As I mentioned in my column last week, it was good to see that Norfolk now has a marathon again, especially on the back of the big three marathons in Brighton, Manchester and London which also take place during April. 

Typically, and sadly, the weather turned out to be pretty awful for our Norfolk runners with rain, wind and some water on the course in places. 

Nevertheless, and despite the adverse conditions, they battled on and I do have to say that there were also some excellent finishing times despite the weather with John Hudson leading the runners home in a winning time of 2 hours 42 mins and 55 secs. 

Well done to John and everyone who took part. At the same time a big well done to the race director Steve Hitcham and all those marshals and helpers on the day. 

For most marathon runners, the month of April is considered the start of the marathon season which takes me back to the April marathons which I ran in, particularly my two runs in London in 1985 and 1986 and my wins in the Wolverhampton marathon in1987 and the Bungay and Norfolk marathons both in 1989. However, and perhaps significantly, my last ever competitive marathon was also in the month of April when racing in Nantes, France in 1992. 

Beforehand it had not been in my mind to wrap things up on my marathon career after this race and looking back I still regrettably wonder why I did. Maybe because I had a go at running some ultras after that whilst also getting involved with other sports such as football and boxing. 

However, I think the biggest factor which stands out the most for me was when one of the race organisers approached me after the finish saying it was a shame that I had such a disappointing run what with only finishing in seventh place in 2 hours and 24 mins. At the time I was a little taken aback as it was a very warm day with Russians taking the first four places and I thought I had done okay. 

Eastern Daily Press: Neil Featherby up on the rostrum with other runners who finished in the top 10 at the Nantes

I had travelled out to Nantes with Gerry Helme who was a brilliant runner having finished second in the London Marathon in 1983 in a time of 2 hours and 10 mins and Kevin Taylor who was also a very tough athlete who could boast a half marathon time of 65 mins. On the day I finished just ahead of both for which we were also the winning team.  After those comments about me having had a poor run though, my thoughts turned to thinking that it was perhaps time to stop trying to run fast marathons and hence having a go at the longer distances. 

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As already mentioned, I now I wish I hadn’t but it is what it is and, of course, a day hasn’t gone by without me getting at least one run in since July 1981. This has also included some amazing long distance runs for charity over the years where I have still been forced to extend myself whilst raising lots of money for great causes. 

Eastern Daily Press: Neil Featherby out on his own during the Nottingham to Grantham Ultra Marathon with just anglers

At the ripe old age of 66, I value being able to get out there and run each day more than ever now and I do have to say after watching London and seeing all the many posts on Facebook from those who completed a marathon in April (including Boston in the US), maybe there is just one more decent challenge left in me yet. We will see… 

Footnote – One other thing about the month of April is that my first running column with Mark Armstrong appeared in the EDP 7 years ago on April 28th, 2017. ‘How on earth do you find something to write about each week? - I am regularly asked. 

When running has one way or another shaped your life – it’s easy!