Berlin Marathon 2014



I made peace with the fact I definitely hadn’t done anywhere near enough training to try and run a pb (I’d probably managed 6 weeks, and no more than 3 runs a week at best – i.e. not much/enough). So I just took my time and enjoyed it. For the first time ever I didn’t have any “bad bits” and had a massive grin on my face for most of the course (as opposed the usual grimace).

If you’re thinking about doing a marathon I’d totally recommend Berlin, flat, really well-organised, great crowds. Plus Berlin is a really ace city.

Good fun.

Marathon training: love/hate

I love the rigid routine that my life has at the moment, with a 6-day-a-week training plan there isn’t a lot of room for much apart from work, running, eating and sleeping. Which is fine by me…at the moment.

However it does leave me tired, grumpy, hungry and can turn running into a complete numbers game. I want to run x time so I need to run this amount of miles, at this pace, this regularly, blah blah blah. It can be a bit joyless. It also completely and utterly takes over your life.

But then, I chose to do this and if I can run the time I’ve been aiming for for the last 5 months then it’ll be worth it.

What’s the saying? Train hard, race easy…or something

Back in the saddle (and…in the trainers?)

So after the falling apart of my original plans due to a mixture of injury, misfortune and laziness I have now managed to organise a few things to keep me busy for the next few months.

First: I will be joining the team from the Jane Tomlinson Appeal’s Anniversary Challenge on the 20th and 21st April (Newark – Cambridge then Cambridge – London) as they finish their bike ride from Paris to London. The Challenge is, as usual, a bit ambitious, they are running the Paris Marathon this Sunday (15th), they are then cycling to London via Ze Brugge, Hull, Leeds and Cambridge arriving in London on Saturday 21st, they are then running the London Marathon on the 22nd. Brilliant, amazing and crazy all at the same time. Unsurprisingly they will be joined by people such as Chrissie Wellington (triple women’s ironman world champion). I’ll just be joining them for the last 150 miles so…easy!

Second: I’ll be the ‘runner’ (which will involve actual running) for the Salisbury to Southampton leg of the Hansel of Film 2012 Relay ( – it’s about 30 miles, which I think I will split over 2 days.

Third: Tris (my brother) and I will be doing the Chester Marathon on Sunday 7th October.

Plans are good.

Training, weeks 1-4

Right so apparently I’ve convinced myself that I’ve started training for the list of things I’m doing this year (details: Annoyingly due to the slightly stupid way that things have worked out I effectively have to train for a 1000-mile bike ride and a marathon at the same time.

I’ve trained for a marathon before (read about it here and here), it’s no fun, it makes you hungry, tired and sore. Let’s see if cycling 100 miles a week helps that – I’ve been informed by a few people that it might actually be a good idea, cross-training n all that.

I’m yet to be convinced…

My training at the moment consists of trying to do at least 1-hour a day on the turbo trainer (bike) combined with trying to get out for a longer weekend ride on the road and trying to get my weekly running mileage up past the 30 mile mark. Which has met with mixed success thus far.

Ah well. 2 months to go…(eek)

Half marathon, easier than a full marathon

Ash Mann - Leeds Half-MarathonOn Sunday 9 May, I ran the Leeds half-marathon. It was all a bit last minute, I had been toying with the idea since earlier in the year but it had always seemed a bit soon after the London Marathon so I had decided against entering. However immediately after running London, whilst high on endorphins or stupidly tired, or both, I made some enquiries to see if I could sort out a last minute place.
Thanks to some very lovely people at Run For All, and Leeds City Council, I managed to get myself in.

The day was great, 3800 runners took part, it was all very well-organised (although bloody freezing while we were waiting to start) and i saw one or two people spectating who i knew from work, which was a nice suprise. Everything I’d read and heard about the race mentioned the hills, “oh the hills are awful, they’ll make your legs fall off” and similar. Maybe it’s because the route took in most of where i head for my training runs, but i didn’t find the hills too much of a problem. It was a little disappointing that there wasn’t much opportunity for a decent crowd to form – the route, taking in the ring road, made that fairly impossible – but what support there was was great and i event managed a sprint finish to finish in a (fairly respectable) time of 1 hour 47 minutes 21 seconds.

