Friday 5th February – Thursday 11th February
Distance to Date – 163.97 miles
I’ve been reading a couple of books to help me prepare for this marathon in April and although a decent chunk of them are a little bit from the Steve McLaren transparent forced positivity guide to grinning your way through something that is clearly painful to both watch and participate in, they do have a couple of nuggets in there.  There’s one line which sticks in my head when I’m struggling on my runs ‘Pain is temporary, Achievement is permanent’.  I like that one and when my decision to label every runner who espouses running Vaseline on their bollocks as a porvort returns to haunt me as I run bandy legged up the Nook (not a euphemism) fifteen miles into a seventeen mile run then I envision myself running down the Champs d’Elysee in a few weeks time and not grimacing as my red raw plums hit the bath water with the will sapped out of my system.

Anyway, enough about my testicles.  I managed just under 17 miles on Sunday morning and enjoyed most of it and had a Runner1couple of other lovely runs this week – one four mile run down by the river in Chester-le-Street on my lunch break in the sunshine and another couple of shorter runs round where we live on Wednesday and Thursday evening – I’ve lucked out really with the weather.  Training at this time of year runs the risk that you’re going to have a week or two written off with the weather but it’s not really got in the way at all and it’s been really nice going out on crisp winter evenings for a run.
NUFC have even done the honours and won a game this week, beating West Brom on Saturday and by God, they were abysmal.  Still, we’ll take it where we can get it – mind NUFC make me think of my running mantra, just slightly altered ‘Pain in Permanent, Achievement is temporary’.
Friday 12th February – Thursday 18th February
Distance to Date – 190.16 miles
Everything to this point has ticked along relatively easily – I’ve managed to find the time to squeeze in the runs I need to do, my health and fitness has held up and my commitment hasn’t seriously come under any sort of test but I’m writing this on the weekend after a decent, if not spectacular running week, feeling like shite with a crackers few days at work coming up and really having to dig into my self-motivation to get out for a long run in the morning.  It was never going to be plain sailing like, so I’ll have to get off my arse and get it done.
The week just gone started well with an eleven and a half mile run after work on Friday, taking me absolutely into the heart of enemy territory.  I set off from Cleadon in the sunshine and ran over the bridge and down to the port in Sunderland – from there, I ran a couple of mile through an area that can only be fairly be described as ‘rough as fuck’.  From the Town Moor (like the one in Newcastle, only there are people rather than cows grazing on the grass over here) following the river round the bottom end of Hendon.  I ran past a couple of old boozers (one of my pet interests in these running jaunts) that I could have sworn had been shut for 50 year had a couple of old blokes not come out for a tab a couple of yards in front of me and a couple of ‘interesting’ smells eminating from the houses down there but I strangely enjoyed it.  Glad I didn’t have my NUFC shorts mind, although I might have been giving auld Roger Bannister a run for his money.
In all seriousness though, it’s another area that I’ve run through in the North East over the past few weeks that has years TFBadgeof industrial heritage and is struggling.  Certain areas across the region have always been a bit on the rum side and Hendon would definitely fit in that category but it reminded me of those old black and white photos from the 80’s that have been doing the rounds on social media.
Like a true champagne socialist, however, I finally got back on the drink on the Saturday on a nice night away with the missus – 44 days without a pint.  I enjoyed it mind but once I’d got the first couple of weeks out of the way, I didn’t crave it as much as I thought I would.  I squeezed a six mile run in on the Sunday night, mildly hungover and a decent nine mile jog on Tuesday before having a swim on Wednesday and ending up with the lurgey – sore throat, aching to fuck and feeling sorry for myself.  This is where the mental strength needs to kick in.  Says the man famed for lack of mental strength.
Onwards and upwards and if you do fancy adding to my motivation, my fundraising page is and it’s all for Mind.
Gareth Harrison – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892
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