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Leon Hicks – My journey to run 100 Marathons

Sometimes peoples’ achievements and aspirations simply blow your mind. Around Christmas I started hearing chat about someone who was planning to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks. Astounded by the sheer physical challenge of running and recovering, let alone the logistics I dug deeper and will hand over to Leon to tell his story…..

My journey started in September 2012 when I was offered a place in the London Marathon.  At that stage the furthest distance I had run was 5k in a Parkrun. I had only ever planned to participate in 1 marathon until I joined Sandhurst Joggers. I hated running on my own and being a lazy person I thought I will be more motivated to train when surrounded by like-minded people.

leon-london

As you are probably aware there are a couple, shall we say ‘Nutters’ in the club (which I seemed to have now joined).  I have definitely caught the bug somewhere along the way.

In 2013 I completed 2 marathons including London which is very busy and well supported.  It’s not one of my favourites but it is a must do. The one on top of my list is the Loch Ness Marathon as it’s a very undulating course, predominantly downhill and has a great atmosphere.  Both of these I’ve done three times.

I had seriously caught the running bug now and therefore ran another two Loch Ness marathons as well as the Portsmouth in 2014. I felt I was still quite sane at this point.

leon-beachy-head

In 2015 I participated in the Greg War 100th marathon and was thinking I am crazy but ‘nice’ crazy. I did, however, at that point have 3 marathons booked for the year. Then in the following April after completing London I had a thought that I could I actually run 100 marathons by 2020. Sounds easy and should be achievable, I thought.

As usual I took on the challenge in my usual way and my 5 year plan went straight out the window!

I achieved 14 marathons in that year with no planning. I just booked as many as I could get into my diary. The Bacchus Vicky’s 100th marathon – what a girl! It is a two lap very hilly course with great countryside views and wine at every aid station. This one is a must do run and they also do a half marathon for those interested.

leon-mud

My highlights last year were flying to Chicago which was a bit of a rush as I had to fit in work as well. I flew on Friday morning and collected my number that same day. On Saturday I woke up 2am in the morning, ran the race and caught the next plane home for work on the Monday. I will never run a marathon with jet lag again – it was torture.

Then I ran ‘Beachy Head’, which is probably the hardest marathon I have done to date, hilly from the start at least the finish is downhill.

During this year I have run a fair few Thames runs, SVN coastal runs most of them loops or out and backs not the most enjoyable but a must do if your after numbers in a short period of time. This brings me to 2016 having achieved 29 marathons! Not bad really!

The year 2016 started really well 12 marathons done by the end of April, mainly coastal and river runs nothing special. Paris was a warm hard race with lots of walking before the start and after. Great Parkrun on the Saturday in Paris though.

 

leon-more-mud

Stockholm was a really nice race, very well organised and great support. It was so good I’m doing it again this year.

The ‘Endure 24’ as a solo is a great race whether you are running as a single or in a team. I decided to stay in the Sandhurst Joggers team camp and as always had great support and an even bigger laugh. What I didn’t know was that the pain in my foot was going to keep me out running for 13 weeks. But that’s what you get for upping the count all of a sudden.

After the break I came back and ended the year on a high with ‘5 in 5’, something I thought I could never do, but take it from me – you can!

I also decided to take on the challenge of 52 marathons in 52 weeks. This craze started on the 3rd of December, so I will keep you updated.

leon-john

I have had a slow start to 2017, just the 3 so far, the hardest being the ‘Winter Tanners 30 mile Ultra’ with the LWDA. I did this with my fellow marathoner, Richard Boese, who has kept me company on many marathons.

So last Saturday I completed my 50th marathon and I’m now on the count down. Hope to reach the 100 mark by March 2018.

I wish you all lots of happy miles running.

We’ll check in with Leon throughout the coming weeks and months to find out how he is getting on….

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