Rick Ryder Running the World! well a few European Cities Marathons!

Athens DNF November 2012
Hello fellow TRRACies i did my recovery run at parkrun this morning… my time reflects how much recovering i had to do!
my BA flight was delayed by two hours, i missed the pasta party, Up early the next morning i set off by coach at 0530 for the town of marathon having had only 3 hours restless sleep and hungry.. the atmosphere and organization by the greek athletic federation was top drawer… and i set off at a “i must finish this” pace… 2 hours at 20km and everything was going to plan and comfortable…then the hill and the heat bit… at 25km after taking a gel washed down with blue lucozade! everything went visually white and my legs went wobbly! i sat on the kerb to straighten my vision and my cotton wool filled head… the red jump suited medics quickly responded but i pushed on to 27km a medic said “electrolyte?” i said yes please… but i think he over done the salt content.. at 28km i cried enough…. and crossed the armco to the other carriageway where a battered police riot bus was picking up the sick lame and lazy…for the sad ride home to Athens… only 3 more kilometers and the brow of the hill was there….it was all down hill after that… it was very hard picking up your bag from the white marble rebuilt Olympic stadium as runners finished to fantastic support and bravo, bravo, ringing in your ears… my head was hanging lower than my shoulder blades… as i dragged my sorry butt back to the hotel…. i felt a fraud as Athenians called out well done and bravo…(wearing my TRRAC shirt,) kindness to foreigners is part of the Greek culture i have grown to love, i spent the next 3days in bed recovering and i still had a cotton wool filled head a week after…the wheels certainly fell off! but today’s park-run was uplifting and reminds me why i run… i have unfinished business in Greece and i have a small mountain to climb….! next year i will be there…..
London marathon 2013 pics (running for Annie!)



Athens November 2013





Rome March 2014 new PB
London Marathon April 2014 for Demelza Children’s Hospice
Hi yep I’m running The Virgin London Marathon for Demelza Children’s Hospice, Adding life to days when days cannot be added to life, Demelza Hospice Care for Children is a charity supporting families across Kent, South East London and East Sussex
My Running story…. After seeing a photograph of myself sitting my 18 month old daughter on my Racing motorcycle, I had a cigarette hanging from my lips! my daughter had a Drip attachment from antibiotics fighting meningitis (she was attending Q, E, Q, M, every night for a week) I could see so much wrong in that picture I still cringe now! so I gave up racing motorcycles, I gave up the cigarettes but put on weight and in spring 2010 as I approached 50 realized I needed to shape up, I started with a 2 mile jog, my route was from King Ethelbert School to Epple Bay past the cliff edge and golf course over the railway bridge back to king Ethelbert I did this every day for 3 months, I was part walking for the first week then a slow jog then eventually I managed 3 laps which was six miles and I entered Stelling Minnis as my first 10k race, crikey that big hill killed me… but a huge slice of coffee gateaux at the finish and I was hooked! I worked my distance up to run the Bexhill half marathon (The Poppy Run) November Remembrance Sunday that year and thought that was the maximum distance I could ever ever run but the feeling of elation driving home to Thanet afterwards made me decide I could build up to the Big One…. so after some training runs between my home in Birchington, Roman Galley Reculver to Margate Harbour I built up to 21 miles in 3 hours 15 minutes. the best decision I ever made was to join a running club. and the second best was to make it Thanet Road Runners… the support has been fantastic be it wise words or just gentle praise from club marshals. the support from committee members from the top down makes every member feel special, I know I will never become an elite athlete but giving me the running number 1 on my vest for my first ever marathon (The Kent Coastal Marathon) was a master stroke of kindness by the Thanet club (Sharon?) and being paced by fellow club members in the first half helped and I eventually got my very weary bones across the line in 4 hours 30 minutes, my goal is to crack under that time at this years London Marathon. Last Summer I took early retirement from being a uniformed civil servant at Dover Immigration Removal Centre and took a part time job as caretaker at the Marlow Academy which has helped my training times. last November (2013) I managed to beat the large terrain that had beaten me the year before at Athens and I intend to try a flat Rome in March (23rd) wish me luck for Rome and London.. and please please donate to Demelza.

Rick Ryder
Where’s Wally?

