Sweet like chocolate.

New Stablemate on the block Robbie “Celestial” Cox clocked an astronomical 2:48 at the Valencia Marathon before quickly “getting on the beers” for his mate’s stag! 

The hobbyist astrophotographer (see: could tell it was written in the stars that he wasn’t in PB shape (2:37), but even after a mediocre build-up, he “enjoyed himself,” placing “about 2,000th” in the incredibly stacked field. 

The Stable News best man, Ally “the Chin” Smith, couldn’t wait to hear all about it from the celestial body: 

AS: Pleased to meet you, Robbie. Tell me what went down. 

RC: I entered as part of a clubmate’s stag do. There were 20 of us from Woking AC (in Surrey, England) who made the trip out there, including fellow stablemates Ben and Mark.

The gang.

Unfortunately, my build-up had been decimated by a series of terribly timed and hugely frustrating illnesses brought home by my two-year-old daughter; I only managed two long runs in the last eight weeks. So my goal was just to get round and (attempt to!) have fun. 

AS: The joys!

RC: I really enjoyed the first half. I was barely breathing and got into a nice rhythm, getting practically carried through the race in a giant pack of hundreds of runners. I could tell I was in much better aerobic shape than I’d expected, which shows the Stazza training worked! 

However, the chickens came home to roost from mile 16 as my legs suddenly remembered they weren’t used to this distance and slowly got more and more painful. But I didn’t let the shooting quad pain affect me (other than halving my stride length and making me look like a race walker), and I managed to soak in the atmosphere and cross the finish line smiling and fully compos mentis. 

Clear blue skies.

AS: Hee-hee, I’d have loved to have seen your race walk style! Congrats on a galactic gallop, but enough about that. How was the stag do? 

RC: A couple of hours later, we were all on the beers, and a whole different challenge began! As you can imagine, a bunch of people who had just run 26 miles refuelling with sangria was as messy as it sounds. (One of us got arrested.)

AS: Crikey! 

RC: Some tepid seafood and multiple tequila shots later, and I was throwing up on the very streets I had run down earlier. A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

AS: Hahahaha, for crying out loud! Sounds like the perfect way to finish the jolly boys’ outing. What’s your plan for 2024? 

RC: While I have a toddler, it’s going to be tough to get the kind of uninterrupted build-up and peaking I’d need to do justice at the marathon. Plus, I feel I have unfinished business at the 5K with my PB sitting at 16:02. So the first half of 2024 will be spent trying to get faster over 12-and-a-half laps. And then I’ll go from there.

AS: Starting the year off with a big bang! I like it. Well done on surviving the stag, and I’ll be back in touch when you break 16. 

RC: Cheers, Ally. 

Mystic Coach Stazza had just shuffled his tarot cards and had this to say on Cox’s candid canter: 

“Ahh, yes … It’s clear to see that Coxy loves astrology … I could see the outcome from the way his moon chart was aligning with Mars during an Aquarius rising … Ah, who am I kidding! … No one could’ve predicted that tremendous display in the city of Vivir Sin Dormir … Or what would happen next! Cracking stuff, Coxy!”