Signed Up for My First Live Marathon in 3.5 Years – Let’s GO!!!

Written by Charlie

I signed up for my first live marathon in over 3 years! Here is the one I chose and what I have been doing with running in the last couple of years.

It’s been a strange last couple of years with just about everything in the world due to Covid. With live running events, we saw some of the biggest marathon events in the world postpone and then cancel, not just once but twice for some. For marathoners, it is great to be able to get back out there and pound the pavement with our closes 10,000-20,000 friends and I have now signed up to do it again!

My First Marathon in 3.5 Years

Virtual Marathons Were OK…

Long before virtual marathons became a “thing”, I had done a bunch of them for training or for outright hitting the distance (see about my 6 solo marathons on 6 continents in 5 days). But, without races to run, I figured, “hey, why not?!” and signed up for some virtual marathons over the last couple of years to keep my training going and earn some nice medals along the way.

One of my favorite events was the highly supervised and very difficult Badwater 267 VR Elite. This was an excellent event that really pushed my limits as I covered 267 miles in 15 days. I also did a number of virtual marathon runs including the Marine Corps Marathon (twice), the Eugene Marathon (they were giving as medals part of the old Hayward Field!), and the Boston Marathon (once in a lifetime chance to get a virtual unicorn medal!).

The virtual medal from the Eugene Marathon – made from the old Hayward Field!

But, It’s Been 3.5 YEARS!

But, now I’m ready to get back to the real thing – more than ready!

My last marathon was the 2019 Tiberias Marathon which happened to be my fastest marathon yet (3:29). From that time, I did not do a live event again until this past November when I ran the Thessaloniki Half Marathon (I was really not well trained but the adrenaline from being back on the road really helped!). Now, I am headed to a marathon I actually had signed up for before but had to cancel on since my asthma kept me from doing any training at all – the Stockholm Marathon.

Why the Stockholm Marathon?

Why Stockholm? One major draw is that it ends in the 1912 Olympic stadium, a stadium that saw more Olympic records than any other. I am a sucker for cool finish areas and ending in an Olympic stadium is pretty cool! Also, it has a really great course around Stockholm and doesn’t retrace steps really.

Lastly, it starts at noon. While that may seem late to start in June, it is way north so it shouldn’t be too extreme with the temperatures. Why do I like this? I am really not an early morning runner. I can do it (and have done it) but I don’t prefer it. My favorite would be like a 9am but noon isn’t that bad.

Flights are booked (even had the rare upgrade space on Aegean so got to apply some expiring upgrade coupons!) and hotel secured (Radisson points do come in handy!) so that is ready. As far as race prep, I start my training program in middle March so am in the ramp up now for that.

What is My Plan for the Stockholm Marathon?

The question that remains is – how do I approach this marathon? I have done 60 live marathons/ultra marathons but only really trained for a good time in a few. Most of the time, I just run them for fun. So, do I try to surpass my last marathon and get an even faster time? Or, do I just enjoy the comraderie of the streets and go for fun? Or, do I chart something in the middle, like try for a 3:40 or something?

I will tell you this – I am leaning towards targeting a 3:20 because I want to see how close I can get to qualifying for Boston. I have a ways to go but I want to see if I can get closer. 🙂 Time will tell!

Have you run any marathons in the last year? Have you ever run the Stockholm Marathon?


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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.