Daz Avery completes the Marathon Madness – 7 in 7 days

When I started running in 2010, I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams where it would take me and the endurance levels it has led me to achieve.
For those who don’t know me I’m Daz Avery. I’ve been a member of Arena 80 some 7 or so years, and although I rarely make club training (it sounds hard work), I am proud to represent Arena in the events I take on.
I fell in love with the 26.2 runs and have built up gradually my capacity to run more of them each year.
Then followed a further push into the world of ultras, which led to achieving my inaugural 100mile on the North Downs Way 100 in the wonderfully timed heat wave last year.
This year I had not set myself any goals but was looking for potential challenges to give my training some focus with a long-term plan of another 100 mile ultra in 2020.
By February I was on the path to a few Spring marathons when “Marathon madness” was advertised pitching evening marathons over a week in June enabling the opportunity to run multiple local marathons each evening after work. Options varied from 1 marathon to running all 7 in 7 days.
Typically for me this then became my “Roger Rabbit” mindset….I should do some as they are local…if I do some of them why not all of them….its a great opportunity to try multi-stage…..what could go wrong….:)
Basically after I read it I knew it was all in for me, I couldn’t not do it, but I continued the facade of not telling anyone as that would make it real and for non-runners an unexplainable desire!
Finally I cracked at the end of March and made it real. Weird though I didn’t share much, it was too new an approach for me to do a marathon each day (nearest I’d achieved was 4 marathons in a month), so the decision was I could only share if I got past 5 in a row…
After my Spring marathons, work and life got in the way of some serious mileage training so I focussed on running on tired legs as much as possible, which for me is leaping around all day (normal) and then running late in the evening (less normal).
Planning was all about post race each day, how to recover, how to fuel and how to sleep.  I also took the executive decision to take some  time off work after the 3rd day on the premise that I might actually be a bit tired.
So to Race week….The whole concept of this multi day challenge was that each race was a lapped out and back (either 8 or 10 laps). The majority were seafront based (Worthing Prom, Goring Prom, Widewater, Undercliff path, Hove Prom) and 2 of them were trail (High Down Hill, River Adur).
It was a strange concept to hold back as much as possible on day 1 (it helped keeping the 185 mile target in mind), especially when everyone else sped off. The run went well and I felt strong throughout, but kept the focus about food, recovery and rest.
Most of the races turned into a mental rather than physical battle, there were lots of aches and pains to turn off course, but running at night in warm evenings meant I got to see beautiful sunsets, moonlit Worthing and the joy of running with a Rhino for 2 races (Rhino boy Chris).
I was fortunate as I had other runners appearing to run with me and even friends who turned up to marathon on the night. This helped as my mental countdown of laps meant I had to grind out the  “pointless” laps (5 out of 8 – pointless, and laps 3 and 8 out of 10), but relish the joyful laps the penultimate and victory lap where glorious).
It was about that time, that the hottest day of the year was predicted on day 6. I was so thankful, just what was needed 30C+ on the under cliff, a nice reminder of the previous years NDW100 in tropical heat. Well it certainly was hot, but hey what a way to top up the tan and see the best sunset of the week (well that’s what was in my head).
Getting to the final day injury free and coherent was testament to good planning and being told to stop running around in the day, and it was a sense of joy and slight disbelief to finish Sunday night with a well-earned beer to celebrate.
Now a few weeks later I am walking, I am back excited and I can’t wait to take on something new.
7 days, average mileage 26.5, 185 miles and 18k calories – I am not sure I’ll see my Garmin like this again!!!