Nottingham was the final leg of my 3 marathons in 3 weeks campaign. I had booked a rental car to drive to Nottingham but then decided to take the train as it was dangerous to drive for 6 hours one way and then drive back. On Saturday 11th September, I boarded the 2pm train for Nottingham. It was not a direct train and had to change stations at Warrington. The 10 minute walk from Warrington Central train station to Warrington Bank Quay was at one of the most dangerous walks I have ever done. It was basically walking through a ghost town on a Saturday afternoon and I was just praying and hoping that I do not run into a gang of thugs. Luckily, I survived and reached the other station which was beside the shopping square.
On the way to Nottingham, I sat in a cabin full of drunken Englishman who had returned from a football game. Finally, I reached Nottingham central and walked at night to the hotel. It was at least a 45 minute walk, contrary to the 15-20 minutes what I was told. It was a cheap but clean 30 pound room with an attached bath. There were a couple of other marathoners staying at the hotel. In the evening, I went down to the bar and met up with some couples from New Zealand. After an early night, I woke up fresh at 7am and after breakfast, took the bus to city center for the race. The marathon was well organized and they had already sent me my bib via mail. It was hot and sunny but as the race started, it became overcast.
We ran through some of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of Nottingham. The highlight was running through the forest park and around the lake. The course support was perfect with plenty of fluid stations along the way. They were serving bottled high protein lucozade, the best you can find in the market. A few miles from the finish, we ran beside Trent Bridge and saw the cricket ground from outside. After about 5 hours and 13 minutes, I crossed the finish line and received a nice medal.
After the race, I walked back to the train station and had to wait 3 hours for the train. To kill the time, I went into a fried chicken joint and stuffed myself on the greasy food. The journey back to Glasgow was relaxing. I reached Glasgow central just after midnight and Shazia and Amana aunty were there to pick me up. I got home just in time, took a shower and then we all headed to the airport to catch the flight back home to Doha. Hence, the mission was accomplished, i.e. completing 3 marathons in 3 weeks!!!
One week after completing the dreadful Fleetwood Marathon, I drove up north to Elgin County with Nadia, kids and Amana Aunty to take part in the Moray Marathon on the North Sea coast of Scotland. The night before the race, we checked into a really nice B&B in the town center and went for a nice curry dinner. On race day, we got slightly lost getting to the starting line, but again, how lost can someone get in such a small town! I followed a few runners and we reached the fairground well in time to pick up my race kit.
A few weeks before the race, I wrote to the race director and informed her that I will be running to raise funds for the Pakistan flood victims. She was extremely impressed and put up the story on the race website and allowed me to keep the charity box at the start / finish line. The race started at 9am and lived up to its expectation. The whole family was there at the start line cheering me on. The race route was absolutely breathtaking. We ran through the picturesque country side and met some interesting people along the way. One such person was a football coach who had plenty of interesting tales to tell.
The course was mostly flat and with overcast conditions and little breeze, the run was very enjoyable. At around the 18 mile mark, I surprisingly bumped into Nadia and kids in the car. Later on, at the 22 mile mark, they were beside the park waiting for me. It was nice to see them all and I even had time to give the kids a few kisses before proceeding further. Mekaal wanted to run with me as well, so was hard leaving him behind. At the home stretch, as I was coming to the finish line, they announced on the public system that I was running 3 marathons in 3 weeks to raise funds for the flood victims. The whole crowd applauded and cheered me on as I crossed the line. The only downside was when they were announcing this; Nadia was taking a video of me. When we got home, we discovered that she had actually forgotten to press the “record” button!!! Other than that, it was a great weekend as we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. I even managed to raise some funds as the charity box had quite a few coins in it. A great race and will surely do it again!!!
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.