The Penultimate Marathon: Race 11: Kidderminster, Worcestershire

The Penultimate Marathon: Race 11: Kidderminster, Worcestershire

After possibly the longest year of their lives, Emma Preston and Clint Nykamp’s 12 Marathons Challenge is drawing to a close. The pair travelled to Kidderminster, Worcestershire for their penultimate race, on Saturday 16th February.

It was a warm sunny day in the West Midlands and the pair enjoyed a later start than usual. The race began at 10am with 14 competitors, making this one of the smallest races in the challenge yet. Surprisingly, this brought its own challenges…


Race time: 6 hours, 39 minutes

Emma said: “I should have been wary when the course organisers said ‘except for one small hill, the course is generally flat.’ That ‘one small hill’ rose steeply for over 100 metres, which felt like a mile, and we had to run up it six times. As for the rest of the course, I would not describe the gently undulating course as ‘flat.’ 

“That said, the weather was perfect, neither cold nor hot and we got underway at 10am on the dot. This race was mentally very challenging. It was a very small field of only 14 starters, so I knew from the outset that I would be running very much on my own and it was a foregone conclusion that I would be the last to finish. 

Emma enjoying "jeffing", interval-style running. 

“The course was strange. You ran two miles from the start, then did six mini laps of around 1.8 miles each, then back to the start, leaving three ‘out and backs’ of two miles each way to make up the final distance. It was repetitive and soon became quite soul destroying. I knew by the final one that there was no one at the turn point. I then spent two miles arguing with myself about the fact that no one would know if I cut it short and therefore I would be able to get away with it. I continued to berate myself all the way to the actual turn point, not a single step short of the distance, and then trudged all the way back.

“I can’t believe that Race 11 is finished and we only have one final marathon left. We will travel to Walton-on-Thames on 2nd March and we will have finally completed our 12 Marathons Challenge. I won’t know what to do with my weekends!”

Emma crossing the finish line of the penultimate race.



Race time: 5 hours, 20 minutes

Clint said: “This was definitely the oddest course of the challenge. But, in the last ‘out and back’ I started to cramp up and struggle. It is difficult to give your body time to stretch and recover when you know there is still another two miles left to go. With only 14 runners in the whole race, there wasn’t a gigantic crowd to push you along like we had in Brighton for Race 1 or Richmond for Race 6.

“The toughest part of this marathon has been the recovery. I was absolutely shattered on Sunday and still felt exhausted and very sore when I went to work on Monday which is new for me because I usually recover really quickly.”

Clint enjoying the greenary before the next hill climb.


Emma and Clint will run their final race in the 12 Marathons Challenge on Saturday 2nd March at Walton-on-Thames. To mark the occasion, the pair will start and finish the race together. Clint will try jeffing, Emma’s interval-style running technique, and they will enjoy their final race as a team.

For every £3,000 the pair raise, The Fine & Country Foundation will award another full grant to a homeless charity this spring. To apply for a grant, please click here


19th Feb 2019

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