Thanks Roeby, but nowhere near winning my category...
Probably slighly naive but didn't expect anyone to look me up. Impressed/intimidated with Seren's stalking skills. Agree that if I didn't have family/work/social stuff etc and could put in the longer runs, could go a lot faster but the reason I replied to Bbug was that I think it is possible to run an enjoyable and relatively pain free marathon without long training runs.
Beginner, 50 this year, took up running October last year, immediately hooked, joined club, did a Marathon (Portsmouth coastal) with only 3 months training, max run 14 miles, max weekly total 25 miles, came in just under 4 hours....hated it! last hour was hell and although pleased/elated to finish, didn't really want to ever consider repeating the experience.
Not sure why but got caught up in all the hype about spring marathons and decided to enter another marathon in April this year (North Dorset village)...wanted to get some long training runs in, could completely see that there was good evidence that your cumulative 5 longest training runs should be at least 80 to 100 miles and that this distance strongly correlates (inversely!) with your marathon time, but like Bbug, lots of other commitments and once again only managed one long run of 16 miles...however the difference this time was that I did manage to get my weekly running distance up to 40 miles and managed to do this for several weeks without getting injuried...managed 3:21 and the race felt great....if anything I went off too slowly and found the last 10 K relatively easy.
In summary anyone can run a marathon with little training but its going to hurt and be very tough mentally. If u can put the miles in and get 4 or 5 proper long runs, then I'm sure that's the right thing to do but if u can't, then aim to slowly crank up the weekly mileage and that will certainly help. If u want to see what the elites do, have a look at Steve Way's blog...his weekly and daily mileage is frightening!!!