Have got the Hull 10K coming up this weekend, here starts my work to get a sub-40 minute 10K time (possibly a foolish and unrealistic goal).

Marathon, done. Mara-done.

26.2 miles, 4 hours 45 minutes 1 second. bloody hell, it was so hard, but so amazing.

As is usual Mann family tradition Becca and I got dropped off laughably early and were at the start on Blackheath Common by about 7.45am! The atmosphere even then was pretty immense and even pretty heavy rain didn’t seem to be able to do anything to stop everyone (especially me) getting very, very excited.

The start was a bit hectic, but i suppose that was always going to be the case with however many thousand people squeezing through a relatively small space. I took it pretty easy from the start, I think if I had been too worried about concentrating on a particular time then it could have got a bit frustrating but I spent my time toodling along and had a bit of a chat with a man dressed as a morris dancer (lots of bells!), high-fived lots of enthusiastic kids and had the biggest grin on my face.

On tv the crowds always look big, when you’re there the crowds sound loud but when you’re running – at points it’s almost overwhelming, there are so many people shouting encouragement, loads of bands, people handing out sweets, oranges and drinks. It’s absolutely amazing.

I felt absolutely fine until about 21-22 miles, I’d been plodding along, doing about 10 minute miles (which was slightly slower than planned but I thought I’d just enjoy the day rather than worry about my time too much) and suddenly it all went a bit wrong, I got cramp in my left thigh, my right hip seized up and everything stopped being brilliant and fun for a couple of miles. Luckily the crowd got me going again – having your name on your vest really helps at times like this! Massive thanks to the lovely bunch of people down on the enbankment who fed me jelly babies and high-fived me until I started running again.

When I finished I was absolutely destroyed, I couldn’t walk in a straight line, I didn’t know what was going on. It took me about 45 minutes to walk to where I was meeting Becca, near Charing Cross – which probably less than 1/2 a mile from the finish!

Now, 2 days afterwards, my body is sore – my toes and hips are still very painful.

The ballot for next year opens on 4 May (next week). Will I be entering? Try and stop me!


Right, with the marathon now less than a week away I thought I’d do a little bit of a last-minute assessment.

Nothing too bad to report so far (touch wood). My right hip and left knee will start to ache after 15 miles but I’ve come to realise that is just a fun thing that my body likes to do.
The blisters that flared up on my last long run have calmed down now, I imagine those parts of my feet will be sore after the marathon but hopefully won’t cause me too many problems on the way round.

I think training has gone ok. I could possibly have done more long runs but i did get round for one of 20 miles, a few of 17 miles and a lot of 10-14 miles. I think it’s still realistic to aim for my original target time of 4hrs 15mins.

Thus far have raise just shy of £600 (although this also includes funds raised by the bike ride i did last autumn – which you can read about here which I’m pretty pleased by, if you still fancy sponsoring me (I’m raising money for the Jane Tomlinson Appeal – then it’s very easy to do via my justgiving page –

Final plans:
Anyways, we’re getting the train down on Friday afternoon – hoping to get to the Expo to register on Friday as the DLR is all closed or something on Saturday.
Will probably go for a couple of short (5-8 mile) runs this week just to check the legs are still working. Have also decided I’m going to be catching the bus to work for this week only – and leaving the bike at home.
So, wish me luck!

Happy new year n that

Bloody hell, 2010, that’s like the future (more accurately it is very much the present but let’s not split hairs). Hope everyone had a splendid festive period and that the snow isn’t getting too annoying (even though it is, lots).

2010 will be the year when i run a marathon for the first time (hopefully without getting chaffed nipples, falling over or poo-ing myself) and hopefully do another bike ride of some description.

I also hope it (2010) will be the year when I get into a position to go freelance with my web design business (

Anyways, I also plan to continue posting borderline useless things here and have tried to convince myself that I’ll actively do more photography (if I can find the time).

p.s. did anyone else think Jools Holland was utterly shit this year?