Barcelona Marathon Yesterday 15th March 2015

I have often publicised on Thanet Road Runners Forum the disappointments of failed VLM ballot places and the benefits of European City Marathons, so about six months ago I decided Barcelona was a City I wanted to add to my Athens, London, Rome Marathon Tourist list. Entry fee was 60 euro, British Airways approx £100 return and I can highly recommend The Apollo Hostel for only £16 a night.

The Marathon expo, start and finish is at the huge roundabout called the “Placa De Espanya”,
which happens to be the first drop off point for the every 12 minutes Aero Bus service, airport to Barcelona a 15 min trip for 7 euro, I flew out from Gatwick at 0730 Saturday morning, it is a short 90 minute flight and by lunchtime I was in the huge Expo collecting my chip and bib, a very slick operation, I resisted some very shiny running gear that was guaranteed to shave hours off my finish time! instead went outside into the sunshine and milled about with the hundreds of multinational runners soaking up the atmosphere with Freddie Mercury singing Queens Barcelona very loudly from the PA system, there was lots of people in a real Marathon party atmosphere, something we do not manage to replicate at VLM registration! I then wandered down the paral lel (parralel lines?) leading off “Placa De Espanya” which is also the finish straight and it is a long slight incline up the hill to finish!
I found my Hostel behind the Apolo Teatre in the district of Theatres, Tapas bars, Restaurants etc so well placed but the entrance was inconspicuous with a buzzer entrance system, a short walk up some dingy well worn marble staircase to the Hostel entrance.
Once inside it was like the Tardis very spacious and spotlessly clean with a new fresh youthful décor, furnishings and young friendly staff who could not be more helpful and despite only booking for one night were quite happy for me to return and shower and change after the Marathon finish, the superb English speaking staff gave me the Magnetic card that allowed all access to required entrance and room doors and operated the room lights, a free use of room TV, Fridge, and Combination Safe (all this for £16) I also picked up an information leaflet on the open top “Tourista Bus” which I found from Rome last year is certainly the best way to View and listen to Guided City Tours.
I didn’t bother with the free pasta party at the Expo and decided instead to visit Leonies Tapas bar opposite the Apolo teatre a slice of Tortilla , a drink, Spaghetti and tomato bread for a very reasonable 17 euro. with the big day Tomorrow I was tucked up in my bed for 10.

Marathon Day, bright sunshine a gentle cool breeze I walked the 2 kilometres up parallel lines towards “Placa De Espanya” consuming two GO bars (I hope they do what it ses on the tin!) washing them down with blue Lucosade (powerade?) vested and bibbed runners appearing from side streets and alleys, Hotels as we walked up the hill the numbers increased until we joined the throng of thousands at “Placa De Espanya” the atmosphere was now intense. a slick well controlled bag drop later and we funnelled into our starting pens the P A system was whipping the crowd up with the usual themes, Rocky eye of the tiger etc, and we set off to Freddie’s Barcelona again to high volume accompanied by cannon fired ticker tape confetti fired high over the runners! Awesome motivation and atmosphere. carried by the crowd of runners the early kilometres clicked by and soon the multiple drum bands, rock groups and friendly Barcelona public shouting rick,rick,rick (must be Spanish for go faster! or I’m a legend in Spain!) carried us past Barcelona football ground, now I’m no soccer fan but I know an impressive place of pilgrimage when I run past one!…that and the even more impressive buildings by Gaudi and the truly magnificent cathedral familia sagrada just blows you away on first sight. still the kilometres clicked by aided by the well staffed water, powersport drink and gel stations every five clicks, non of the aggressive looking pre race studied topography appeared! there was just some gentle inclines, nothing to break even my low pain threshold into walking and finally there it was, the 2 kilometre gentle climb up parallel lines to the magnificent marble and sandstone fountain in the middle of the Plaza Espanya, the end was in sight. I found it very much like running along the sea wall to Reculver, it never seems to get any closer! but a look at my watch told me a PB was on the cards, ignore the growing amount of people now electing to walk the final climb, dig deep like Dora just keep swimming just keep swimming! around to the left past the huge twin columned venetian towers to the finish line and my reward of huge chunks of Spanish oranges and a jim’l fix it medal! (you probably will need to be over 50 to get that!)
half an hour later I’m outside a tapas bar sipping a large cool san miguel beer shouting encouragement to the weary as they finish the last 500 metres, is there a better feeling?

