Date: 15th September 2013 and 14th - 18th August 2016
Location: The Essex Way & 2012 Olympic route
Rules: The marathon is raced over 26.2 miles on a street course. The athlete to complete the course in the fastest time wins.
Sarah: When we started this challenge, I thought it would be easy to find time within the four years to train and run a marathon. Alas, life, work and the little matter of 113 other events got in the way and after two operations on my leg last year, I had to accept it wasn't going to happen. Luckily back in 2013, one year after Rio, I went mad and decided to walk 26.2 miles one day. I'd had it in mind to do for a while, so got up early one morning and dragging Greg along with me, headed to the Essex Way. The route runs 82 miles from Epping to Harwich, and I drew up a 26.2 mile section from Aldham to Harwich. Things started really well. In fact for the first 13 miles everything was going smoothly and we were really enjoying it, making excellent time! We'd had a couple of hiccups with wrong directions but quickly righted our paths. Then the erratic signposts disappeared completely, our map-reading let us down and we found ourselves on a five mile detour. With perfect timing, the rain started pouring, the aches set in and our spirits sank. Luckily I'd borrowed a Garmain watch, so I could keep track of the distance or I would have had no idea how far we'd traveled! We finally got back on track, soaking wet and just wanted to get the damn thing finished. There were a couple more unintentional detours, but we eventually got to the imaginary finish line. With all the detours, we didn't make it to Harwich, and actually finished in Mistley. It was certainly an experience, and I was more than a little hobbly the next day. I still hope that one day I might run a marathon...maybe the training will be more realistic to fit in without the other 113 events!
Ellie: I always knew that to run or to walk the marathon in one go would be far beyond my capabilities. After the Race Walk I found it difficult to walk for a week so I knew I had to modify my approach for this event so that the same didn't happen again. I chose to walk the 2012 marathon route, which is really picturesque, over 5 consecutive days. It was a lot more manageable than I expected and although not something I'd want to do regularly, it was a really nice way to see the city and get a bit of 'fresh' air and exercise. It is also so inexpensive as exercise and sightseeing goes! Above is my silly face - one mugshot for every mile - including some helpful walkers along the way - Elaine and John, Wellington, Justice and the Queen Mother to name but a few!