Belgrade Marathon Day – 22 April 2017 – before the event

Belgrade Marathon Day – 22 April 2017 – before the event

It’s on next week, the 30th edition of the Belgrade Marathon.
Belgrade Marathon 30th logo
My family will be taking part in the 5 km Fun Run, supporting BELhospice.

Below is a video, from photos along the route I took for the 2015 event; the route for this event is still the same.

I’ll be running the half-marathon, 10 years since I last ran it. There is a new route this year for the half and full marathons. Below is the map from last year (as it was in 2007) and the route for 2017 – can you see the differences? Just, perhaps, yet from the Marathon HQ you would think this was an amazing new route!
Old Belgrade marathon route

Old Belgrade Full/Half Marathon route

2017 Belgrade Marathon route

2017 Belgrade Full/Half Marathon route

Anyway I am hoping for a reasonable time. This will be my fourth half marathon this year, following on from Palić (4 March), Kruševac (26 March) and Bratislava (1 April). In each of those races I finished either in 1 hour 34 or 1 hour 35 minutes, which for me is excellent.

Let’s just hope the weather is good. Last year it was boiling hot, and the year before cold and pouring with rain.

Start times are 10:00 am for the full/half marathon, and then about 10 minutes after for the 5 km Fun Run.

And the following day I plan to rest and watch the London Marathon, live on Eurosport 🙂

Firelighter – charity run in 2017

Having passed my target of 1200 km in 2016, for me the main target is to continue to run, and more importantly to enjoy the running. My target for 2017 is 1500 (recorded) km.

At the same time, I still, very personally, appreciate the fact that I can enjoy my running, many can’t. Therefore, I have set myself a challenge for 2017; finish my first ultramarathon, via the Firelighter event on 1 September 2017. This will also be the focus of my charity fundraising for 2017, to try and raise funds to benefit bowel/colon cancer charities via a challenging first for me.

So why the Firelighter?

Well, it’s unfinished business for me. The Firelighter is (for the first time in its own right) the first day of the Ring O’ Fire 3-day race. I tried this a couple of years ago, but it was beyond me at that time. That story, my attempt then, I posted here.

The basic details are:

Firelighter overview

The organisers of the event have Bowel Cancer UK as an official race charity; they feel supporting it is something worthwhile.

bowelcanceruk

It is a great race, well organised, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience last time. This time, with the Firelighter as a new event, I intend to ensure my training (and arriving in North Wales in time) means I will complete the event 🙂

This is an ultramarathon along the coast of Anglesey with many undulations/surfaces of over 57 km (with a lowered time limit of 10 hours now, it was 11 hours before) –  it’s a major challenge!

Therefore, I’m going to try something I haven’t yet achieved, at the age of 48; of running in a race further than my age (in km)!

Why, because I believe I can, and more importantly appreciate that I can.

Please do support me in this challenge, by donating online via my new JustGiving page. If you are in Belgrade and don’t want to donate online please get in touch and if you give me cash I will donate that amount online on your behalf. There will be some fundraising events in 2017, in Belgrade, I just have to get them planned (ideas welcome!)

All monies raised from individuals will go to charity. If a company wishes to cover some/all of my expenses (flights/train/accommodation/kit etc) then fantastic, but no money raised from individuals will be used to cover this.

Please support my efforts, they will benefit others who need support. I’ve been there and know first-hand what the impact is, which is why I want to support charities helping others/research into a cure for all – it really is not a nice thing to go through.

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

PS If you fancy joining me in the first ever running of this specific race, the Facebook event is at – https://www.facebook.com/events/308294206236982/ then formally join via the SignUp form 😉

50 Day Streak

When?

Start: 26 December 2016
Finish: 13 February 2017

What?

I am trying something new with my running – a 50 day streak. One where I do keep my clothes on 🙂

So a streak is?

For me, running a minimum of 5 km, every day, for 50 consecutive days.

Why?

My first race, a half-marathon, is on 4 March in Palić, with a few more over subsequent months, and a focus on the Firelighter ultra (for charity) planned on 1 September (see below results for sponsorship link). So I thought I would try something new with my training as I still have time to change to fit in more with the races.

Results (to be updated over the weeks)?