Where’s Wally next?
Rome Marathon on the 22nd March but flights are too expensive so its probably Moscow (£11 entry) flight £88 rtn in September
Rick Ryder visiting the Cities of the world on a budget and having a nice jog round!
Big thank you to my major sponsor Anne Ryder and Pegwell bay Park Run committee for my Asics Cumulus (Courtesy of SweatShop) which cushioned me home.
I never imagined when I stood on that parkrun start line four years ago new to running feeling very fat and fifty, I would have completed 4 fantastic city marathons before my 55th birthday, there is a whole world of fantastic people out there get out and run with them.

Moscow Marathon, a logistical nightmare was it worth it?

Because of the weak and falling rubble, Russia is a bargain destination!

Moscow Marathon opens its entries mid February the cost is £11, for which you will receive a quality Adidas Technical shirt, water, energy drinks and fruit every 5km along the route, oh and a finishers medal so big you could eat your dinner off it! you will need a medical certificate stamped and signed by a doctor.
you will need proof of travel/medical insurance

The easyjet flight Gatwick to Moscow booked 7 months in advance was only £88 return Friday to Monday.

Hotel accommodation, I researched start finish area and centre of Moscow for sightseeing and settled for Mini Hotel Kvartira №2 at approx £34 a night
You will need 6 months left upon your return from Russia before expiry of passport and a visa application http://ru.vfsglobal.co.uk/tourist.htm cost £50 +£38 service charge +£9 courier delivery of returned passport (ouch!) Note; you will need to attend the vfs global office to submit visa in person at which time you will be fingerprinted! so dial in the cost of a weekday visit to London via Barbican underground station, the waiting time is only 10 minutes in visa office thankfully. I applied for a 72hr Tourism.

My hotel was not very proactive in sending me the necessary booking reference / accommodation vouchers required for a visa so I engaged the help of Just Go Russia
they charged me £10 and gave me all the host tourist company numbers required!
(if you book a bigger say £100 a night hotel this would not be required as the bigger hotels would furnish all required accommodation vouchers etc, it soon became clear all these hoops may have been put in place as a reciprocal action, as we are making it increasingly difficult for Russian nationals to visit UK.

Lunch time Friday 18th and I arrived at Domodedovo airport and purchased an Aeroexpress train ticket to Paveletsky station Moscow (45 mins, approx £10 rtn 30 day ticket) Moscow Domodedovo Airport all Underground (Metro) tickets are only 50p per journey, now I’m no train spotter but the Metro is worth the Moscow visit alone look at the pictures http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/journeysbyrail/11590175/Moscow-Metro-80-years-of-the-worlds-most-beautiful-underground.html?frame=3295727

45 minutes metro (to Sportivnaya station) trip later and I have walked into the Moscow Marathon Expo located at State Central Concert Hall Rossiya at the Luzhniki Sports Complex, I presented my Med Cert, passport ID and collected my race pack/bib including required wrist bands for starting pens
The Grand Sports Arena of the Luzhniki Olympic Complex | Stadiums | Beauty, health, sports | Where | Moscow Travel Portal
Saturday was sightseeing day, walking along the river admiring the golden onion topped churches and the imposing Kremlin walls, a fantastic well policed, clean city where I felt safe being a lone tourist Take a tour | Where | Moscow Travel Portal.
Sunday 20th September Race day
up at 0730, a breakfast of a couple of sweet oat bars washed down with black coffee and peach juice then the short walk to the Metro then onto Sportivnaya station the atmosphere is incredible as thousands file out of the metro on towards Luzhniki Sports Complex all competitors must pass through metal detectors and bag searches showing wrist bands, bag drop and race pen entry went without incident or stress and I soon found myself counting down and off and running, really early on you find yourself running through the modern architecture of the new city Inspiration Modern Architecture Skyscrapers the 10km runners who all set off with you are directed off to the right as you run down wide 6 lane roads with a policeman at every lamppost security was high but there are few spectators in this area. at 12kms there’s the first climb into the older part of the city but for the most part the Marathon route is alongside the river with all the iconic views, at about 22kms I had a little walk at the brow of a hill then oops! I watched my 4.15 pacer flag slip by at 25km and the 4.30 pacer flag at 33km said to me just get your old crate home, running past red square and the Kremlin walls was great with better support here, water stations are every 5kms and with one exception well stocked and I’m blaming the hills the heat and (the truth) lack of practice miles! for not pushing on ..but happy to claim the t shirt and medal, what a fantastic city, thank you Moscow. (yes it was worth the Red tape!) where’s Wally next?
Rick Ryder