The Belfast Marathon 9 Mile Walk Four years On

Today I completed the 9 mile walk as part of the Belfast Marathon.

The last time i completed the 8 mile walk, as it was then, it was back in 2015. After doing that, i wasn’t sure if i would do it again as i’d already done it twice so figured that there would be nothing knew if i did it again. When i heard though that the route was changing and was going to be starting on a Sunday, i thought i would give it a go. I didn’t support any charity this time around, although there were some great charities who were the official charity partners for the marathon this year. After floating the idea around a bit, i found a guide and signed up. I was amazed at how many people had offered to walk with me so i had to make the hard decision of choosing who would guide me. I was advised to let the marathon organisers know that i was visually impaired and would be walking with a guide. They very kindly gave my guide a complimentry entry which was fantastic.

I decided to stay up in Belfast the night before so that i was there in good time and wasn’t rushing to get there especially as it was starting at Stormont and not the city hall like in previous years. Plus they were closing the roads to traffic from 8 o’clock onwards, so i didn’t want to get the train and not be able to get up there.

I left the Holiday inn where i was staying

This morning around 8 o’clock and walked to the city hall where i got a shuttle bus up to Stormont. I needn’t have worried though as the bus got us there in plenty of time. I just had the task of locating my guide who was waiting for me. After a bit of phone tag, we finally caught up with each other and headed towards the start line. As always, there was a great buzz and atmosphere about with music to get us going. After a few minutes, the runners were off, followed by all the walkers. There seemed to be loads of walkers which was brilliant to see.

The route was very flat for the whole way.

We left Stormont and headed along the newtownards road, before eventually getting to the Castleray road, before heading along Montgomery road to eventually end up heading along the toepath and back to Ormeau park where the finish line was. There had been some contraversy about the marathon being on a Sunday, but a lot of churches lined the route with jelly babies and water for everyone. There were bands and music at a lot of the stations too which was brilliant and really added to the atmosphere. We stopped along the way for photos and just enjoyed ourselves. I didn’t care how long i took to finish, just as long as i did it.

When we got on to the toepath, my guide got the tunes going and we were singing away. We then found ourselves kind of gently jogging when Fleatwood mack came on and just got in to the rhythm. We hadn’t planned to, it just kind of happened. A bit of Tina Turner soon braught us back to our normal pace though. We completed the walk in 2 hours 45 minutes which was only 6 minutes faster than when we did it back in 2015. I was really pleased with that.

After getting photos done of us and our medals, we collected our goody bags and headed home. It really was a brilliant day and it didn’t feel like 9 miles at all. I really liked the new route too and think it is far better than the old route. I would like to thank my guide for walking with me. We really did have a blast.

Here is a photo of my guide and i after we’d finished the walk. Thanks to one of the marathon officials for taking it for us.


Belfast City Marathon 8 Mile Walk 2015

Today i took part in the 8 mile walk again as part of the Belfast city Marathon. For some reason, i didn’t really publish much about it on here. I noticed too this year that sponsorship was harder to come by. I think that was because it took me longer to put up a link because i wanted to make sure i had a guide first to walk with me and Ushi, before i set up a just giving page, in case i needed to pull out because of not having a guide. Thankfully that didn’t happen though.

So today, i was met by a lady from guide dogs as she was walking with me. We met at Central train station and headed down in to town that way. When we arrived, the runners were just setting off, so we would be setting off shortly after them. We waited for our friend to turn up with her guide, and off we went.

I braught Ushi along for the walk again, and we did a mixture of working and me being guided which she seemed to like. She didn’t mind working either. I made sure to offer her water at each water station too which she redily accepted.

I noticed this year there didn’t seem to be as much of a buzz about the event, but i think that was because last year when i did it, it was my first time, whereas this year i knew what to expect. We still got lots of support and encouragement, but it didn’t seem as busy as it was last year or something. I can’t quite place it.

We finished the walk in 2 hours and 38 minutes, which seemed faster than last year, but i can’t remember what that time was lol. I was quite surprised to be finished so early.

When we got to ormeau park, which was where the walk finished, we got our goody bag and our t shirts and stuff. We also got interviewed by U.TV for the news which was shown tonight. We finished at about 5 to 12, so i was able to get the 10 past one train home.

I can tell you now though, i’m starting to really flag, so i think an early night is deffinetly in order, since i’ve been up since half past 6 to make the 8 o’clock train. My legs are sore now, but i think that was because we ran for a few seconds to get to the finish line lol. My feet were roasting after the walk, but thankfully i don’t have any blisters which is good.

It was a brilliant day, and the craic and the company was good too. I don’t know if i will enter next years one though, especially because Ushi will be 7 and i like entering with her. I’ll have to see how she goes.

If anyone is wanting to sponsor me, my page is
Here
And it’s open for another 3 months. I have reached my target, but every little helps, as they say.

I would like to thank everyone for making today such great craic. I think i shall head to bed shortly, and hope my legs aren’t too stiff in the morning lol. That’ll teach me for running at the end though.