6: Liverpool

After two amazing months travelling in between Canberra marathon in April and the Borneo marathon in May, I returned back home to England from Borneo on 25th May. I had a great time away, visiting some incredible places in Australia, Bali, Singapore and Borneo.

I had arranged to meet Emma (one of my girls from uni) in Borneo after completing the gruelling Borneo marathon. We had planned a two week tour of Borneo which included orangutan spotting, snorkelling with turtles, singing Beyonce to a bar full of Malaysian locals and climbing South East Asia’s highest mountain- the beastly Mount Kinabalu (not to be confused with Mount Kilimanjaro… which I definitely did on more than one occasion… Kilimanjaro is definitely not in Asia and was definitely not on our itinerary…)

The trip turned out to be a great one and we had a good laugh with the brilliant people we met along the way. In the words of our tour leader there were “directly” “no problems” with the “intrepid group”…

Emma is one part of a jigsaw of friends I made at uni. We all lived in Brighton for the five years we studied there, but when we graduated we all scattered to different parts of the country, so I don’t see them as much as I would like to anymore. It was great getting to spend two weeks with Emma AKA the effortlessly brainy and uber organised one in our friendship group who is simultaneously witty, sarcastic, stylish and most importantly loves a G&T (or ten).

I said goodbye to Emma and left Borneo on 24th May and got home on Thursday 25th May. It was then a bit of a manic few days, as marathon number 6 was just three days later in Liverpool on Sunday 28th May.

For the home leg of my marathon mission I was so pleased to have a little squad of cheerleaders who were coming along to cheer me on – my Mum, Dad and boyfriend Jake were being joined by Amy, Josh, Blondie and Paul, some of the others from the uni gang.  And although not at the race itself me and Rosie were together in spirit as she was running a race of her own that day and would be meeting us for celebratory drinks that evening.)

I knew this run was going to be tough after spending the previous two months away eating and drinking too much and doing very little training. I was definitely not on top form, but was hoping to finish in under 4 hours.

As I mentioned, when in Borneo we climbed Mount Kinabalu. Mount Kinabalu is 4095m high – in context this is FOUR TIMES higher than Mount Snowdon (which measures just over 1000m) and just 1000m lower than Mount Everest base camp (which measures 5150 metres). I’m telling you this because as usual I wasn’t really prepared for how cold and wet it would be as we neared the top of the mountain. As our group climbed up, the rain poured down, soaking me and my trainers to our soles. Despite my efforts to salvage my trainers and keep my toes warm, dry and free from frostbite by wrapping my feet in plastic carrier bags inside my shoes (#stylequeen), my trainers got too wrecked climbing the mountain to survive the journey home. This meant I was forced to make the rookie mistake of running a marathon in a brand new pair of trainers… and my feet did not thank me for it.

For the first 10 miles as I ran through the city streets, passing Anfield and Goodison Park football stadiums I was feeling smug and thought I had got away with it. At mile 11 as I ran along by the Albert Dock I saw my cheer squad at the side of the road -I hadn’t seen Amy, Josh, Paul or Blondie for over six months, so I was so excited to see their faces, even if it was for the briefest moment.

Between miles 12 and 20 I could feel blisters forming and I really started to struggle, however the promise of a prosecco filled evening kept me going.

As I ran the final few miles along the COBBLED Liverpool water front I was in agony. I felt every cobble beneath my feet and it was absolute agony! For the final mile I tried to forget about the pain and ran as fast as my little blistered feet could carry me – knowing my cheerleaders would be waiting near the finish line spurred me forward. I crossed the line in a time of 3:54:54 – a long way off my fastest time, but I was happy to have completed the fairly hilly course in under 4 hours. The first thing I did when I crossed the line was rip off my trainers to see the damage done to my poor feet- I have honestly never seen blisters like it and my feet didn’t heal for nearly a month after!!!

The marathon took place just six days after the bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester. People all over the country were horrified when they heard news of the attack and were fearful that a further attack would follow. I read a newspaper article the day before the race saying a Liverpool fan would be running the marathon in a Manchester United shirt. Coming from a family where half support Liverpool and half support Manchester United, I understood the rivalry between the teams and therefore appreciated how significant this act of respect was! What I saw on race day however was even more touching – there was a young guy at the start line who had custom made a shirt by sewing half a Manchester United and half a Manchester City shirt together. Although it was just a small gesture, to me it signified a nation forgetting about rivalry and hate and coming together to support one another.

In the words of the famous Liverpool FC song, “You’ll never walk (or run) alone”.

Liverpool marathon: 3 hours 54 minutes

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