“This is the story all about how our lives got flip-turned upside down and I’m going to take a minute, just you sit there, man, I’ll tell you how we came up with the Maravan.”
Darren began running in 2007, to stop his wife from nagging, although he caught the bug quite hard.
His first marathon was in Edinburgh in 2008, and after about 17 miles, someone from the 100 Marathon Club ran alongside and had a chat. He said he was on his second marathon of the weekend.
Until then, Darren had followed the conventional wisdom that said that if you run more than two marathons a year your feet will explode, but then decided to have a go at three or four a year.
Three or four a year became ten, and the rest is history.
Darren’s big discoveries were Enigma Running in MK, and the North East Marathon Club in, unsurprisingly, the North East. They put on low-key lapped marathons for which the focus was to go out and have a good time rather than run a good time.
“Foxy”, David Bayley at Enigma was a five time participant in the Brathay 10 Marathons in 10 Days challenge in the Lake District, and his events are set up as doubles. He introduced Darren to the world of back-to-back marathon running, and Darren completed the Enigma Quadzilla, 4 in 4 days challenge twice.
While doing all this running, Darren was learning what he liked and didn’t like about the little events, then one evening, at Thunder Run, a 24 hour relay, after having taken a couple too many drinks to be completely rational, he was discussing an idea with his teammates about having a double marathon like Enigma’s, but with a team relay alongside it so that friends could join in the fun.
The Maravan was born.
The first year of the Maravan was a steep learning curve. Flour arrows washed away, and tape blew away. The 12 signs on the course weren’t enough and the first runners came into the finish area in the completely wrong direction. Someone ended up on the seafront, and a caravan owner got particularly angry with all the noise. Toilets were in a pub a quarter of a mile away. Thankfully, as most of the runners of the first day were Darren’s friends and well-wishers, they were happy to advise without getting too angry! Quick thinking fixed the course for the Sunday, though, and several people said they’d be back.
Most importantly, Norma had come down to support her daughter, Fiona, asked what she could do. Darren asked if she could help with the feeding table, and an amazing partnership was formed!
It was enough of a confidence boost to try again in 2015, which worked much better, and brought Sue Burton into the fray – she’d come down to support her husband Rod who thought he’d give it a go, and he brought the masses from Caistor Running Club with him. Sue asked if she could do anything, Darren asked if she could help count the runners in, and the amazing parnership became a team!
So we did it again in 2016. By which time Darren had finished his 8 year journey to join the 100 Marathon Club!
Fran and Chris joined the fray in 2017 with their music and dancing, and briefly, Robey the Panda, as they’d heard about the fun the previous year, they liked it so much they stayed, bringing Fran’s brother Ian into the team in 2018, and with the addition of the medical team in 2019, the one-man band event in 2014 has grown into a well-polished and well loved “craft” marathon that people keep coming back to.
And as it’s the only one we do, we do it well.
So who’ll join the team in 2020…?