2017 an epic running year for dan dan the marathon man

2017 events reviewed (with some handy tips…)

2017 an epic running year. This year has seen me take part in some amazing events.  It’s definitely been my best year yet, at the grand old age of 39!  I’ve broken all my distance PBs (1-mile, 5k, 10k, 7-mile, 15k, 10-mile, half-mazza and mazza), but most importantly I’ve thoroughly enjoyed where the year has taken me, to many events across the globe.

This post is to give you a run-down of my 2017 races, a brief description of each but also provide some handy tips that may come in useful – not only route tips, but also other stuff like travel, accom., nearest boozer, free stuff etc.

2017 an epic running year – PBs!

Distance Previous PB 2017 PB % DIFF
1-Mile Didn’t exist! 5.34 N/A
5K 00:20:11 00:19:08 5.2%
10K 00:40:25 00:40:01 1.0%
7-Mile 00:50:06 00:48:14 3.7%
15K Didn’t exist! 01:27:14 N/A
10-Mile 01:14:48 01:07:57 9.2%
Halfie 01:28:56 01:28:03 1.0%
Mazza 03:38:09 03:24:27 6.3%








PIC: NYC Marathon post race nutrition – Medal + scotch…

2017 an epic running year – The races reviewed

Righto, which events have I ran, how would I rate them out of ten, would I run them again, then handy tips…

