30 Oct

A long way to run: the obsessive days of a marathon runner

Martin Thomerson in the mountains

In our days of print, runABC magazine carried a review of Martin Thomerson's ‘It Kept Me off the Streets’. Now Martin is back with the sequel to his original tale of a runner’s journey to an unsuccessful attempt at Europe’s biggest trail race, the UTMB.

‘A Long Way to Run’ continues the story of how the author learnt from that failure, then prepared differently for a second attempt at the UTMB. He tells his adventures first-hand to bring them to life, covering a wide variety of races in the UK, as well as the mighty UTMB itself.

It covers an inspirational three-year period of success, where personal bests fell, race positions improved, bones were broken and eventually membership of the 100 Marathon Club was secured. The author has now run thirteen 100-mile races, has a marathon PB of 2:50 and is proud to have won two trail marathons.

There are three themes running through this book: the UTMB; improving performance over the iconic 26.2 mile distance as he heads towards 100 marathons; and analysing the characteristics of his own sporting heroes for personal learning.

The UTMB was a huge target in his life for many years, with a huge commitment required to complete the course in 2017. Completing an immense goal is something we can all relate to from our own running exploits…

Martin describes the elation: "Sitting with a beer in the sunshine in Chamonix after finishing is a half-hour period of perfection that I don’t think will ever be beaten. I knew that it was a unique moment, one to be savoured and would probably always be the most perfect 30 minutes of my life."

The increased level of fitness required to complete the UTMB was put to good use in races closer to home, resulting in high placings in trail races and continuous improvements to his marathon PB. However, patience was required before that first race win was achieved…

"What a great feeling it was to finally achieve another goal in my running journey: that first marathon win! It had become a standing joke that I was ‘always the bridesmaid’ so it was pleasing to put in a good, strong run and come home first. It showed that if you persevere and keep banging on a door for long enough, it’ll eventually open."

Nine sporting legends from the author’s generation are analysed to gain learnings that can be adapted for personal use. One of the most topical is Eliud Kipchoge…

"I admire Kipchoge as an athlete, both for his incredible marathon time and also for the way that he has approached his career. He is both the perfect runner and also the perfect role-model for anyone watching. This is how global superstars should be."

The author likes a quote and one of his favourites is the old ultra-running saying that, ‘To finish is to win.’ If we apply ourselves, he’s proven that we can all be winners.

‘A Long Way to Run’ and its predecessor, ‘It Kept Me off the Streets’, are both available on Kindle and paperback from Amazon.