Going for gold.

Stablemate Mark “the Legend” Rose battled shooting sciatic sensations and a gelly belly to finish just shy of his PB with a very respectable 2:51 at the Valencia Marathon. 

Ally “the Chin” Smith caught up with the Legend himself for The Stable News

Ally: Happy New Year, Mark! Sorry it took so long to catch up; I still don’t know what day it is! Tell me all about it. 

Mark: Valencia is a brilliant marathon—fast, flat, wide roads, decent weather, and a stacked field. What’s not to like? 

This year’s race doubled up as a running stag do for one of my friends (not a Stablemate … yet!) and fellow Stablemates Ben, Robbie, and myself went over as part of a group of around 20 from the UK. 

Ally: Ben kept that quiet! Go on

Mark: We managed to be sensible on the Friday and Saturday nights with non-alcoholic beers, but that all changed Sunday night once the race was over. Let’s just say the flight home on Monday was a struggle! And Ben Goddard is a far better runner than a drinker.

Just Say No.

Ally: That’ll be why he kept it quiet then, ha-ha! 

Mark: As for the race itself, I was reasonably happy with my time after a wave of sciatica curtailed much of this training block and hit me hard around mile 16. Pretty uneventful (in a good way), otherwise—sensibly paced and taking on fuel at the right times. Though the new Maurten Gel 160s are a huge quantity to take in. After the first two, I felt a bit sick, despite taking them over a few minutes each. So for the remaining ones, I only took about two-thirds and chucked the rest. Think I’ll switch back to the 100s next time.

Ally: Oof, a pain in the butt and a turbulent tummy are not what you want before a night out, never mind during a full Mary! Excellent result regardless, Mark. What’s next? 

Mark: My 2024 goal is an autumn marathon (maybe Amsterdam) and try to get the time back in the 2:40-something range. To do that, I need to rediscover some gears, as I feel like a single-speed bike at the moment. So there’s plenty of speed work in the plan. I’m also going to be sensible (or at least try!) and focus on the marathon and avoid doing a few ultras in the build-up as I did in 2023.

Stazza, you see, I do listen sometimes!

Ally: Ha-ha, he’ll like that. Congratulations on a valiant Valencian expedition, Mark. Here’s to a speedier 2024.

Mark: Thanks, Ally. 

The Stablemaster donned his pink cycling shorts, luminous yellow crop top, and green bum bag in preparation for his Mr Motivator DVD workout: 

Hoo-haHoo-ha! … That’s it, kids … No more pastries and fine wine for The Stablemaster … Time to get in shape … I’ll be back at my race weight in no time! 

 And what about our lad Mark Rose … Striding home in just over 2:50 at Valencia … Sensational … And if it’s more speed he’s after, I’ll pop Mr Motivator in the post to get him on his way … Great stuff, Mark!”