Distance Time Event Date Rating Description / Comments / Tips
5K 19:55 Great Edinburgh Winter Run 5K 07-Jan-17 8/10 *Run it! Great start to the year. First 1-2k is lung-busting (running up the road alongside Arthur’s seat) so take it easy, then bomb it down the other side and admire the views of Edinburgh!
*Isn’t cheap for a 5k (about £20) but worth it, decent goody bag and great atmosphere.  Straight after the 5k is an international cross country race with the likes of Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins running – is even on BBC TV!
*Recommend watching it on TV in a boozer round the corner (and keep warm), I usually nip in ‘the world’s end’ for a few
parkrun 21:16 Aberdeen parkrun 18-Feb-17 7/10 *Along Aberdeen’s esplanade and a good one for a quick time (weather permitting as you’re right by the sea…)
*If you’re staying in the city centre it’s a nice 1-2 mile warm up to the start line. Free Parking available on road near start line
*You’ll need to head back into town for a beer/food
parkrun 20:53 Barrow parkrun 25-Feb-17 7/10 *An undulating parkrun and 2.5 laps of barrow’s only main park – a nice test but not a PB course
*Free Parking available near the leisure centre or on road alongside the park. Start line is near old bandstand.
*There is a wee café near the finish line, but it’s small
parkrun 21:16 Preston parkrun 11-Mar-17 7/10 *My regular parkrun, a good one and mostly flat with the exception of one wee hill on each of the three laps
*There is some free on-road parking near the continental pub – which is great for a beer & food afterwards too (or the pavilion café which is right next to the start/finish line).
HM TBC Jackals Half Marathon 12-Mar-17 8/10 *A gem of a race and SO tough – over hilly trails that are VERY boggy – quad busting!
*2-lap course and you need to check out the course before you run otherwise you’ll get lost (I did!)
*Free on-road parking near the start/finish and a bar at the end. Take trail runners!
Mar 03:28:09 Schneider Electric Marathon de Paris 09-Apr-17 9/10 *One of my favourite events. Phenomenal support, lots of weird and wonderful craziness out on the course to keep you smiling, amazing route – probably the best international marathon out there. Has to be the 7th major one day
*Plenty of fluids and gels – as it’ll get hot! Look up, enjoy the sights and sounds and it’ll fly by in no time!
10M 67:57:00 Great Edinburgh 10 23-Apr-17 8.5/10 *Without doubt the best of Edinburgh races and the only true city-centre race – brilliant route if undulating
*Is a bit pricey and unfortunately the 10-miler isn’t on in 2018, just the 5-miler
*Recommend the Cairn Hotel, not too far outside the centre and great value for money
Ultra TBC Highland Fling 30-Apr-17 9/10 *A phenomenal event that if you’re lucky enough to gain entry to (is balloted) you’ll thoroughly enjoy. Is 55-miles over the first half of the West Highland Way (from the start in Milngavie to Tyndrum, over 7.5k feet of elevation).
*I took part in the relay two years in a row and loved it – although the relay isn’t available in 2018
*Recommend to book accomodation early and enjoy the after party – it’s epic! Ding Ding!
Mar 03:32:07 Stirling Scottish Marathon 21-May-17 6/10 *I’d entered the inaugural Stirling Scottish Marathon and whilst it was a miserable rainy day leaving a safari park was unique – running through the small villages was also lovely (they really came out to support the runners)
*Unfortunately after 17-miles there was a loop that was awful (3-laps on cobbled streets) and really spoilt things. Good news is that they’ve changed the route for 2018, so no more loops!
*We stayed in the Golden Lion Hotel, which was right in the centre and fantastic value for money. Brewdog is just around the corner too – which helped after the run
Mar 03:31:09 Edinburgh Marathon Festival Marathon 28-May-17 7/10 *EMF Marathon doesn’t spend very long in Edinburgh itself, but heads out on the coast through some lovely wee villages.  It’s a very flat, if not slightly downhill, most of the way and definitely a PB course (and more scenic that Manchester mazza)
*Rumour has it that the 2018 course has changed slightly to take in a wee bit more of Edinburgh
1M 05:37 CLAN Midsummer Mile Series 31-May-17 7/10 *A four-part series during the summer (May, Jun, Jul & Aug) organised by a new runclub (CLAN) in Preston, ran on UCLANs (the local university) sports village cycle track – very flat and good tarmac. One to see how quick you really are…
*Cheap and even get a medal when doing the full series
10K 40:01:00 Brian Goodwin Memorial 10K 16-Jun-17 7/10 *Splendid 10k from Bellahouston Harriers through Pollok Park and back (2-lap course)
*Plenty of free parking near the start/finish line, great value for money and a flat course to boot. Even gave away free hotdogs and a can of beer for runners – brilliant!
HM 89:40:00 Southport Half Marathon 02-Jul-17 7/10 *Well organised and attended event around Southport – very flat and good value for money (great medal and goody bag)
*Plenty of on-road free parking near Victoria Park (close to start/finish line)
Ultra 5 hours & 3 mins Run The Blades 22-Jul-17 7/10 *A great wee ultra run (was my first) around one of the largest onshore windfarms in Europe.  Is a 50k, but due to unforeseen circumstances changes were made on the day (I clocked it as 53k), quite an undulating course but good tracks all the way round with checkpoints for bag-drops of food etc – trail shoes needed
*The visitor centre has food and drink near the start/finish and there are free shuttle buses to the free car parking in the nearby village of eaglesham (can’t park on the windfarm).  Recommend staying in Glasgow as only a 20-min drive
HM 89:35:00 Dunoon Half Marathon 05-Aug-17 7/10 *Used to be the ‘Toward for a Tenner’ – lovely out and back flat halfie to get a good time on in a stunning part of the world
*Late morning start time means you can get the train/ferry across from Glasgow on the morning of the race
