My running life proper began in much the same way as it has continued - by training for a marathon. Like many people I ran cross country races at primary school, although perhaps unlike most people I did them willingly and enjoyed them. But I soon fell out of love with running when I reached my teenage years. One thing that remained constant, however, was my desire to run in the London Marathon. That had been on my 'to-do-list' from a very young age and I had loved watching it on TV for as long as I could remember.
So, after finishing University I got a charity place for the 2004 race and started to train. And so began my love affair with 26.2 miles. It perhaps didn't have to be like that. Looking back on it my training was ad hoc, my kit was ill-advised (a cotton t-shirt under my charity vest - what was I thinking!), my fuelling strategy was useless (I carried whole bananas and peeled them whilst I ran!) - it was a shambles really. And race day was the one of the wettest ever. But despite all that I had an absolute blast in the race - the whole event was amazing. I knew that day that I wanted to run marathons, and especially the London Marathon, for the rest of my life.
So, whilst I have come to race other distances my heart lies with marathons, and preferably in a big city. I enjoy ultras, I tolerate short races, but really they are just training runs towards my next marathon. Not that my training follows any real pattern or structure. I'm not a professional, so training should both be fun and fit in around life. I therefore do what I want, when I want, and thankfully, it works well enough. I have been lucky enough to run marathons in some wonderful places. I've run in New York, Chicago, Berlin, Barcelona - basically holidays for the last 9 years have been based around where I (or we) can do a race. Excluding London, which will always be special to me, my favourite marathon has probably been Chicago. I love American races, and refuelling, which is as much the reason I run as anything, is much more fun in America - and Chicago is a wonderful city, the fans are great, and it's a much easier course than New York (NYC is a fantastic race, but the hills and concrete streets make it one of the harder road marathons I've done).
I will complete one of my ambitions by running in Boston in April 2013. After that, I have very few ambitions to fulfil. I think the only one that will really motivate me is to run 100 marathons in under 3 hours. I think I am only up to 19 at the moment, but if I keep enjoying my running and training then hopefully I'll find myself sufficiently close in a few years time that I can make it a priority, rather than just a by-product of doing something I enjoy.