Foundation.
Here are some snippets from my journey thus far...
The Big Bournemouth Vendor Run – Tuesday April 16
Wednesday April 10th 2019:
My final long run before the London Marathon will be on Tuesday April 16th and this particular journey will have an interesting twist…
I shall be running from my home in Christchurch to the Big Issue office in Bournemouth via Big Issue Vendor pitches in Christchurch, Southbourne, Boscombe, Winton, Westbourne and Bournemouth. At each pitch I will purchase that week’s m
agazine from the seller; they buy for £1.25 and I pay, like everyone else, £2.50. The transaction is not a donation, it’s business pure and simple.
The event will be a great opportunity to meet all the guys and girls, tell them about the London Marathon, get a photo and to receive their good wishes for race day on Sunday April 28th. Hopefully, I will be able to engage with passers-by to endorse the Big Issue message of a “Hand up, not a Hand out”.
Friday 5th April 2019:
There are just over three weeks to go and I have received my final instructions from the Virgin Money London Marathon team. ARGHHHH!
So, I will be wearing a red bib which delights me no end as the colour will go perfectly with my Big Issue Foundation running vest, their corporate colours being red, white and black. Let’s face it, a green bib would have looked completely awful!
And my number...39360, which seems on the surface a little large considering there are only 40,000 runners! I am assuming Mo Farrah’s will be 2 or 3? Still, at least I will share my number with a GE 7 watt MR16 LED retrofit lamp, which in itself is fitting considering my vocation. It is also a 1:18 model number for a Harley Davidson Fat Boy motor cycle, which also seems quite appropriate.
downloadI need to go through the VMLM information pack which contains an awful lot of stuff including stacks of medical information which is encouraging!! I will focus more on this in future blogs on the subject.
This Sunday I will be taking part in the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon which represents my last significant effort before April 28th. I am looking forward to this as I feel a little like an expert over this distance, a veteran of two other races in Exeter and Weymouth this year. I am going to try and really contain myself and not exceed my marathon pace of 12.30 minutes per mile (I really want to try and finish London in under 6 hours if I can). It’s really getting very close now.
From Monday I will be tapering back a bit (except for April 16 when I am trying to set up a fun run of 14 miles – more on this next week).
Once again thank you to all my supporters who really do keep me focused on the crazy task ahead. If anyone else is reading this then please do sponsor me. My donations page can be found at virginmoneygiving.com/CliffeTribe
78 days to go...Now it’s getting serious!
Friday February 8 2019:
Now it getting serious! I have completed my sign ups to half marathons in three towns in three months before heading to London for the big one on April 28. My followers and supporters are going to get real value from me for their kind donations virginmoneygiving.com/CliffeTribe .
First, it is this Sunday and Exeter with Storm Eric currently doing all he can to put me off travelling the 90 odd miles to get to the County town of Devon for a 09.00 start. I was going out later today for a gentle jog to try and loosen up a bit. I am aching from top to bottom due to a week of heavy car mileage and three days on a cold building site. Needless to say the weather at present is going to keep me from that jog. I am however, keeping to a strict diet this week and thus hoping that 60% carbs, plenty of fluids and a regime of stretching will be the right preparation for yet another leap into the unknown on Sunday. Tonight and tomorrow night I will be feasting on wholewheat pasta, prawns, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and Parmesan all washed down with orange juice.
On March 17th I have entered the Weymouth Half Marathon which is my craziest yet as it will be at the end of Cheltenham Festival week and I am going, as usual, on Champions Day, Tuesday 12th. My diet for the week leading up to this particular race may go a touch awry!
My final event before London will be the Bournemouth Bay Half Marathon on April 7th. At least I do not have to travel far for this one and it will be along the promenade that has been my running home for the past eight months or so.
I have been told I must make a 16-mile race in the weeks preceding the London Marathon. I just cannot see how this is going to happen? I guess I will need to judge how my half marathon season goes and make a decision around mid-April. My head is clear on the subject of distance and I have managed to slowly increase the miles with every race carried out so far. The Maverick in the New Forest was 11.2 miles so just over 13 miles must be doable, right??
I am pleased with my pacing at the moment and am keeping close to my preferred marathon pace of 12 minutes per mile. Which will get me around London in just over five hours. If I manage that and in one piece, then I will be truly delighted. I have booked three days off work immediately following the event.
I really hope you enjoy these blogs and can donate something to the cause? The Big Issue Foundation provides wonderful help to the Big Issue vendors and is just another positive ‘hand up’ to those who strive to get back on their feet again. Thank you.
The Bournemouth Marathon Festival – My first serious challenge, a Supersonic 10k!
