Saturday, 25 April 2015

Target #asics262 finale

After 5 months the journey is finally over for the asics target 26.2 final 5 runners. Their triumphant finish to the Paris Marathon marking the end of Runnersworld's Asics target 262 project that I was fortunate to be involved with in a very small way.

You will have seen me make reference to it in previous blog posts and you may well have read my review of the bootcamp day as it is one of my most popular posts.

To anyone that doesn't know the asics262 is a once in a lifetime, money can't buy competition to win supported training towards and entry into the 2015 Paris Marathon

Over 3000 applicants entered and I was fortunate enough to be selected as 1 of 50 bootcampers for the first selection stage.

The final 5 were eventually selected in December 2014 and have been busy training hard with the support of the asics and Runnersworlds teams towards their target aims for the marathon.

The Paris marathon has just passed and after several ups and downs through the training period all 5 runners successfully completed the marathon in grueling conditions under the hot and sweaty French springtime sun.

I won't steal their thunder, I will let them tell their own story which you can read on the website here

It has been a great journey to be part of in my small way, to have met these intrepid runners at bootcamp and then to have followed their journeys and interacted with them on social media. It has been brilliant supporting and gaining support from the other bootcampers and the wider running community that have followed the competition.

Thank you to the final 5

Being part of the whole experience has been inspiring and motivating following the journies and stories on the way to Paris. Many of the forum posts and social media messages following Paris from the asics 5 have been messages of thanks to all who have supported them so I thought it was only right that I in turn thanked the asics 5 for the motivation they have provided to me and other through their training not to mention the time and dedication provided to updating their forums and responding to messages on other platforms.

Tony - first time marathoner and aiming for a sub4 marathon

I will be honest and say I haven't fully followed all the other threads apart from Tony who was part of my group at bootcamp and I therefore had more of an association with. I did try to keep pace (running pun intended!) with his thread as he made his debut attempt at the marathon distance.

Right from the bootcamp stage I was really drawn to Tony's sponge like quality of being so receptive and being so eager to absorb all the knowledge and expertise on offer. I found his story really motivating and refreshing as Tony developed through his training while eloquently sharing his experiences and knowledge gained with his enthusiastic band of supporters on his thread. His challenge of aiming for a sub4 hour marathon in his first attempt took a great deal of courage as he could have quite easily relaxed and just focused on finishing, but the fact he pushed himself towards an ambitious target made his story a must to follow.

I valued reflecting on Tony's realistaion after running his first marathon that a marathon isn't this insurmountably distance that is impossible to conquer but an achievable target for every runner that prepares and trains properly. 

Tim aka Superman, sub 3.30 target

A story of ups and downs, Tim pushing himself to new levels and recovering from shattering lows. As an experienced runner I was inspired by your high standards and your gritty determination to overcome adversity. Some of your posts have been wise beyond your years and  I have appreciated your motivational wisdom and clear insight into pushing yourself to your high standards.

I look forward to following your surely successful attempt at a 3.15 marathon in the near future.

Amy the pocket rocket speedster, sub 4 target

Amy's youthful exuberance, positive attitude and pace to burn literally blew me away at the bootcamp as part of the 5K time trial and she maintained this through her training and into the marathon. 

Well done on turning your short distance speed into a brilliant marathon finishing time.

Tom sub 3 hour target

Wow, I will be honest and say I struggle to comprehend running a marathon in this time and so didn't follow the thread that much as felt it was so far out of my league. From what I have read I was impressed again with the high standards you set yourself and your desire to achieve nothing but excellence. Your finishing time was still phenomenal and an immensely proud achievement.

Andrea sub 4.30 target

With keeping up with some of the other threads I unfortunately didn't get much opportunity to interact with Andrea's thread but I have enjoyed seeing tweets of your progress. A deserved finalist as it was clear to see the happiness and joy being part of the competition has brought you, again a well deserved finishing time and I wish you all the best for your marathons to come.

Thank you to all five of you for sharing your time and your experiences with us, I feel privileged to have followed your stories and wish you all every success in the future.

So what for me?

After missing out on the final five I initially decided that I would have my sub4 marathon attempt at the Halstead marathon in early May. As you have probably gathered this didn't materialise due to a combination of injury niggles, moving flat and starting a new job keeping me pretty occupied for most of the first quarter of 2015.

Its just been unfortunate that circumstances haven't allowed me to capitalise on my involvement with this competition but that's just the way it goes, life doesn't always work out that way. 

I will be honest and say I am so disappointed to have not followed the asics 262 journey by actually running a spring marathon but last Sunday morning as the Paris marathon was progressing I had nothing but excitement as I waited for the results to come through.

I was a mixture of nervous energy waiting to see how the Asics 5 had done as well as waiting to hear about other bootcampers and the progress of several other Twitter friends.

Following the other asics spring marathon in Manchester was also a great experience as at least three members of my sub4 hour group achieved a sub4 marathon, (awesome runs Angela, Matt and Craig) to go along with Amy and Tony's sub4 runs in Paris which was coupled with a sub4 run from another runner from the groups Chris. 

The year ahead

But for now I am planning some marathons for the autumn and it looks like I might repeat my three marathons in three months from last year but with different marathons this year hopefully picking more PB friendly courses.

In terms of asics 262 I am saddened as I know the ship has sailed for me, witnessing the journey of this years runners only made me want the experience more. realistically though I know I will not get another chance to be selected. If I run sub4 in the autumn I obviously wouldn't be selected in my sub4 category and would be so far off running a 3.30 for that to be a possibility. Having come close to running sub4 and being hopeful of at least getting close again this autumn I can't see why I would then get selected again for the sub4 category again anyway. 

I have still learnt a lot and benefited so much from the experience I have had, I am very grateful to asics for the chance of being part of the process and to all the other runners for sharing, supporting and just being awesome! 

My final thought is reflecting on something that Tim has touched upon on his thread about the idea that 'History is not destiny' and that to change the outcome of a marathon from what you have achieved in the past you need to train differently and act differently.