• Barry Gerhold

Phoenix Riverside Marathon - 19th Nov 2017

Heading into this marathon event, I had a fair bit of anxiety. I have recently been dealing with an ankle injury, which has caused me issues since 7th September. This injury has prevented me from training as much as I’d like.

On the 1st October, I managed to get through an event, but since then the pain has not dissipated. Usually I’d run 60-70 miles in a week, so I would have run approximately 400 miles leading up to this event, but since 1st October, I had run about 50. All sorts of thoughts entered into my mind: Can my body not handle the mileage required to do these distances? Do I have to give up on most of my running goals?

Preparation for this event was not the best. The only reason I was running it at all is because it is part of a 4 race series and this was the third in that series.

So, I set myself some goals:

Goal A: Finish the marathon.

Goal B: Finish it injury free.

Goal C: Finish in under 4hrs.

I didn’t hold out much hope for the latter due to the lack of training, but if I finished the event pain-free, then I’d be a happy boy.

The course is made up of 4 out and back laps, each 10.5km. I set off at what felt like a lovely, gentle, relaxed pace and was surprised to see my running watch alert me that my first mile split was 8:29. It felt more like a 9:30, so this was a good start. The miles continued in that manner and I maintained the pace.

Around the 7 miles mark, I could feel a slight twinge coming from the ankle and I feared that the pain would gradually worsen, as it tends to do. However, this didn’t happen. The “twinge” remained for a couple more miles, but then seemed to disappear.

The pace during that phase did not drop and I continued to feel quite comfortable until the 19 mile mark. As I entered the last lap, I became quite excited. I had experienced many runners passing me whilst I had held myself back and I felt that I could now up the tempo a little and see who I could catch. I upped the pace to around 8min/mile and swiftly overtook a number of runners, which felt great.

It felt great until mile 24. At mile 24, my legs began to tire. It seems I was getting a little cocky and should have held back this elevated pace until the last 5k instead. You never know if you don’t try these things, right? I managed to keep on running although my pace had now dropped towards 9min/mile.

I crossed the finish line in 3hrs 45mins 13seconds and am absolutely astonished that I was able to complete it in such a time, all things considered.

The days after this event, the ankle was quite painful… I hope it is nothing to worry about?

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