We are all individuals and more and more of us these days want that personalised experience.

Many of us achieve this by enrolling in an event to set a personal goal and do something unique.

In the US and Canada alone the Total number of people who finished a marathon in 2013 was over 550,000.

55,000 of those were just from one race, the New York marathon.



Of course, this is a fantastic event and anything that involves that many people will make you feel amazing and part of something much bigger than yourself.

But what if you were the only competitor, no crowds cheering you on, no drink stations, no toilets, no medals, just you?

This is my DIY Marathon

I have never run a marathon before and was apprehensive about trying one as it is a bloody long way and I always wanted to do one that was in some way different than just running on a road, something unique.

As part of my training schedule one Sunday, I had to run for 4 hours.

Based on my running pace that would take me up to the 42km marathon distance.

And so without any pre planning I drove up to a small town just outside Melbourne, Australia and decided to find a trail… and just run for four hours.

The mid-winter day was cold and very wet and the tracks were muddy and uneven. I was surrounded by mist and with no one else around I headed deep into the forest trails and with each step closer to the magical 42 km mark.

I brought all my food and water with me and followed one path until I came to a split in the track and then just chose another way to go.

Free running is a special way to discover new places, like a young child in a new home I just kept exploring without rules or restraints.

The weather closed in and visibility shortened but with this came a calmness and freedom I seldom felt so close to a big city.

I was one hour away from two million people but felt completely alone.

DIY Marathon Full Course Trails

This was my crowd and my inspiration to keep going

Every track was a new adventure, with a beauty unique to that place and that moment.

DIY Marathon Full Course Trails

Nature has a way to inspire and make you feel small and fragile

Suddenly by complete chance, I stumbled into a location I had been before, the first trail run I had ever run, through a garden, I never knew existed before that day.

I went to visit this old friend. It was like a gift for my hard work.

DIY Marathon Full Course Trails

my old friend the Alfred Nicholas Gardens 

Then back to the trail, to find my way home with nothing but the sound of rain on the leaves and native birds calling.

The sun still filtered through the mist but sat lower and the shadows hung longer across the trees.

DIY Marathon Full Course Trails

Not panicked, the day slowly turned to dusk and with that my goal seemed almost achievable and what a feeling overcame me.

The natural rush you get from being completely drenched, just surviving on pure adrenaline, in a misty bubble is something I will never forget and which is unique to that moment and so it was unique to me.

As the sun set, I found my way back down a steep hill to where it all had started.

I look at my watch – 4hours 20mins and the distance 42.1 km.

Never again will all these elements align as they did that day.

Each supporting the other to give me my first Marathon, my DIY Marathon.

This is my Strava report - Glad someone knew where I was going
There is always ups and downs on a run and here is visual representation of mine

This was my mobile cafe. It kept me fed and watered for the day

Written by Douglas Trail Director - FullCourseTrails


About the Author 

Douglas is an active Trail and Ultrarunner and has competed in many off-road distance events.

Events include The Surf Coast Century, The Roller Coaster Marathon, Buffalo Stampede Sky Marathon and The Australian North Face 100.

He has a passion for technology that complements his love for trail running and is the happiest while on the move capturing his adventures on the trails.