Places in the world alphabetical order
I had my head in the clouds, literally, when the idea began to germinate. In 2013 I pledged to run my first marathon in my 65th year. Amsterdam was booked and on the way back from Marseilles, where I had run the half, I was looking through the races listed the free magazine, Distance Running. I spotted The Bahamas Marathon, and knowing my wife had always wanted to go there I decided to enter it. Then I wondered if I could follow with others starting with C, then D etc. When the answer seemed to be 'yes' I decided to push the idea to its extreme; why not do (my first) 26 marathons, in alphabetical order AND in different countries. It wasn't a matter of 'why do it' but really 'why not'.
I spent the next couple of months researching possible races, trying to find out if it had already done by anyone else, and wondering how often I could run a marathon. Doing them as quickly as possible was a priority in case my body decided it didn't want to run 42.2km for too many years. I hadn't even run one marathon yet.
Running in Bermuda.
The idea was almost derailed before it started because a stress fracture in my foot meant Amsterdam was out of the question. Fortunately The Authentic Athens Marathon three weeks after the Amsterdam date still had places available, so I entered and successfully ran it. Actually it really was the correct place to begin my project; the race starts at Marathon, where the Athenian army defeated the Persians and Phidippides ran to Athens to report the victory.
Over the next 1245 days I completed another 24 marathons, on six continents, and on 9th April this year I was on the start line in Zurich for number 26.
Along the way there were challenges which I wondered might be too great. Early in the journey running four weeks apart seemed daunting but 12 months later this reduced to races on consecutive weekends and others two weeks apart that involved travelling back from New Zealand then to Jamaica a couple of days later and finally X and Y were six days apart in hot conditions in south east Asia. All challenges were successfully overcome. And another extra task I set myself, to run all of the marathons after Athens faster than that first one was also successfully completed.