Week 1, completed, days 1-7, 26 Dec 2016 – 1 Jan 2017:

week1of50-5

Week 2, completed, days 8-14, 2 Jan – 8 Jan :

week2of50-5

Week 3, completed, days 15-21, 9 Jan – 15 Jan:

week3of50-5

Week 4, completed, days 22-28, 16 Jan – 22 Jan:

week4of50-5

Week 5, completed, days 29-35, 23 Jan – 29 Jan:

week5of50-5

Week 6, completed, days 36-42, 30 Jan – 5 Feb:

week6of50-5

Week 7, completed, days 43-49, 6 Feb – 12 Feb:

week7of50-5

Week 8, completed, day 50 (13 Feb):

week8of50-5I ran the 5.3 km with my 12 year old son on Day 50*5, then continued to run each day and the last day of the week was the 50th day of 2017.

Stopped my streak on Day 60 (see picture below) – just fancied a rest; so took Friday and Saturday off.
Then ran 12 km in exactly one hour on Sunday (with 191 m of elevation).

week9of50-5

I’ll do another streak, some time, some distance as it was good fun 🙂

My next charity race – please support Bowel Cancer UK via the link below:

JustGiving(https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rof2)

Running – 2016

Running – 2016

Happy New Year – Срећна Нова година

These are the races that I took part in during 2016, starting in Palić around the lake, and ending running around a horse racing track in Belgrade!

Since starting running again in September 2014, upon completion of my chemotherapy and after a gap of seven years, in 2016 I ran more than in any other year. This was even with gaps in my training for sickness/work/personal commitments. The total I ran can be seen at the bottom of this post; I did run further than my target 🙂

Palić Half Marathon – 5 March 2016

We had a lovely family holiday in Palić (as always), and whilst it was a bit on the day of the race the setting was lovely. 3 laps of a course taking in a lot of the lake. Best part was that my 11 year old son ran the 5 km race (lap 1) with me achieving an excellent time of 26:23. I ran the race in 1:42:16 which I was very happy with 🙂

Palic event picture

 

2. Spring Rolls (8 km) – 20 March 2016

My 11 year old son joined me for this run too. We ran alongside the Sava river, in very muddy conditions on a 2 lap course. Great fun, with the bonus of it being a run for charity so others benefitted from us taking part.

sr-logo

 

Belgrade Marathon – 16 April 2016

Entered the full marathon, but having run the first half in just under 2 hours was not feeling well and at around 24 km pulled up, was sick in the bushes and walked home. So a DNF for me; such is life. A very hot day and I just did not feel that it worked for me. Always next year, the 30th running of the event (though think I’ll stick to the half)…

bgd-marathon-logo

 

Wings For Life (vs. car) – 8 May 2016

This is a novel idea, everyone starts running, and then after half an hour either a real or virtual car starts after you. It starts slowly, then starts to speed up the further you go. As there was no actual race in Belgrade I was running against a virtual car using an app on my phone. Bit of trouble with the app, it worked on my phone, but not my son’s, meaning we spent the first few minutes trying to resolve the problem (the race starts at the same time throughout the world, 13:00 CET) rather than running. Managed 18.9 km of my 21.1 km target before the virtual car caught me, he managed 11.5 km.wfl-logo

 

Sombor Half Marathon – 15 May 2016

Long day this one, caught bus at 05:30 on a chilly, light rainy day. The bus stopped at Novi Sad, before arriving in Sombor. However, the race itself was great in that I managed to keep going well after 16 km, instead of slowing down, helped by the very flat nature of the race (zero m elevation!). As such I finished the race in 1:40:13, my best time since completing the chemotherapy.

