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Next six months

Paul Every, Phil "Spud" Murphy and Jan Herrmann, running
legends all, at the summit of Mt Bogong on the way to Mt
Hotham in the 2005 Bogong to Hotham (I'm the photographer).

As mentioned previously, the reason I have restarted posting to this blog is that I'm now quite fit and think that if I can train consistently for the next six months, I can run a good marathon.  Maybe even near 3 hours.

I've always been a bit "old school" about marathon racing, believing that you need about three months between peak efforts  -  3-4 weeks to recover, 6-8 weeks of serious training, and 2-3 weeks of taper.  Of course, the running calendar is never that neat, so I will to focus on three races in which I want to do well over the next six months (the last being the marathon), and build my training around those.

Assuming I can get my entry accepted, the first will be the Rooftop Run (aka Bogong to Hotham) on 10 January, a 64km trail race across Victoria's High Plains.  The course is very challenging, with an aggressive cut-off at 34km, and the scenery is spectacular.  I have run it a few times before (see here), but not recently.

The second race will be the annual Six Foot Track Marathon (45km) in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney on 12 March, the largest ultramarathon in Australia, and a race I have run well a few times (and badly some others).  Like the Bogong to Hotham, the course is tough and the scenery beautiful.  It attracts the best runners in the state and has great atmosphere.

2005 Bogong to Hotham finishers.

For the marathon, I wanted to find a race that had a fast certified course, and plenty of sub-3 hour finishers.  However, one major factor has limited my choice.  For much of this year, I have been looking forward to spending three or more months hiking in Ireland during the northern spring of 2016.  Originally, I was going to fly out shortly after Six Foot Track, so I would be back in Australia around the end of June - plenty of time to prepare for the Great North Walk 100s (GNW100s) in mid-September, for which I am Race Director.  Now that a road marathon is on my agenda, my hiking will need to start later, but not too late or I won't be back in time for the GNW100s preparation.

I have decided that I can get by on four weeks recovery from Six Foot Track, arguing to myself that trail races aren't as hard on the body as road marathons.  I considered the races available in Australia, but none were suitable.  The Canberra Marathon is on 10 April, but the new course is undulating and not fast.  Looking to Europe, I found the Rotterdam Marathon and the Greater Manchester Marathon, also both on 10 April, and have decided that Greater Manchester is the best choice.  It's big (~8,000 finishers), but not as big as Rotterdam, has a flat certified course, and plenty of sub-3 hour finishers (~500).

Now I just have to get to the start in good shape and hope the weather obliges.