Friday 19th February – Thursday 25th February
Distance to Date – 207.52 miles
Up to this week, I’ve pretty much breezed through the training: nee injuries, nee illness and just about the time to get out for some decent length runs but this week has been a right old test.  For starters, I felt like shite at the beginning of the week and had to drag myself out for a six and a half mile run on Sunday night – head stotting, sweat pouring, nose running, lungs aching.  It’s all character building I suppose and I bumped into a mate who is a ‘proper’ athlete en route – this is a kid that has done the GNR in an hour and half in a chicken costume but it was good to see him and having not seen him for a while, he knew about the 1000 mile thing and was really encouraging, which gave me a massive kick and kept me wheezing along to home.
Travel was the other major challenge in the week as I was away with work a lot.  I managed to squeeze a late night four Runner2and a half mile run on the Monday night when I could barely see one foot in front of the other before a gap between my meetings gave me the chance to go for a lush six mile run on my lunch hour through a trip down memory lane from my ‘yoot’ – down from Meadowfield, through Brandon and Brancepeth and back.  Love Durham me, like.  I’ve lived all over the place since I left home at 18, at home and abroad but whenever I get the chance to run around Durham and the villages, I always feel at home – it’s funny how small a place the North East is aswell, there’s barely a village around Durham where I don’t know a Mag or two, some of whom you might only bump into once every few year at a random away match.
I know a lad that did his dissertation at University on the composition of each of the villages within a ten mile radius of Durham City, with differences in accent and the ratio of Mags to Mackems in each conurbation being the main theme (honestly) and it was one of the most fascinating things I ever read – I love owt like that me and even now when I pass through places like Brandon, I immediately think ’50/50’ while a mile down the road I was in Brancepeth (70/30 them to us if you were wondering).  Parochialism – great innit.  Come to think of it, he might have just made the whole thing up – he was a Hartlepool fan so had no reason to be biased but how the fuck would a tutor in a southern university ever have been able to verify his findings?  Got a first he did aswell.
Anyway, I’m completely off topic again but the upshot is, I’m still on target for the 1,000 mile but I need to get my arse in gear over the next month to get myself set for this marathon.  Wish me luck!
Friday 26th February – Thursday 3rd March
Distance to Date – 239.11 miles
After struggling a bit last week with time, motivation and fitness, this week started markedly better with a 16 and a half Mind-logo
mile run, following a similar route to the one I was mentioning the other week following the river/sea from Cleadon all the way along to Ryhope and then back through Sunderland on Friday night – proper Mackem territory.  I ran through Grangetown on the way and there’s a massive mural of Raich Carter on the old Blue House pub down there, to be fair it looks really good.  I remember my granddad, a bloke I idolised and who was the staunchest black and white you would ever meet, telling me that the only Sunderland player he ever rated was Raich Carter.  I’m sure that the crack about people going to Sunderland one week and Newcastle the next back in the pre-war years must have been true but it certainly wasn’t in the case of Ronnie Sr. who was born and bred in Easington Village, not the only Mag in the village at the time but not far off it.  He never ‘hated’ them but other than that comment about Raich Carter, I can’t remember him ever saying anything nice about them either.  He’d be turning in his grave if he could see United in 2016 – I miss him and it’s funny how daft little things like seeing a 30 foot high painting of a player from a rival team can trigger thoughts of loved ones gone but I thought about the time I spent with him as a bairn and the run went by fairly comfortably – I badly need to up the length of my run next weekend mind.
The week also included a rare morning outing as I managed to drag arse out of bed on Monday morning for a four and a half mile run on a beautiful frosty morning.  I sometimes have to set off early for work and see folk out at half five in the morning in the pitch black in the middle of winter and wonder how they do it and there is no doubt that the first half mile is absolutely hideous but once I got going it was great.  There was nowt spectacular for the rest of the week – a four and a bit mile run after graft on Wednesday and a ‘refreshing’ six and half mile run in the sleet down the coast on Thursday which I enjoyed in a bleak sort of way but I feel better for doing some ‘proper’ miles this week and nowt’s packed in on me yet.
It would be fantastic if you could spare a quid or two for the challenge, albeit an admittedly middling challenge, it’s all for Mind and you can find the JustGiving page
Gareth Harrison – Follow Gareth on @truefaith1892
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