37logo

 

Novi Sad Night Half Marathon – 25 June 2016

Second consecutive year I’ve run this half marathon. Start at 21:45 in very hot and humid conditions with 3 laps. Each lap is half on road surface, half on running track surface. Still have no idea how to run this race, and whilst it is a great event I still don’t seem to do well in running it; as my time of 2:04 shows. But still plan to do it again…

ns-logo

 

Rakovica Half Marathon – 2 July 2016

A lovely run around Rakovica, on the outskirts of Belgrade, ending up (after going up a hill at the end of the race) at the monastery. Again, due to it being summer, the race was in the evening. A slow race as I went out of my way to run slowly after Novi Sad and enjoy the evening. Still very enjoyable, but with a finish time of 2:09 there is room for improvement next year!event-pic

 

Bath Long Half Marathon – 24 July 2016

Hilly, hilly, and even more hilly! 25.5 km (a long half-marathon!), with 650 m of elevation, mostly up small forest tracks as this was for a large part a trail race. Hence a finish time of 2:53 which I was happy with. Great to do a run back in the UK, and as we had a weekend away in Bath managed to be a tourist as well. Part of a series of races organised by Relish Running Races, well organised, with what has to be the friendliest marshals of all the races I’ve run this year.

brr-logo

 

Gloucester Marathon – 7 August 2016

So pleased to make it to the inaugural Gloucester Marathon – my home city. A lovely flat race they said, going through the city and then out into the countryside. All true, except for one huge hill just two thirds of the way through! Though this was 42.2 km with 66 m of climbing (compare that to the Bath race). First half in 1:50 but then found it tough and finished in 4:29 (walked some of the second half!) Still better time than previous marathons, Belgrade earlier on in the year and London 2015 so have to be happy with the result.

gcm-logo

 

Hvar Half Marathon – 20 August 2016

Holiday time – great place to have a family holiday; on a beautiful island off the coast of Croatia. We went with the excellent specialist running travel company, Active Traveling, so everything was organised for us. At the end of a lovely week the race took place. This is a straight up, then straight down race – 571 m up and quiet a bit down. Very tiring, but the views are worth it – fantastic views on a very hot afternoon. Finished in 2:08.hvar-logo

 

We Run Belgrade (10 km) – 4 September 2016

A run around Belgrade, from Ušće park, though to the centre and back again. The race was free (probably why only half those registered actually race the race), and with several thousand taking part it was a great event to run in. Many of those running it was clear had not done much running; why my time of 47:24 put me in the top 20% of times. As I finished in the same time as my age it was a good race for me.

wrb-logo

 

3 Carrots Irish Pub Half Marathon (!) –  28 September 2016

My charity race for the year – running a half marathon in a pub. The full story is on a previous blog post – https://neil4bc.wordpress.com/2016/10/10/belgrade-record-achieved/

launch1

 

Coca-Cola Fun Run (5 km) – 15 October 2016

A 5 km race around Ušće park. I ran the race with my eleven year old son, and it was great that there were also some other parents/friends running with their children. We ran fast and hard (sprinting the last 100 m) to cross the line in 26.3 (5.2 km), therefore just a touch over 25 minutes for 5 km. So well done to us both 🙂

cc-logo

 

Plavi Krug Oke Ade – 13 November 2016

Cold, cold, no not cold but freezing – what a morning to do a marathon for the benefit of charity. Running around a lake with a bitterly cold wind coming off it, in a sub-zero temperature was never going to be fun. After 26.8 km (3.5 laps) of the lake I called it a day. Good point was 2 of these laps where the fastest I have run around Ada Ciganlija; I ran the first 21.1 km (half-marathon) in 1:53.

Plavi Krug oko Ade

 

Only Fools and Horses (5 km) – 4 December 2016

A fun 5 lap ~5 km run for charity around the Belgrade Hipodrom (horse race track) with my eleven year old son. e had a great time, and I enjoyed pushing him to do well in this race, with a time of 25:32 for 4.9 km. My six year old son, not to be outdone, also did one lap. The two youngest enjoyed their ride on the horses too!

Only Fools and Horses

Pictures from all the events are on my Facebook page – facebook.com/neil4bc – do pay it a visit and Like the Page if you haven’t already.

And that was my running (races) for 2016.

Over the year I managed to reach my target of 1200 km, officially recording, on my Strava account, 1234.5 km.

