Looking back on 2017

The close of 2017 marks my third year of running and it’s been truly eye opening. I took great pleasure and a huge sense of achievement from learning, training, racing, and travelling to beautiful places, with the people I hold most dear.

In the Spring I made it at last, injury free, to the Big Sur marathon. I’d had to withdraw the previous year with a knee injury  just two weeks prior to the race. This time, however, I ran a PB against all the odds and came home wondering just how much faster I could go.

The Big Sur International Marathon’s iconic Bixby Bridge.

So I changed how I trained and in November I headed to my third NYC marathon. My original goal was another modest improvement, but my training times pushed me to be more aggressive and this took me outside my comfort zone psychologically. I had to decide if I believed; if I was going to commit to the race plan and even try. I learned a lot in this race, and took 44 minutes off my PB, breaking four hours in the process.

In addition I completed 4 half marathons, each a new PB, and also went faster in the 10k, 5k, and 1 mile.

Reflecting on the year I feel massive pride, and a lot of foolishness over how little confidence and self-belief I had. The plain fact is I ran significantly more miles in the year (600 miles training for NYC, compared to 380 last time around). And that’s important; that’s my real success; because even with that workload I didn’t need surgery. By contrast in each of the previous 2 years I had surgery to clean up torn meniscus in each knee. So you can see why this was a big year.

I’m a sucker for some good data in a spreadsheet. Easy motivation.

Looking back I realise how clear my goals were. I’m not talking about times though. I had very clear questions I was curious about and wanted to discover answers to, such as: How much faster could I go? Could I train hard enough to find out? How strongly did I want to find out? How accountable was I willing to be?

Through the year I found answers to these questions, and more, in the UK, Iceland, New England, California, Wyoming, and my own New York. This year I saw how running gives me a another way to discover new places, just as with rock climbing.

A chilly pre-run warm up in Höfn, Iceland
A chilly pre-run warm up in Höfn, Iceland

However, I did make mistakes along the way and I head into the new year carrying a niggling new injury that will temper my goals for the next half and full marathons.

But it’s all about perspective. The year surpassed all my fitness expectations and I am very grateful because it took the extraordinary support and energy of people I love to help make it happen.

This year I challenge myself to be a better human being in memory of friends who already were.

2017 Race Summary

  • 1,639 total miles run
  • 0 surgery ?
  • 2 x marathons, (2 PBs)
  • 4 x half marathons, (4 PBs)
  • 2 x 10ks, (PB)
  • 1 x 5 mile (PB)
  • 1 x 4 mile (PB)
  • 1 x 5k (PB)
  • 1 x 1 mile (PB)

Current PRs ?

  • 26.2:  3:54:17 (2017)
  • 13.1:   1:48:52 (2017)
  • 10k:   0:52:10 (2017)


  1. Love the new website and congrats on all of your running accomplishments. I didn’t quite grab the bull by the horns in the same manner. It’s taken me twelve years to come around to my first half marathon—in three weeks!!!—but it’s still a great feeling. Happy writing and running!

    1. Thanks Laura, I appreciate you stopping by my page. Good luck with your first half – you are guaranteed a PB since it’s your first race at that distance! 😉 Enjoy!

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