*Loads of little stalls selling cheap food and drink at the end – highly recommended
5K 19:08 Catforth Canter 5K Series 12-Aug-17 7/10 *A very flat course to set your PB on country roads (which aren’t closed, so be careful!)
*Great value for money and you get a pie, can of beer and a medal!
parkrun 21:57 Cuerden Valley parkrun 12-Aug-17 7/10 *Got to be my favourite parkrun – undulating and trails involved in a stunning country park
*Café (‘the barn’) at the end for refreshments, free parking available near start/finish line
10M 85:31:00 City of Preston 10 13-Aug-17 7/10 *A new 2-lap event that starts in Longton (near Preston) and goes through the Longton Brickcroft Nature Reserve to keep things interesting – a lot is alongside unclosed roads (be careful) but plenty of room on paths
*Finishes by a workingman’s club for cheap drinks!
HM 88:03:00 Fleetwood Half Marathon 20-Aug-17 7/10 *A very flat course along the promenade (with a short loop in the middle) to set a good time on. Well organised with a great medal and goody bag at the end
Mar 03:24:27 Longford Marathon 27-Aug-17 7.5/10 *Longford is a lovely little town in the centre of Ireland and whilst it’s seen better days (most of Ireland is still depressed from recent economic downturns) the people and support is great.
*Considering the event is quite small/communal it’s very flat (mostly on unclosed country roads) and is a Boston qualifier. Loads of boozers in the town to find a pint, but highly recommend the Greyhound Bar (AKA Peter Clarke)
HM 01:57:50 SimplyHealth Great North Run 10-Sep-17 7.5/10 *The start and finish areas are superb, rest of the course is mostly dual carriageway but the crowds make you forget about all that – such a well supported race and definitely one for everyone to do
*Is difficult to get through the ballots, however look in to getting a season ticket which guarantee’s entry for three-years for about £40 (much cheaper than going through charities etc.)
Mar 03:37:46 BMW Berlin Marathon 24-Sep-17 6/10 *Was my first ‘Major’ marathon in a city I’d visited and loved before.  Perhaps it was for this reason that I was disappointed with the route – a good 15-18 miles in the middle are quite non-descript and boring.  That said it’s a very fast and flat course
*An expensive race and balloted (although one people tend to get in to…I did first time) – recommend doing one to say you’ve done it then focus on other ‘majors’ or races on your bucket list.  Oh and there’s a new brewdog pub in Mitte, check it out
HM 93:30:00 Bank of Scotland Great Scottish Half Marathon 01-Oct-17 7/10 *Splendid halfie taking in a few of Glasgow’s parks and it’s beautiful sights, plus amazing support – people make Glasgow
*Whenever I travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow I always do so by train, as it’s so cheap (virgin trains booked 60-90 days in advance)
*Couple of cheap hotels near Kelvingrove or Best Westerns Glasgow City Hotel – central, decent and cheap
*After you finish take a wee walk and get a beer or three in the Clutha
Mar 03:41:01 Bank of America Chicago Marathon 08-Oct-17 9/10 *Chicago is an amazing city, very warm people and feels a lot like Boston (in that you can walk around and see plenty of stuff). The marathon itself is mostly in the city centre and finished in Grant Park alongside the big lake.
*After you finish check out the after party in grant park, the live bands are top notch and there’s free proper beer!
*Whilst Chicago is balloted I got in first time, is also worth noting that the Good For Age (GFA) times are the most generous of any of the majors – I’m in the 2018 run with my 3.24 from Longford!
Ultra TBC Jedburgh Three Peaks 28-Oct-17 8/10 *Is a 38-mile ultra marathon that takes in the beautiful surroundings of the South East borders, including it’s three peaks (the Eildons).  Is organised by the same people as the Highland Fling as is great fun – most all on trail
*I took part in the relay which is also great fun. The ultra & relay take place as part of the Jedburgh Running Festival, with there being a half marathon and 10k on the Sunday (if you have enough energy left).
*Plenty of accom in Jed and nearby towns, also free onroad parking in Jed too. Start/finish is near the rugby club which has a bar
Mar 03:32:20 TCS New York City Marathon 05-Nov-17 9/10 *I’ve been to New York a few times, but mostly stuck to the many neighbourhoods on Manhattan – the marathon takes you through all five boroughs each having a very different vibe – Brooklyn is crazy!!
*I didn’t get through the ballot and had to pay my way in through Sports Tours International which was very pricey. That said it’s a truly fantastic experience, running through central park to the finish is phenomenal support (similar to the last mile of the great north run).  *Be prepared to be up REALLY early though, the bus take age to get to Long Island (start) and security takes a while, oh and take some brekkie with you – the ‘runners village’ (think District 9…) has dry bagels and coffee that go quick
*A good tip is that there is free medal engraving at ‘New York Running Company’ in the Time Warner shopping centre near Central Park where the finish line is (don’t pay for the official engraving as the queues are crazy and you can save yourself $20!)
7M 48 mins Longridge Pudding Run 10/12/2017 8/10 *A brilliant and tough race through the undulating country roads of longridge (near Preston).  Very good value for money with a superb medal, running shirt and 4-person xmas pudding all included!
*Free on-road parking and a bar near the finish. Highly recommended

2017 an epic running year – Running further than ever before!

Having finished the year banking just over 60km in a week, it’s brought me to the grand total of 2001km ran in 2017 – a new record (beating 2016s 1634 km)! Here’s to another year of new events and experiences! Happy New Year everyone!







PIC – Last race of 2017, the Longridge Pudding Run…

Dan Dan The Marathon Man

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