ASB Marathon stories: James Brown

22 July 2015 / Published in News & Stories

We’ve invited some of the ASB team who are participating in the ASB Auckland Marathon or the ASB Kerikeri Half Marathon to share their experience of training for the big day. This is the first entry in the series and is written by James Brown, ASB’s Head of Industry Development.

Why run a marathon? Trust me I have asked myself this question many times. At school I hated long distance running –  sprinting was my thing – and when the teacher wanted us to run further than 200m I would fake an injury or say I needed to use the bathroom (anything to miss it!).

Then later in life I found running very therapeutic; it became my time to think, de-stress and see the world through a different lens. I first ran a marathon because someone else couldn’t.

My partner lost her dad, Bruce, to Alzheimer’s and lung cancer. He loved everything about Scotland and was due to visit when he was struck down with illness. And being Scottish myself I decided that, in honour of Bruce, the Edinburgh Marathon would be my first attempt at a marathon. Bruce was cremated so my partner and I decided we would run with some of his ashes so that he finally got to see Scotland. He’d also be in a position to kick our butts should the distance begin to take its toll.

The race was very hard and very emotional for us, his wife and my family.

The second part of the story is that his wife wanted to scatter some of his ashes in Scotland so I decided that we would head to Scone Palace the original home of the Stone of Scone –  the crowning place of the last king of Scotland, Robert the Bruce (even as I write this I cannot stop the tears).

We found a beautiful spot in the butterfly garden near some Scottish Thistle where Bruce’s wife and daughter then scattered his ashes. The weather was amazing and so was the setting – Scotland had done me proud.

So I now run knowing that I am still able and when it gets hard I think about Bruce and he kicks me in the butt to help me get to the line.

Since then, I’ve gone on to compete in several endurance events including triathlons both in the UK and here in New Zealand. I wanted to complete all the distances in my first year – from sprint to full Ironman. My favourite was Challenge Wanaka – it was my first attempt all full distance (and just 5 days before I turned 40).

I’m looking forward to running the ASB Auckland Marathon for the second time – hopefully this time injury free and hitting my target time of 2 hours and 45 minutes.

I finished the ASB Auckland Marathon last year in considerable pain in my left leg which started 17km into the race, in a flood of tears I managed to drag myself across the line. Pulling out is never an option.

The time I have set for myself this year is very challenging and with a hamstring and an Achilles tendon not 100% it will be difficult; however I am committed to achieving my goal.

Find out more about the ASB Auckland Marathon.


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