The anticipation the day before was crazy, I kept looking at the clock and thinking to myself “in 12 hours we will be running a marathon”. It seemed as though it had come round so quickly from a month ago.
I received a phone call on Saturday afternoon that pretty much saved our day. It was from my dad’s friend who has run 4 marathons. He gave me lots of last minute advice but the one that I think made the most difference was when he asked me if I had got lots of ‘Jelly Babies’ to which I said “no why is that”. After he told me why I told the people helping us to make sure we had loads of Jelly Babies and I think if it wasn’t for the extra sugar and calories then I wouldn’t have been able to make it to the end. I went to bed at 9 o’clock that night but I don’t think I got to sleep until at least 1 in the morning.
On the morning of the run I got up at 7 and had some porridge with a banana and then went to put up the finish line and banners around town, thinking that I had loads of time but before I knew it was 10 to 11 and we were on the way up the gym to get warmed up. After spending most of the week worrying more about the preparations, who is going to be on the water tables, who is going to run with us and every thing else, It wasn’t until about 11:45 that I realized what we were about to do and by then it was too late to worry about it.
I was lucky that I had 2 of my good friends cycling with me the whole way. James Janzen ran with Johnny for the first lap and Toby Goodwin joined in to run with him later on. The start of the run went really well and before I knew it I was already at the other end of Long Melford 6 miles in to the course where my friend Lee Barber, who had been training with me, joined the run and as we headed back to Sudbury. My friend’s step-dad joined me as well, but as I came down North Street for the first time my friends didn’t realize I was coming, and unfortunately missed us. So I ended up running a complete lap of the course without seeing anyone, which really got me down.
As I reached about the 12th mile I started to really feel my legs going and thought that it was the start of a hard slog, but as I reached the next water stop there was a large crowd of people, which really cheered me up and pretty soon I had forgotten about my legs and settled into a pace. As I started the last lap another 2 people joined me one of them being my good friend Chelle Allen, and the other one was my dad’s friend who had given me the ‘Jelly Baby’ advice the day before.
The last lap went really quickly and although I was going at a slow pace for the first half, when I passed my fiancée at the water stop near the Bull Hotel she said she nearly cried and wanted to stop me as I looked really weird and drawn out. I soon started to pick up the pace and the closer the end come the quicker I was getting until I got to North Street, where I went into a full sprint and was across the finish line.
A walk around the church helped compose my self as I was very emotional and had to stop myself crying a few times on the home stretch, then I came back to the crowd and gave everyone sweaty hugs. I managed to run the whole way without stopping or walking and I did it in 5 hours 20 minutes which I was very happy with, Jon managed to run the whole first lap which was a great achievement as his ankle hasn’t been great since Christmas, and then he completed the next 2 laps walking and running finishing the course in 6 hours 30 minutes.
It was really great having a nice cold beer that night followed by a day of fried breakfast, cakes and ice cream. I am definitely going to keep up the running and try and stay in shape.
To sum it up for me during the last 8 months:
2 injuries that nearly stopped me
2 stone in weight lost somewhere on the way
2 pairs of running shoes
2 tubs of protein shake
64 hours of running
350 miles ran
2 packets of life saving Jelly Babies
And £3,800 raised so far
For me, that’s worth every minute.
Ash Watts – Marathon Runner
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Watch our promo video below for more information about this year’s LeeStock
Tickets for LeeStock are already selling well and can be bought online, at the White Horse in North Street, Sudbury and from Sudbury’s Tourist Information Office.
At just £20, you won’t get a better value day out this Summer!