Marathon Mondays are back! I’m Nikki and I still haven’t run my first marathon. The London Marathon is still going ahead on the 4th October 2020, but I think everyone is expecting it to be cancelled. However, Marathon Mondays will continue in a monthly format (thanks to Gary). If you have run a marathon and would like to answer some of my questions, please do let me know, it would be great to hear about your experiences and to be able to share them with the rest of the club.
So, our first monthly Marathon Monday is from Kate Lees. Her experiences feels like the perfect place to start again because she was inspired by the London Marathon. Kate is the reason I started running and then continued to run. She put up with my excuses why I couldn’t run or didn’t want to and my moaning all the way through Couch to 5k. I’m really grateful that she persevered with me! Kate’s story is inspiring, her first marathon was London 2014, read on to hear all about it…
Why did you enter your first marathon?
I remember seeing the first ever London marathon on TV when I was a kid and being absolutely inspired by it. I had a bad leg at the time and couldn’t walk far, so I couldn’t imagine how anyone could even run 1 mile, let alone 26.2! I watched the London marathon on TV every year, then when I was in my twenties I moved to London, so would go along to cheer every year. Every other year or so I’d get inspired to run, so go out and try, fall over, and come home with scabby knees and ripped jogging bottoms! My husband used to say – I really don’t think running’s for you……
Where and when was your first marathon?
London in 2014.
What was the most valuable thing that you learnt whilst training for your first marathon?
That I could do it! All you have to do is find a training plan that works for you, stick to it as best you can, and then just keep putting one foot in front of the other. It made me realise that if any of us want something enough, we’ll find a way to do it.
What did you learn whilst running your first marathon that no one had ever told you before?
I remember being completely overwhelmed at the start line. I looked at the screens showing us all queued up in Greenwich park and thought – I’m here, I’m part of it finally, after so many years of seeing that scene on TV. I got so emotional I almost couldn’t run, so realised I had to put this out of my mind and just focus on running. Then I learnt how much energy the crowds could give me as I went round. Every time I felt I was flagging, I moved over to the edge, bagged myself a few high fives from the crowd and was re-energised!
What did you do immediately after your first marathon and the next day?
Immediately after I crossed the finish line I cried, I was so emotional. A lovely woman in the queue to get the medals looked at me and said, “Do you need a hug?” which was just what I needed! Then I walked to Trafalgar Square to meet my husband and family on the steps, for lots more hugs. The next day I just ate lots!
How many times have you run a marathon since?
Once – I did London again in 2017.
What tips do you have for overcoming the wall?
I didn’t ever hit the wall – a good breakfast and then regular gels throughout the marathon kept it at bay.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about marathon running, that hasn’t been asked here?
If you’re tempted to do a marathon – just do it! If I can do it, anyone can 😊
Who’s been a big help to you whilst you’ve been marathon training?
Steve Rogers was amazing. He was leading a group of us that were marathon training and every week he’d turn up with a suggested route and lots of hints and tips. We had flooding that year, so he worked really hard to find good non-flooded routes. Also, Sarah Frost who led track sessions at the time for her enthusiasm and encouragement.