There are many official marathon races around, but no one really suits you? A phenomenon is now spreading: the DIY Marathons.
A DIY Marathon is at heart a group of friends going for a run. You don’t pay to take part and you need to look after yourself. In a DIY Marathon each runner is responsible for navigating their own way around the route, and for providing their own food and drink. And if they are tired or injured and want to quit, they need to find their own way to the finish.
Basically a DIY Marathon is what here at Movimentore we love the most: spontaneity and social attitude.
We’ve got in touch with Pete a DIY Marathoner from Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, England. A man, an inspiration.
After taking part in many running events before but never a marathon, Pete decided to create his own route. He claimed he had two main reasons: “First, there are no marathons with attractive routes near where I live. Second, on the path next to the canal near home is a sign that says “Manchester 26 miles”. I have often looked at it and wondered…”.
Pete then shared his idea with the runners he knows, finding that most of them were keen on the idea although some wanted to run a half marathon instead. In the end he organized a marathon, a half marathon and a 10k, all on the same route and all finishing at the same place – and at about the same time.
The event took place on April 24th – the same day as the London Marathon. It started in the centre of Manchester and finished in the centre of Hebden Bridge (see the route here). The half marathon started in Rochdale, with a start time 2 hours after the full marathon. The route follows a canal all the way. It is relatively flat, easy to follow, doesn’t involve many road crossings and is interesting and scenic.
“I didn’t advertise the event except to people I know as this was the first time and I wasn’t sure how things might work. Even so we had over 20 people running on the day”, Pete said.
Despite the fact in a DIY Marathon all runners have to take care of themselves, you can’t leave organization to pure chance. “The organisation took longer than I thought! But it was worth it because the run was fantastic”.
It wasn’t all about running, though. Pete made the DIY a fundraising event: “I used the run to raise money for the World Land Trust and in the end raised over £900. In the week before the event a friend said that if I ran the route in less than 4 hours then he would double his contribution. I was anticipating that I could do it in 4:00 – 4:30 so this was a hard challenge but in the end I managed it. But only just – 3:58”.
Pete had only intended to organize the event once, but his enthusiasm seemed to be contagious. “The best part for me was how much everyone else enjoyed themselves. I had only intended to organise the event once but at the end everyone was talking about “next year” so maybe I will do it again”.
Right now Pete is putting a website together, his aim is partly to make a record of the day but also to encourage others to organise something similar elsewhere.
Go organize a DIY event and run together!
Update: Pete has published his website.