This marathon was the beginning of something that I have never done before, that is to run 3 marathons in under 2 weeks. We flew from Dubai to Glasgow on May 1st and after spending a day with the in-laws (including a round of golf), we flew by Easy Jet to Belfast. We rented the car from airport and drove straight into the city to pick up my race kit from the park. Later on we headed up north to see the Giant’s Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Next morning, the race started on a typical overcast Belfast day. Nadia and kids were there at the starting line with me. It was a big field and great atmosphere that one usually expects from a big marathon. One of the interesting things about the race was the timing chip that was embedded in the race bib rather than on the shoe.
The race route was interesting as it cascaded through the historic streets of Belfast. Around the 20K mark, I was beginning to feel weak and badly needed some sugar. To my luck, the route turned downhill and passed through one of the most affluent areas of the city where lots of residents were cheering on runners with food and drinks.
I must have had 3 or 4 chocolates on the way that gave me the boost I needed to continue. The latter part of the course was along the river where the wind and rain was brutally strong and the cold temperature didn’t help either. I slowed down my pace and as I entered the downtown area, the wind picked up again.
The finish was at the park where Nadia and kids were waiting for me. They were a little worried as I took longer than expected. Later Nadia told me that she had actually walked 5k’s to get to the park from our hotel as the roads were closed due to the marathon. After a bit of rest, we headed back to the hotel via the race shuttle bus and stopped at Tim Horton’s (yes, in Belfast) for the worst coffee I have ever tasted in my life! The rest of week was spent driving across the beautiful Emerald Isle.
Ziyad Rahim is an adventure-runner from Pakistan. He currently holds 10 Guinness World Records in long-distance running, ranging from marathons to ultra-marathons.