Paul Walters runs the London Marathon



Report from Monday 28th February 2000

The Malta Marathon

February has been a rather miserable month from the point of my London Marathon training. After having a week off because of suspected shin splints, I then suffered from coughs and colds for the rest of February, and the weather has been dark and cold too. This has disrupted things, and I have not run as nearly as much as I would have intended.

As well as running ten mile and eleven mile training runs in the middle of the month, I also went on an eighteen mile run early in the month, with two other members of the running club. I did everything wrong - I ate little the previous night and had no breakfast, I took no liquids with me on the run, I ran topless for half of the run and got cold, I ran up very steep hills, and ran too fast. After eighteen miles, I had to half walk half run, and I was reduced to almost collapsing very soon after. I now know how it feels to hit the "wall", and I don't intend making these mistakes on the Marathon day. It was worth the experience though, and I don't regret it.

We went to Malta over the February half term, and to my surprise the Flora Malta Marathon was run on Sunday 27th February, on the last day of our stay. It was a fairly small affair compared to London, with about four or five hundred runners in all, most of them taking part in a half marathon. I managed to register for the half marathon. We set off from Mdina at 10am, and spiralled out of the ancient walled city down the hill towards the capital, Valetta, through the Maltese countryside. We finished off running three miles along the coast to Sliema. The sites were good, the weather was great, the route was kind (largely down hill), and the people were very friendly. There were many British people taking part, as well as Germans and Maltese. We were running on the same route as the marathon runners for the last ten miles, who had started at 8am. I was trying to give the British marathon runners some encouragement, some of which were finding it difficult. This really was an occasion, which will be hard to beat on April 16th. I ran the half marathon in 99 minutes, which I was pleased with as this was my first one. I ran the first ten miles of this race in 73 minutes, which is a personal best, but dramatically slowed up in the final three miles. The organisation of the Flora Malta Marathon was excellent in every way. You can look up their web site at www.maltamarathon.com.mt.

I have a few aches and pains in my legs due to the running, which I suspect may be due to the hard runs together with the lack of training. However, I feel that my suspected shin splints may not have been what I had thought, and contrary to my January newsletter, I intend to continue training on roads.

The sponsorship is going fairly well, and I hope now to surpass my first target of one thousand pounds by April. I'm not sure of the exact figure I have had pledged so far though.

I now have under seven weeks until the final day, and my aim is to concentrate on putting in some long runs on the next five weekends, starting with a 16.4 mile race near Bedford this Sunday. I also need to plan the evening and morning previous to the Marathon, and I need to find out if the energy drinks supplied en route suit me.

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