Three marathons in three weeks

Tuesday 30th May 2023

Taff Atkinson reports on her three marathons in three weeks...

I’ve wanted to run the London marathon for 33 years and, many failed ballots later, I was finally privileged to be a recipient of one of the Phoenix club places for April 2020. But then Covid hit - so I ran the virtual London marathon on a wet, windy, muddy Downs Link. For the physical London Marathon, I then had to enter a ballot to determine whether it would be in April 2022 or October 2022. I got October 2022 and enjoyed a strong block of training only to go down with flu the day before the race, requiring a deferral to April 2023. By now, I wondered if I’d been cursed and would ever run the London Marathon…but I did!

My London marathon turned out to be a cold, wet day, but the incredible crowd support kept me going, especially after I’d had a fuelling issue around mile 19. I was delighted to make it to the finish line, be it somewhat later than I’d hoped!

Now, being marathon ready, I decided to run two more marathons - making it 3 marathons in 3 weeks and a chance to raise money for Cancer Research in support of a parent at my school who’d been recently diagnosed. My second “marathon” was the Mid Sussex marathon, run in three consecutive days in three different towns. The first 10 mile race at East Grinstead was a challenge, with ankle deep mud on much of the route. The second day’s 10 miles in Haywards Heath was a much dryer run, but quite hilly. By the third race, in Burgess Hill, my legs were really feeling it, but I persevered around the grassy hills. I also tried out a new fuelling system using an over-priced carbohydrate drink instead of gels – which, in fairness, seemed to work much better. (Comment from Steve – ‘hey if it works for Kipchoge…!’)

The third marathon was very special. You’ll all know that Rob Burrows, former Leeds rugby league player, is struggling with MMD and that his former team mate, Kevin Sinfield, has been tirelessly raising money for the MMD charity. For which the Leeds marathon, aka the Rob Burrows Marathon, raised over £1.5million.

Leeds has so many memories for me, from school to degree to my first years of teaching and, of course, it’s where I met Steve! Unfortunately, there was a train strike the day before so I had the long drive up to Leeds, but was a beautiful day for the race – in fact, a bit too hot after all my recent training and races in cold, wet conditions. The route took us into the centre and then out to the countryside, with a killer three mile hill from miles 17  to 20. I found this a real struggle, but got going again for the final 6 miles back into Headingly Stadium. The finish was very special, running onto the pitch with all the spectators cheering.

Before I finished, Kevin had been determined to cross the line with Rob, so he famously picked him up and carried him across the line. A very special moment. I managed to raise over £500 for Cancer Research, but couldn’t have completed these marathon challenges without the support and encouragement of Phoenix. Go V55 women!


Road Race

Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon

Sun 14 May 2023

Name Age Category Distance Time Position Age Position Gender Position
Tabitha Atkinson V55 Mar 4:54:32 4675   1079

Road Race

London Marathon

Sun 23 Apr 2023

Name Age Category Distance Time Position Age Position Gender Position
Jamie Corbett SEN Mar 2:30:33 142    
Gary McKivett V40 Mar 2:31:58 180 26  
Tim Clarke V40 Mar 2:43:08 817 156  
Alex Cruttenden V35 Mar 2:56:55 2335    
Helen Moss V35 Mar 2:59:30 2920   179
Mark Halls V55 Mar 3:10:43 4542 131  
Simon Lowe SEN Mar 3:18:04 5879    
Jacky Miller V40 Mar 3:26:07 7489 217 1223
Chris Coull V50 Mar 4:05:59 20071 1577  
Tabitha Atkinson V55 Mar 4:31:47 27788 439 8764
Tracy Mitchell V60 Mar 5:13:24 38306 338 13919

Road Race

Mid Sussex East Grinstead 10 Mile

Sat 29 Apr 2023

Name Age Category Distance Time Position Age Position Gender Position
Tabitha Atkinson V55 10MMT 1:57:49 163 5 54

Road Race, Sussex Grand Prix

Mid Sussex Haywards Heath 10 Mile

Sun 30 Apr 2023

Name Age Category Distance Time Position Age Position Gender Position
Nick Alexandrou V45 10MMT 1:01:58 11 1  
James Hampshire V40 10MMT 1:02:17 12 4  
Giles Newlyn-Bowmer V40 10MMT 1:07:24 31 7  
Pete Goodman V40 10MMT 1:07:44 34 9  
Phil Grabsky V55 10MMT 1:08:56 38 2  
Lance Bellers V60 10MMT 1:14:34 75 1  
Andrew Neighbour V50 10MMT 1:15:31 76 9  
Valentina Avella V40 10MMT 1:25:47 175 8 37
Andrew Haig V75 10MMT 1:29:09 200 2  
Tabitha Atkinson V55 10MMT 1:35:06 268 7 75

Road Race

Mid Sussex Burgess Hill 10K

Mon 1 May 2023

Name Age Category Distance Time Position Age Position Gender Position
Simon Heath V35 10KMT 35:29 1    
Tabitha Atkinson V55 10KMT 1:02:46 154 3 48