Friday, 12 June 2009

365challenge at the Edinburgh Marathon ...

I know it was nearly two weeks ago, but I've only just had details through on this "breaking news" story!

So ... let's hear it for Anouska Watkins, one of the first of my 365ers, who, on Sunday May 31st, one of the hottest days of the year so far, completed the Edinburgh Marathon. You can read about Anouska's 365challenge on her website here: Anouska's 365challenge.

The Edinburgh marathon was really tough in the blistering heat, especially when they ran out of water after mile 15 until mile 23 - 5000 people didn't finish! (read the BBC website story here). Anouska tells stories of having to pick empty water bottles up off the ground and then queue with other runners at public conveniences to try to fill them around the mile 20 mark.The organisers need to take a very serious look at themselves after that fiasco.

UPDATE: Anouska has just emailed me to tell me that the organisers of the marathon emailed her to tell her that the water shortage was due ... to THEFT! And that it wasn't that 5000 dropped out, but that 5000 (of the 13000 expected) didn't start!

Anouska tells me that she was kept going though by the thought of her family waiting at the 24 mile marker to cheer her on, and given the conditions and an ankle injury that threatened to put her off the road altogether, her finish time for her first marathon of 4 hrs 53mins wasn't too shabby at all, especially when, as Anouska said "there were so many people passed out on the side of the road with heat exhaustion, it was scary".

Truly, I am impressed Anouska, that was some feat. And even more impressed that you had the wherewithal to make sure that you had a photo taken with your medal in the 365challenge t-shirt ... a true star, cheers!

That was, as I say, Anouska's first full marathon, but since she started her 365challenge year on November 2nd 2008, she has completed the marathon distance 16 times (she was only aiming for 12 over the year!). Wonderful effort.

But she's not finished there, folks, as the next part of her 365challenge is to take on the Lands End to John O'Groats cycle ride - in the flesh - later this summer, joining a friend who was planning to do it, so she just thought she might join in too! She's off over the coming couple of weekends for training rides around Leeds and Abergavenny (lots of hills!).

Add to that the fact that she's a quarter of the way down the River Dee on the other part of her 365challenge, and you'll begin to understand that Anouska is truly dedicated to this cause, which she took on in memory of her friend Debbie, who lost her battle with cancer at the too young age of 27, in 2006, and who would have celebrated her 30th birthday this year, alongside Anouska.

Anouska's dedication has also lead her to be the star in the 365challenge fund-raising crown too, with her total so far sitting at a whopping £8782, even better than me!! She's always happy to have more support, of course, so if you can, drop along to her Just Giving page and give her another boost!

Fantastic effort, Anouska. I hope to catch up with you soon to say well done as well as a big thank you too. Cheers!

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