Total km in 2016

Roll on 2017, lots more (charity) races planned, and targets to aim for (posts to follow showing the what/why/when)…

So once again Happy New Year – Срећна Нова година 🙂

Life, and running goes on…

It’s 2016, and I haven’t updated this blog for quite a while, so here’s an update…

After the fun of the Ring O’Fire I took a break from running, and then I took a break from Facebook for a  couple of months, and in doing so I really took a break from society. Work continued, as did family life, but what with all the running, the charity activities and the post-cancer life I needed a break from things. I achieved so much last year, in terms of my fitness through running and enjoyment of the races, but also in terms of the money raised for charity with the help and support of so many people. This was all part of my personal recovery from the previous year in hospital.

Then during the Christmas break I decided I needed to start running again as I was missing it, and so with heavy snow on the ground I ran through the local forest on January 3 (having run there the day before with no snow). After a just over an hour long run I returned home to be asked by my wife how many other runners I had seen on this popular route. “None” I said, “That’s because they’ve more sense when its sub-zero with a strong wind, and there is thick snow on the ground” she replied! It was great to be out running and as I enjoyed it I went out a few more times that week, e.g. Snow Run 2.

However, for me to continue to run I need targets, many people don’t but I need to have something to aim for, so I signed up for four races, 2 half-marathons and 2 marathons; well if you are going to have targets make them achievable but tough!

The first race will be in Palić on 5 March:

Palic polumaraton

The second race is the Belgrade Marathon. I ran the half-marathon in 2007, and both want to try the whole marathon as well as support a friend who wants to run her first marathon.

bgmaraton-logoBelgrade Marathon route

As I plan to be back in England this summer for a proper holiday (not the fleeting 3 day for an event visits I had last year) two races appealed to me. The first is a tough half-marathon around Bath on 24 July:

bath-hm1

and the second the Gloucester Marathon on 7 August. Back in my home city I will benefit from having family and friends there to support me.

Gloucester Marathon route

Gloucestere Marathon finisher t-shirts

The charity work, using the neil4bc/Charity Runner Neil I have now put on hold, though it could be revived. I have a new role as Chairman of the British Society of Serbia (BSS), within which we will be having our own charity events as well as supporting and promoting other charity events. One such event, organised by the Belgrade Lions Club is on this Sunday (31 January), a Burns Night event. So there is still a lot going on involving charities, just not with myself being the focal point. I do only have one running vest though, from Bowel Cancer UK so, weather permitting (it rained at the Belgrade Marathon and Palić half-marathon last year) then I will be visibly wearing it.

And that’s the update thus far…thanks for reading 🙂

Thank you London

I did it, I made it, I got around the London Marathon on 26 April 🙂

The year before I was undergoing chemotherapy, and when I crossed the finish line and then for the hour or so afterwards it was very emotional. It hit me harder than I had imagined that the silly idea I had had whilst lying in a hospital bed unable to feel one of my arms due to the drugs I was receiving, had actually come to fruition. Forget the time (just over 5 hours, slowest ever by a long way), this wasn’t about that, but just getting to the finish line, and having the medal around my neck. Also, and just as important, is the fact that we have raised over £4,100 for bowel cancer charities.
with London Marathon medal
Thanks also to the team at Bowel Cancer UK for looking after me when I finished. I really needed the cups of tea, slabs of cake and the four-hands massage!

I now have the t-shirt as well to show I finished it:
Finshers t-shirt

But time moves on, and the desire to continue running, both for my own benefit, but also to use something that (most times) I enjoy to help others is still with me.

To this end I have entered, at the end of June a half-marathon, and along with some friends, around the lovely city of Novi Sad, at night. This one is just for me, so that I know I can still get around 21 km, and hopefully improve on my post-cancer best time of 1 hour 47 minutes.
6nm_baner_600x240_eng

Before this though I have more medical tests at the end of May, I hope they too will come back as clear so it stays post-cancer!

I also have another charity run planned in September, but this event in Anglesey is SO BIG it deserves its own post…

 

800 km up

800 km – this is the recorded distance I have run since my chemotherapy finished last September, as training for the London Marathon​ which takes place in exactly one week’s time.

800km-running

Please support my charity efforts,
£8 / €8 / $8 / 800 RSD for the 800 km would be fantastic 🙂

http://justgiving.com/neil4bc
http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/neil4bc
or (if in UK) text BOCA99 £8 to 70070

All monies raised go to help bowel cancer charities in the UK, Serbia and across Europe.

A