Day 22: "I was delighted to wake up this morning and find out that my calf muscle was feeling a lot better this morning. I had real concerns last night that this could be an injury that prevented me from continuing. After Doc had taped my toes, Nicky massaged the calf for about 15 minutes and then we went off to the start line.
The weather was not too bad today – wet to start with but it cleared up within a couple of hours.
We (just Gary and me today) followed towpaths again today, this time along the Leeds and Liverpool canal. Again the towpath was not a made-up path so the going was much more difficult than expected – in fact it was really tough. We did a lot more walking than running, and I used Nordic poles to help with the walking.
It was mostly agricultural land alongside the canal – industrial in some parts and other parts residential with back gardens backing on to the canal. There were a few pubs along the way which must be lovely when people are holidaying on the canal. We saw a few big marinas full of barges that appeared to be moored for the winter.
With about 5 miles to go I felt exhausted. It had been a real rollercoaster of emotions in the last 24 hours, and we all agreed that we felt tired and that it was the highs and lows that had got to us. I was on a high at having reached the halfway point at yesterday’s finish, had a real low after falling and pulling my calf muscle yesterday evening, then another a high this morning when I found I could get going this morning after all.
I was delighted to get today’s run over with and that my calf felt OK at the end. Nicky did some more work on it this evening and will do so again this morning. The big blisters on the insides of my heels are still hellish.
Gary did fantastically to finish his 3rd successive marathon. 4 more to go for him. A few more than that for me to do!"
Day 23: "Just a short report today as I have to phone this through at 10.15pm standing in the car park of the Premier Inn, Northwich (between Chester and Manchester), with Doc phoning his wife from another corner of the car park. What is it with Premier Inns and mobile phones? Are they deliberately impenetrable to a mobile signal?
We completed today’s marathon in 6 ½ hours and it was a good day.
We crossed under the Mersey through the Birkenhead Tunnel to start the route on the south side of the Mersey. Having found the towpaths hard going yesterday we changed the route from that shown on the website, but ended up at the same finishing point. So we were on the roads again, and it was hilly, but we went through some very picturesque villages and had great views over the Cheshire countryside. It was quite a nice day weather-wise. The autumn colours are starting to show, and there were lots of horse chestnuts and acorns along the route.
My calf is good and responding really well to treatment. Nicky Jenkins, who is doing massage for me this week, ran 16 or 17 miles with me, together with Gary Lewis who completed his 4th consecutive marathon today.
Sorry today’s report is short, but I’m going back indoors now!