My 11 marathons in 11 days challenge

As part of my ongoing commitment to run 100 official marathons to coincide with the RAF100 centenary, thus joining the 100 marathon club in the process.  I set myself the challenge to run 11 marathons in a 11 days to help stay on schedule.

Day 1:  It all started on the 23rd November at the Timelord on Thames challenge.  Already weary from running a double marathon the weekend before, this race was probably the biggest challenge knowing what I had instore for myself.  I finished the race in 3:27:27 which was a good start towards a sub 3:30 average that I wanted.
Day 2:  The next day was the start of the SVN 10 in 10.  Starting off in Samphire Hoe in Kent.  This race didn’t go as well as expected,  I felt really lethargic and mentally I didn’t feel strong, I finished in just over 3:38.  I was thinking to myself I’ve still got 9 to go, it was going to be an uphill battle all the way.
Day 3:  Was on same course but called the Fudgathon challenge , a totally different  story to the previous day.  I somehow felt rejuvenated and I finished in 3:14, 1st place.
Day 4:  Was the Saxon shore challenge in Deal.  After the previous day, despite the legs feeling sore, mentally I felt energetic.  I took that energy into the race with me, although I didn’t win, I finished in just over 3:15.
Day 5:  The Hugin challenge at the Pagwell nature reserve.  6 loops near the seafront with a hill thrown in.  There were a few people with fresh legs running.  I set off at a fast pace and led from start to finish.  Completing the race in 3:19 and another 1st place.
Day 6:  The relativity run along the Margate seafront.  The course was longer than a marathon, it worked out to be about 27 mile.  This was 4 out and backs.  I started off out in front but on the 2nd lap I felt a bit lethargic and two runners ended up being some distance away from me by half way.  However, on the 3rd lap I got my 2nd wind and really picked up pace.  The leaders gradually slowed their pace down and by the end of the 3rd lap I had overtaken them and finished strong finishing in 3:19, 1st place and 10 mins ahead of the person in second.
Day 7:  Back at Margate seafront, same course as the day before for the Soul cake challenge.  The wind was an absolute killer that day.  It felt like I was running into it most of the time.  It was a lonely race too, I had no competition to give me that extra push.  I finished in 3:34, 1st place and about 25 mins ahead of 2nd place.
Day 8:  This was at Ramsgate seafront, it was a strange course with two prominent hills.  This was the St Andrews day challenge.  I saw fit to wear a fancy dress kilt for the occasion.  Despite going the wrong way on the course to start, I still had a really good run.  I like it when I have the odd hill to contend with, it allows me to use the strength in my legs to power up them.  I ended up finishing in 3:21, again another 1st place finish.
Day 9:  The advent challenge, again back at Ramsgate.  I had a sports massage the night before.  That had seemed to do the job.  My 9th of running and I felt really strong.  I went through half marathon running at just over sub 3hr pace.  I faded towards the end but finished in 3:08 which was the 2nd fastest time I had ever run a marathon and of course it secured 1st place.
Day 10:  The Fowlmead challenge at Betteshanger park.  The original course had to be changed last moment as part of the track was impassable.  So ended up having to do 12 Laps of a quite flat trail track which probably played in my favour as the original track was quite hilly.  I was in 2nd until the last 2 laps where I caught up with the leader.  He had slowed his pace right down and I was able to pull away from him.  I ended up finishing about a mile in front of him in the end, coming in at 3:22 and another 1st place finish.
Day 11:  The final day of what had been an epic challenge and some of my best running.  It was back at Betteshanger park but on the original course this time.  This was the Fowlmead lucky dip challenge basically you got to select what medal you wanted which were left over from previous events.  I was hoping to finish on a win for the last one.  Unfortunately there was a guy there with fresh legs that on a good day could run sub 3:20.  This was it for me, my legs were definitely feeling it now.  I couldn’t keep up with the leader and previously where I’d usually finish strong towards the end, this time I had nothing.  I still finished in a credible time in 3:25, 2nd place.
I had originally had a target of a sub 3:30 average for all 11. I totally exceeded my expectations finishing on an average of 3:22.
The 11 in 11 challenge brought an end to a very successful marathon running year.  I have completed 52 marathons in 48 weeks including 2 x 11 in 11, 1 x 7 in 7, 1 x 4 in 4 and also a PB of 3:01:53.  It also brings my total to 95 official marathons leaving me 5 to go in my RAF100 marathon challenge.
I hope people reading my story and following me, can take inspiration in what I’m doing.  Through making sacrifices and always giving a 100%, I’ve reach a level in running which I never thought was possible.  Yet, the journey is only just beginning for me.  I’m only going to get better especially now that I’ve joined the Moray road runners ☺
Report by:  Jon Ward

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