Last month some of you will found the golden ticket in the post; a place in the iconic London Marathon. For many of you it will be the first marathon you’ll ever do, it was for me.
For the lead up to next year’s London I wanted to do something special; rather than telling my story, which I’m sure some of you are bored stiff with by now, I shall be telling the story of five amazing runners who will be running their first marathon.
They have one hell of an adventure ahead of them, I’ll be documenting all the twists and turns they will inevitably have along the way and the monumental day itself.
So, let’s meet them all:
Simon – @simonruns
In January 2017 I decided it was time to make a change in my life. I was severely overweight, had a terrible diet and exercise was something other people did. So I set myself a target of losing 10 stone in a year. A few months into the year my team at work decided to run a 10km to raise money for charity and I thought it might be a good way to help with my weight loss. So I started doing the couch to 5k programme and then headed to the run in May. While the run wasn’t great (I ended up opting to do the 5km version instead of the 10km) it did show me that running was something that I could do. It took me a few months to start running with any sort of regularity, but since January 2018 I’ve been really pushing myself and seeing what I’m capable of. Over this period I managed to lose 11 stone in total and go from never even running for a bus to having run two half marathons in a year. Having met my initial weight loss goal and having caught the running bug I knew I wanted a new goal for 2019 and that was to try and tackle the marathon distance.
Living in Hackney I really wanted the London Marathon to be my first so I entered the ballot. But because I knew my chances were so slim I also decided to apply for a charity place with Macmillan Cancer Support at the same time.
As much as I wanted to do this in 2019 it’s still 26.2 miles of running and that feels daunting. Since finding out i’ve really stepped up my training (knocking 26 minutes off my half-marathon time as a result) and i’m now feeling excited about the challenge ahead.
Rebekah – @being_that_mum
34 year old mum of two boys under five who was diagnosed with breast cancer July 2017, finished active treatment March 2018. During my chemo I used to write a diary and list things that having chemo was better than – running was always in the top 3!
When I finished treatment I remember watching the London Marathon in April and thinking how much I’d love to do it – but the thought repulsed me. Yet something inside told me to just get on with it, so I put my name in the ballot. I also wrote an email to the charity associated with the hospital I was getting my treatment in asking if they had any places and forgot about it.
Then I got the call in October to say I was in. I literally cried with fear! I have completed couch to 5k since finishing treatment and run a 10k but that’s it! I’m on it now though and going to immerse myself in doing all I can to make my marathon day as ‘enjoyable’ as possible whilst raising lots of money for the unit that saved my life.
Danielle – @rolypoly_to_runner
I’ve been running on and off for the last couple of years but I’ve never exceeded a 5k fun run. I decided I wanted to take part in the London Marathon after watching it on TV and thinking how fantastic it looked and how it must feel to cross the finish line!
This year was my first time entering the ballot and I’ve been lucky enough to be successful. When I found the ‘You’re In’ magazine on my door mat I could’ve cried! I’m so grateful and excited to have this opportunity, as well as being pretty interested to see what my body can do over the next few months in terms of training.
I plan on raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support as, being a chemotherapy nurse, I get to see the amazing advice and support the charity provides for those affected by cancer.
Laura – @laurab167
I started running about a year and a half ago when a university friend of mine suggested a group of us run the Bath Half 2018 for Cancer Research UK after he’d been diagnosed with Cancer last summer. After running the “Unofficial” Bath Half (after it had been snowed off) I decided to really step up with my running to see where it could take me. I’ve run a number of 5K’s, 10K’s and Halves since and now I find myself getting ready to tackle my first ever Marathon!
My immediate reaction to finding out I had received a ballot place was one of pure elation – soon followed by an “oh dear what have I got myself into!” But it quickly returned back to excitement and I ended up carrying around my “you’re in” magazine with me for the rest of the day just so I could keep reminding myself that it was actually happening! I’m certainly not the most naturally gifted of runners so I know this will be a huge challenge – but I’m really excited to see where is takes me.
Oli – @hikesnhalfmarathons
I started running in 2015 to lose weight and got the bug. The London Marathon is something I’ve pretty much always been interested in, but thought running a marathon was a bit mental. Seeing people’s journeys on Instagram leading up to the 2018 VLM was really inspiring, and watching it on TV from a hotel in Cheltenham made me really wish I was there.
When the ballot opened, I entered. But when I entered the ballot I realised that risking it on that wasn’t an option, I had to run 2019! So I got a charity place with The Outward Bound Trust not long after, and to be honest when I found out I was pretty damn stoked and scared. Even now, I’m still stoked now and still scared!