Marathon running is becoming increasingly popular with tens of thousands of runners taking part in the London Marathon every year.
In this article, James Skinner, Residential Sales Manager at the Tayler and Fletcher office in Burford, provides his own personal insight having himself completed 24 marathons.
It started in 2002 during my first year as an undergraduate student at Nottingham University when I received a telephone call from my sister in late February, enquiring as to whether I would be interested in representing a charity at the London Marathon, which was due to take place some seven weeks later in April. The very next morning, I bought myself a new pair of running shoes prior to heading to the university gym as I set about putting in the miles before race day. Like most people running their first marathon, I had no idea what I was about to put myself through even though I had a good core level of fitness having done a ski season in the French Alps the year before and having represented my school at cross country some years previously. Sunday, 14th April soon arrived and I completed the 26.2 miles in a time of 3 hours 38 minutes 40 seconds. My lasting memory was just how many runners there were on the start line with it taking a good six miles before one was able to get into their normal running stride, such were the volumes of runners around you. The other memory was turning the corner at Birdcage Walk to enter The Mall with the approach to the finish line with Buckingham Palace providing a very impressive backdrop.
The seed had been sown. With my university days behind me, I decided to take things a little further, signing up to the Dublin Marathon in October 2016. This was the catalyst for me running marathons on an international level, carefully selecting marathons of interest across Europe. Rome and Paris followed in 2007 with the Berlin Marathon in 2008. This is the biggest marathon that I have run in terms of the number of participants with over 40,000 taking part. Running underneath the arches of the Brandenburg Gate was a highlight.
Scandinavia then played a big part with all five countries being conquered, including Reykjavík in Iceland, which has to be one of the more scenic marathon locations. I took things further afield again in 2010, running the New York City Marathon, which took in all five of the city’s boroughs; Staten Island, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx and Manhattan with the finish line in Central Park. Vancouver followed five months later in May 2011. It is a city close to my heart, having lived there for a year in 2003/2004. The course is stunning, encompassing the very heart of the city with the local mountains in the far distance. This provided my personal best (PB) time of 3 hours 21 minutes 53 seconds.
The Geneva Marathon in May 2019 was the latest addition to the list. This was my 24th marathon, which has covered twenty countries across Europe and North America. There are a few more destinations on the list still to be covered but I look back on the marathons completed so far with immense pride and satisfaction, it has been quite an adventure.