'COVID edition’ of the Marcothon ‘over and out’

Marcothoners run last month of a miserable year into the ground, one day at a time

There will have been sore feet – as well as sore heads – for thousands of Marcothoners across Scotland and the rest of the world last Friday morning as they celebrated the end of their daily running challenge on New Year's Eve.

Founded 12 years ago by Glasgow-based internationals Marco Consani and Debbie Martin-Consani, the Marcothon sets runners a very straightforward challenge: to run at least 3 miles or 25 minutes every day in December, including Christmas.

From attracting just 500 Facebook likes in 2010, the challenge now draws over 6500 followers to its dedicated page. The Marcothon Strava group has been equally successful, now boasting nearly 5500 members from countries as far afield as Australia, Morocco, France, Brazil and the USA.

In addition to running every day for the minimum set time/distance, one of the other ‘10 Commandments of Marcothon’ is for runners to share their experiences – something this year’s crop of runners has really taken to heart.

This year’s participants shared poetry (‘Chapeaux to the Marcothon runners’ [‘A wee ode in honour of everyone still in’ by John Munro]), inspirational stories and proud announcements of sums raised for local charities and good causes. Runners also shared pictures of the balloons, bottles and buddies waiting for them at the end of their last runs.

Many runners took the ‘personal’ part of this year’s personal challenge quite literally, with some dedicating their miles to the honour of lost family and friends. One runner completed his challenge with a 13 km effort – one kilometre for every week of his father’s battle with cancer.

More than ever, the 2020 Marcothon was about more than just grinding out the miles.

As Claire Henderson, ‘feeling proud to have achieved this milestone’, wrote on the Facebook page: ‘It’s not just getting to the 31st having run every day. It’s the person you become on that journey ... it’s the things you learn on the journey and the people you meet who inspire and encourage. It’s friends and family that keep you going and push you out the door when you don’t have the energy ... it’s the shortbread you have for breakfast knowing you’ve earned it.’

runABC’s Christine completed her first Marcothon this year. She told us, “I thought it would feel like marathon training, but it was nothing like it. Not having to think about pace or logging major miles – or having the option to wimp out in the face of driving wind and rain for that matter – made the challenge feel very much part of me, not something in addition to me, if that makes sense.

“Having a set three-mile route around my house gave me some much-needed mental space on difficult days: knowing I’d have 25 minutes to myself at some point kept me going. It was a trick to get out the door at times, but once I did, I revelled in the quiet of the dark evenings. Doing a lot of short runs also made me appreciate the long runs I did even more.

“Without a doubt the hardest day was Boxing Day, as I felt deflated and full at the same time. All in, though, it’s an amazing challenge, and ‘chapeaux’ to Debbie Martin-Consani for her efforts in organising and encouraging Marcothoners for more than a decade.”

For her part, Martin-Consani rounded off comment on the Marcothon 'COVID edition' beautifully on the Facebook page, writing: ‘Who knows what 2021 will bring, but one thing is for sure, we’ll be back here on December 1.”

Image courtesy: Debbie Martin Consani (Facebook)

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