Dream Believe Achieve. A guest blog by a sub 3 marathon chaser.

Dream Believe Achieve

This is a guest blog by a friend of mine, Davie Wilson from NAAC. I got to know Davie when we were both training for the Manchester Marathon until he had the accident that got him known as “Microwave Davie.” He’s a top guy and after a while out came back working hard, aiming for the sub 3 marathon. This is his unedited story of his attempt.

Loch Rannoch Marathon Sunday 14th October

So after doing the Loch Rannoch half marathon last year I decided to try the full distance this year.

I travelled up on the Friday night and stayed in the Dunalistair Suites. I highly recommend them.

I decided to do the 10K on the Saturday the weather was terrible. I intended to use it as a leg stretch however in typical fashion seeing other runners in front encouraged me to  pick the pace up after the first mile.

The course was a standard out and back spoiled by the monsoon weather. I finished 5th in a time of 39.09 and immediately regretted it as I had saved my legs all week for the marathon then stupidly ran a tempo 10K.

The highlight of the race was getting a finishers T-shirt that was a decent fit and I could actually wear for training. Not many races do an XS which is a particular bug bear of mine and means I have drawers full of t-shirts that I can’t wear.

So the rest of Saturday was spent relaxing with a trip to House of Bruar which was actually OK and passed the afternoon. Wee bit of carb loading for the marathon, a latte and a fruit scone, no jam though too much sugar! 😀

Over the last few months I made a conscious decision to prepare really well. This meant training hard, eating well and a real focus on building strength as well as stamina.

I joined Blades Gym in Stevenston back in June and had built a lot of strength and conditioning training into my weekly routine. I was also seeing big gains in strength from one to one Personal Training with Willie Blades, the man is a complete font of knowledge!

My food choices are always pretty good but particularly over the last four months I have been very disciplined and have taught myself a lot about nutrition and how to fuel my body in order to continue to train hard. So I was in good physical shape and very well prepared, so surely I had no reason to be nervous! Or did I?🤔

It was an early night on Saturday but as usual the night before a race I can never sleep and tossed and turned all night.

I got up at 07.30 and headed downstairs for the usual breakfast of porridge and banana. Then at 08.00  I strolled across the road to the park to register and pick up my race number. Yesterday’s rain had cleared to leave a settled and sunny day almost perfect running conditions.

The race start was 09.30 so I had well over an hour to pace around, doubt my ability and ask the usual questions like – Have I trained enough? Why do I do this to my body? The same questions all runners ask themselves before a big race.

The hour before the race felt like three! Eventually 09.30 came and I was standing on the start line chatting away to the rest of the field. The Race Director gave the usual safety brief at which point I was thinking – keep a nice steady 7.30 pace David that will bring you in at around 3 hours 15 mins. I had ran 3 hours 7 mins back in May in Edinburgh and was content to end the year with that as my PB, or was I?

The race started and I went out quicker than planned – my first mile was 7.12. I felt comfortable so I thought, OK David just hold 7 minute pace to the half way point and then dial it back a notch or two for the second half of the race.

As the race progressed my watch beeped with every passing mile. I quickly glanced down acknowledging in my head that I was holding my steady 7 minute mile pace. I was slowly starting to pick off runners one by one. At this point I think I was in 8th position.

My watch beeped at mile 13, the half way point and I was still holding  a steady 7 minute miles pace. This was the moment I thought surely not, is sub three achievable?

I still felt fresh and in control then, in a  fleeting moment of doubt, I thought – don’t be daft you’re no more than an average club runner you don’t have a sub three hour marathon in you.

Another half mile passed and I thought about a poem that someone special had written for me at the beginning of my running endeavours entitled – “Dream Believe Achieve”. A little self doubt was still in my head, but the poem kept going round and round.

My watched beeped for mile 14 and without realising it I had picked up the pace. At this point I thought f**k it am going for it what is the worst thing that could happen? If I hit the wall at mile 20 I could always walk the rest!

I continued to pick up the pace and before I knew it my watched beeped and it was mile 24.

Then I made the mistake of looking at my overall time  – 2 hours 38 minutes sub three was in sight!

Three miles at 7 minute pace then 0.2 mile that’s all I needed to do something I had done many times. Then at that exact moment it hit me I started to hurt all over every stride felt difficult I was groaning and talking to myself my legs were so heavy  I wanted to stop.

Self doubt was creeping into my thoughts average club runners do not run sub three hour marathons.

Mile 24 was just below 7 minute mile pace yes the dream was still alive! Mile 25, two and a bit to go I needed something to push me on I needed inspiration who was I kidding I almost needed a miracle!

Then as I came over the hill I saw another runner I had not seen anyone for ten miles. I thought, come on David chase him down. I was hurting but I dug deep, as I got nearer I could see he was struggling more than me that gave me a massive lift.

The watch beeped mile 25 done, it was a 7.08 mile! As I passed the runner I said “god I am struggling” he said something back which I can’t remember.

In my head I needed a 6.40 mile to finish, I thought David if you mess this up now you might not get another chance at it. I was hurting all over but I just kept thinking sub three! The watch beeped mile 26 done 6.37 mile, Oh my god, I thought am I really going to do this? The next 0.2 mile was a total blur, I could hear in the background that people were clapping and shouting me on.

As I came over the hill the Marshall pointed left and I turned towards the finish.

I could hear someone shout “You only have a few hundred metres to go”.

I looked at my watch I was still under three hours, surely I was going to do it.

I stumbled across the line and stopped my watch – an automatic reaction when you finish a race.

Someone thrust a bottle of water into my hand and I took a massive gulp of it, for a split second I forgot about the sub three I was hurting so much.

A massive smile came across my face as one of the marshalls said to me “son you have just run a sub three hour marathon that is superb!”

I wrote this 24 hours after the race and still could not believe I had run a sub three hour marathon!  The reminder was the extreme pain I was experiencing when I went up and down the stairs but it was well outweighed by my delight at achieving such a great time!

Loch Rannoch  – Thank you so much! This wee average club runner from Ayrshire will be back again next year!

His blog but I’ll pick the song since I’m going to see Teenage Fanclub with him soon. About his race? Shock and Awe. Well done Davie.


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