We’ve been following Husam’s progress from injury to marathon over the last few months and on Sunday 26th October, he was at the start line of the Venice Marathon.

While his training had been going smoothly throughout the year, he hit a stumbling block in the last few weeks before the race when he fell ill and had to miss a couple of half marathons he had signed up for in preparation. As well as not giving him a chance to build up to his final race, this also gave him cause for concern.

But luckily, the weather in Venice on the 26th was perfect. In his own words, there were “blue skies, no chance of rain, no wind, everything I had wished for.” Another stroke of luck was that the early start was made more bearable by the clocks going back!

He was at the Mestre Train Station for 6.30am (!!) to catch the bus to the starting line. The atmosphere even then was great. The race was well organised, with lots of toilets (always essential – no one wants to queue when they’re after a PB!) and plenty of warm tea.

Due to the problems Husam experienced in the last few weeks before the final race, he really wanted to finish the course without any injury. He started the race at a slower than normal pace and felt fine. He stopped at the 20k (12.4 miles) marker to fuel up on some oranges and bananas they were offering on the course.

He next stopped at 25k (15.53 miles) and 30k (18.6 miles) – but still couldn’t see Venice! He was slowed down by the uphill approach to the 30k marker and, as it was difficult to keep momentum, he was forced to run-walk. In fact, he alternated between running and walking from here until the end of the race.

Husam’s aim was to finish in under 4.5 hours, but instead he managed just under 5 hours. Despite not reaching his goal, Husam is very happy with his performance. He managed to finish in a good time, in spite of illness leading up to the race and didn’t suffer any injuries – apart from the expected blisters! Most importantly, he enjoyed most of the run, with the worst bit probably being between 30 – 35k. Due to his flu-like symptoms in the last month, his longest training run was only 16 miles – to finish a race 10 miles longer than that is an incredible achievement. He didn’t even hit the wall until 30k (18.6 miles), which just goes to show that a lot of challenges like these are as much about mental preparation as physical preparation.

Thanks to this race, Husam is psychologically better prepared for his next marathon as he now knows that he can complete it. Knowing you can do it is often half the battle. As he didn’t get a place in the London Marathon, he has decided to take on the Paris Marathon instead on 12th April 2015. While this seems a long way a way as we all focus on Christmas, that’s just 5 months preparation, so he won’t be able to slack over the festive period!

We’re looking forward to seeing any photos that Husam’s friends were able to take and will be keeping you up to date on his road to Paris in the New Year!

Are you taking on any challenges in 2015?