London Marathon Training Series, Month #9: The BIG day is here

With just days to go until the 2016 London Marathon on Sunday 24th April, is our Team Caloo runner Jim ready for the biggest challenge of his life? He’ll be joining around 36,000 others pounding the capital’s streets, pushing themselves to the limits of their stamina, proving that they can do it, and raising money for their chosen causes. According to Diabetes UK the London Marathon is the world’s biggest fundraising event, raising over £600 million for good causes since the race began back in 1981.

Jim had slightly more modest aspirations, to raise just £1,000 in sponsorship for his local park, or to be more precise, for the community group that protects, promotes and looks after the interests of their local green space for everyone to enjoy – Friends of Moorside Park. As we had installed our outdoor fitness equipment in Moorside Park some time ago and had stayed in touch with the friends group, we knew it was in regular use by the local running club, of which Jim was a member, and various other local groups. So, when Jim told us that his wife Louise had ‘persuaded’ him to run the marathon we jumped at the chance of helping him, sponsoring his efforts.

Now, nine months later, within days of the big event, we’re so proud of the progress Jim has made, from self-confessed ‘fat boy’ to lean mean running machine. It took a lot of dedication and many early mornings, late nights and strange diets, and it’s certainly not been smooth sailing – but as he says, if he can do it, anyone can, with the right motivation. Now he’s ready, excited and we’re confident that he’s going to do just great on the day.

“Thanks Andrew, that means a lot to me, and yes, I feel as ready as I could possibly be. Last Sunday I ran 21 miles as planned in my training schedule. I used the experience as a marathon ‘tester’, eating the same dinner the night before and the same breakfast on the morning of the run as I will on marathon day. I wore my official marathon outfit, took the nutrition, water and jelly beans (for an extra energy boost) that I plan to have on the day, and Louise even met me at various points along my run to give me water and Lucozade just like there will be for me on the streets of London. It was as full a trial run as I could create, and, not meaning to sound too cocky about it, the experience gave me a boost of confidence. I know that I can do the full run, I know that I’m ready now.

“I was joined by one of my running buddies, Sue Deaves, and we completed the run in 3 hours and 42 minutes – not bad, not bad at all. Add a little extra on for the additional miles of the marathon and you’ve got a pretty decent time for a marathon newbie.

“Now I’m in the final phase of my training, doing absolutely nothing. Well, winding it down, because for the days before a big race it’s important to consolidate strength, to eat right, drink right, sleep right, and prepare for the challenge ahead.

“So, cortisone injection on Wednesday to stave off the foot pain I’ve been suffering from for some time – ironically my operation appointment has come through and it’s four weeks after the marathon! Then it’s onto the ‘run bus’ on Friday for all those travelling down with us so that I can get my official number at the Expo. Saturday will be a day of relaxation (and nerves), then Sunday’s the big day. Elite women get going at 9am, pro men set off at 9.20, then the rest of us join in the fun at 10am.

“I’m so proud to be representing the Friends of Moorside Park, and Caloo, among my other sponsors, and I hope I do you all proud. And, while I’ve enjoyed the training experience, I can assure you that post-race I will also enjoy putting my feet up and having a man-sized slice of celebratory cake. Of course I won’t be sitting for long as I’m signed up for the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon three weeks later and have my sights on many more over the coming year, so this is definitely not the end of my running aspirations.

“We have surpassed our sponsorship target of £1,000 and are currently around the £1,500 mark. But, every penny counts and our local park needs you, so in one last push before run day, if you’ve been holding back until now, please do sponsor me and the Friends of Moorside Park, just like Caloo have done, and click on this link to make a difference in our local community.

“Wish me luck!”