Friday September 28, 2018:
Okay; it’s one week to go until my first significant run (ever)! The annual Bournemouth Marathon Festival is a big deal and Saturday October 6th, 2018 will see this very nervous competitor take his place at the start, on Undercliff Drive next to Harry Ramsden’s. At 4pm, on finishing my pre-race savaloy and chips washed down with a full-fat Coke, the 6 mile run will commence and meander (in my case) back and forth along Bournemouth’s iconic seafront. I have my number, 45215 and the timing chip thingy attached to said number. I know that I will be starting in the Orange pen, which is pretty close to the back and am also aware that if I drop to 15 minute/mile pace then I will be hoofed off the promenade by a rather sinister-like ‘sweep cyclist’ (whatever that is)!
Since I starting training back in May, I have been pretty strict with my running regime and thus far, I am happy to say, that a couple of 4-mile runs have not proved too daunting. I have it in my head that if I can Run/Walk (1-Minute Each) then I can achieve 12-minute- miles and so far, this strategy seems to be working. To achieve my ambition of completing the London Marathon in under 6-hours, I really need to wire in this program and I must therefore keep to this pace for the duration of the Supersonic 10k. I know I will be one of the last to finish (hopefully), but the focus has to be London on the 28th April, 2018. Next week I will be telling you all about it!
Friday October 5th, 2018: Big Issue Dorset Team Barbeque on Bournemouth Beach
The Big Issue Dorset team is hosting a BBQ from 5pm to all vendors, ex-vendors, services and four legged friends on Bournemouth Beach (by the pier). Just to say well done to all of the vendors for all their hard work throughout the year.
The team are all very friendly, so if you’re around and like to learn more about The Big Issue, meet the vendors or ask us any question please don’t hesitate to say stop by and say hello! They are always looking out for volunteers.
Running as a means to an end…I trust this doesn’t mean my end?
Tuesday May 1st 2018:
A pleasant chat with Ellie, The Big Issue people really are the best! We talk about the Bournemouth office, my involvements in the past and fundraising possibilities. At the end of that, Ellie announces I will be one of the six runners representing TBIF at next year’s London Marathon….you know I am 60 and the furthest I have ever run is about 3000 metres? But now is not the time for such insignificant stuff, I have eleven months to train. I AM THE LONDON MARATHON. Out the way Spiderman and Rhino Chef, fat bellied Bournemouth bloke in a red and black TBIF running vest coming through! There is purpose to my life now, a way to beat the 60 blues and burst that quantum geriatric mind-set bubble that screams YOU’RE PAST IT SON and YOU GOTTA GIVE IT ALL UP!
Had a pleasant chat with Ellie, The Big Issue people really are the best! We talk about the Bournemouth office, my involvements in the past and fundraising possibilities. At the end of that, Ellie announces I will be one of the six runners representing The Big Issue Foundation (TBIF) at next year’s London Marathon….you know I am 60 and the furthest I have ever run is about 3000 metres? But now is not the time for such insignificant stuff, I have eleven months to train.
I am the London Marathon. Out the way Spiderman and Rhino Chef, fat bellied Bournemouth bloke in a red and black TBIF running vest coming through!
There is purpose to my life now, a way to beat the 60 blues and burst that quantum geriatric mind-set bubble that screams YOU’RE PAST IT SON and YOU GOTTA GIVE IT ALL UP!
Monday April 30th 2018:
Email alert from TBIF Events Team! Ellie wants a phone interview with me the following afternoon. Will she ask my weight? My shoe size? Do I know where London is and am I really aware what 26.2188 miles actually means? Suddenly I am feeling all of my 59 years of age, wracked with nervous energy (well nervous anyway) and I have yet to put any running shoes on, where are they anyway? I phone CW in Denmark to ask his advice and whether he will do this thing with me? I read somewhere that it is good to have a marathon buddy and he ran or walked the race back in 2016. CW suggested I was MAD! I considered this supportive revelation over a packet of Twiglets and a Pint of Ringwood Best Bitter.
Monday April 23rd 2018:
Musing about the marathon and trying to ignore my subconscious whining on about occasional eccentric decision making, a thought occurs. This event is always oversubscribed, so how do I get in? I email The Big Issue Foundation, they are bound to have loads of places for the 2019 race and I have been supporting them for many years, so morally I guess, my application is sound! I am sort of devastated to learn TBIF has only six ‘golden’ entries. They ask my age (ouch) and whether I have ever run a marathon before (ouch, ouch). On the positive side and to my limited knowledge, no one from Bournemouth has ever run for them! I contemplate these developments over a bag of Ringo’s and a pint of Adnam’s Ghost Ship.
You can follow my 12 months training (sic) by clicking on this link here - I will be sharing my progress, my adventures and my journey as I take on my first ever marathon!
Feeling generous? You can also sponsor me https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/CliffeTribe