Last Updated on December 3, 2021 by Andrew Blakey
I ran a marathon with almost no training...
Many of you have been waiting for this post so I apologize for it taking so long for me to get around too! Life has been crazy since the run to say the least!
For those of you who supported the run I want to take a quick second to say a massive thank you. We raised $2700 for a charity called Kidsport, helping around a dozen kids to play sports who normally may not have been able to afford to do so!
About the run.
While many of you have been following the journey and posts regarding the run leading up from way back in September, let me do a quick summary for those of you who may have no idea what I’m talking about!
On November 6th 2021, I ran a marathon spanning the distance of about 60kms from Toronto to Barrie Ontario. The entire run took about 12 hours and started at about 4:30 am. The run was organized by myself in order to raise money for the charity mentioned above, Kidsport!
Let’s get into the nitty gritty.
Leading Up To The Run
Back in September I was finding it really tough to stay motivated, I lost a lot of my motivation after the summer and even though I was still active outside, I was finding it really hard to train and do the things that normally I loved.
It was after a couple weeks of this that I decided that I needed something to train for in order to get that motivation and competitive spirit back (for those of you who know me you know that I’m just a little bit competitive).
Now I’ve been asked a couple times “you decided that running a marathon was the best thing to help you get motivated again?”… and the answer to that is a large NO.
I wanted to do something that many would think was crazy… so I committed to 60-65 kms instead (for context, this is about one and a half marathons). When I first announced my run I was extremely nervous. I had all these thoughts going through my head such as:
“What if I don’t raise any money?”
“No ones going to care if I do this”
“What if I start and then quit halfway through? What will people think”.
Going through these questions in my head leading up to the run, allowed me to gain a lot of insight into both myself and my own psyche.
As the weeks ticked by I started to get even more nervous.
I tried my best to stick to my training, doing a couple 5-10km runs each week. I quickly realized that 6 weeks is not NEARLY enough time to go from a hobby runner, to a full on ultra-marathon. Regardless, I ran an Ultramarathon with essentially only 6 weeks of semi-consistent training at best.
The Day Before The Run
Now, lucky for me – I had a great friend named Sam who volunteered to help be my support during the run.
He helped me by driving a vehicle and stopping every 5 kms to wait for me to catch up. Every 5 kms was a chance to drink some water, have a quick snack, and check in on me to see how I was doing.
Unfortunately we ran into some last minute logistical issues which left us both only able to get about 3-4 hours of sleep the night before the race… not ideal!
The Full Day Breakdown
3:45 AM – BUZZ BUZZ…
Waking up at around 4 am isn’t exactly a pleasant experience – couple that with the fact that we were currently rocking a solid 3.5 hour sleep and you can imagine how we felt. Not great.
As we bundled up and double checked to ensure we had everything we needed we asked ourselves “are we really doing this…?”
The answer? Yes, and we’re going to get this done.
4:30 AM – Starting The Run
At 4:30 AM the run was officially underway. With my reflective bands lit up, my headphones fully charged, and a long day ahead of me, I took my first couple strides of an approximately 68,000 step day.
The first hour went pretty much exactly according to plan. It was dark, it was cold, it was exactly what I expected.
Using a method of 60 seconds running and 30 seconds walking, this allowed me to get some solid distance and good pace going right at the beginning while conserving the energy I’d need later in the day.
5:30 AM – Arriving At The First Town
At 5:30, after the first hour of running I arrived at the first town which was called Nobleton. With darkness still in the sky I felt pretty great and pretty relaxed with how the run was going.
The first stretch had a couple trucks who were driving a bit close to the edge of the road where I was running, but with myself not being in any huge rush, I simply walked as far to the edge of the shoulder as I could and had plenty of space to still feel comfortable.
The wind was picking up a bit, had a couple large hills – overall I felt pretty good.
7:30 AM (Approximately) – Arrived In Schomberg
With the sun starting to come up on the right hand side of me during the run, I was excited to begin the next portion of my run in the light (and hopefully a bit warmer) . By this point, my fingers were starting to get extremely cold.
After stopping in Schomberg for a quick coffee and rest, we were about 20 kms in and one third done our run! I was optimistic and thought the rest of the run was going to be a breeze (I WAS WRONG!)
I also used this quick pit stop to use the washroom and eat some higher calorie snacks to prepare for the next portion!
9 AM – Somewhere With Lots Of Farm Fields?
After about 4.5 hours of running I was now in the long portion of the run. With less towns and longer distances between these towns, mentally it was getting extremely tough to stay focused.
Although I’ve driven hwy 27 countless times before, running alongside the fields was extremely fatiguing as there was almost no change in scenery from this point until Barrie (with the exception of a handful of very small town corners).
My 35 KM Message (11 AM)
At about the 35 km mark I decided to make a short little video about why I’m doing the run. A little bit of motivation for your own journey!
I didn’t think I’d be able to finish the run. That’s the reason why I decided to try!
2 PM (Only 15 kms left!)
At this point my body was destroyed. My ankles wouldn’t allow me to run in my normal stride which meant I was constantly adjusting the way I was running to allow me to continue.
My hips were starting to ache and my entire body started feeling like I was carrying a bag of sand on my back. This last 2 hours was the hardest part of the run and it was becoming both as physically draining as well as mentally.
My body was starting to break down but something deep inside me wouldn’t let me quit.
4:30 PM – WE DID IT!!!
By this point we had been doing this for around 12 hours. The final km distance was about 59 kms and we could officially say that I had run from Toronto to Barrie.
I don’t know what possessed me to undertake something like this, but what I do know is that at the end of this run, and with all the help from all our supporters and donors we were able to make a difference. Their will be kids who are now able to play sports who may have not been able to play before.
What’s most exciting for me is to know that somewhere out there, there is a kid whose life may be changed because of their involvement in sport… and to me, that’s pretty damn cool.
A Special Thanks
A special thanks goes to a couple of different people for helping me either with this run, or to prepare for the run.
A massive thank you to Sam Ball who was with me the entire 12 hours driving alongside, checking on me, and feeding me snacks.
Another big thank you to Dani, who is someone who runs marathons and long distance runs fairly often. She was kind enough to literally mail me a care package with high quality snacks made for marathons and distance running! These came in handy!
Another thank you to everyone who supported the run via donations. We were able to raise a total of over $2500 which is going to help so so many kids! The generosity of my community and even of strangers was overwhelming.
Another thanks to everyone who shared kind messages, words of encouragement along the way, or helpful tips for distance running, again… the support was incredible.
Of course a special thank you to my family for supporting me and giving me encouragement.