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Many of you will know that I don’t normally focus on speed when talking about running, because I believe as long as you run you are a runner regardless of speed, and continuously beating yourself up or comparing yourself to other runners is unhelpful and demotivating. But over the last few months I have been conducting a personal experiement to see how easy it is to increase your speed when you have a natural tendancy to plod.

In particular I am trying to bring my 5k time under 30 minutes a goal I have had for close to 8 years, I brought it down to 32 minutes when training for the London Marathon, and then it went back up to almost 50 minutes after having my daughter…I am back down to (get this) 30 minutes and 9 seconds…so I am nearly there.

In the next few weeks I will be launching a new ebook on the subject called “Scream if you want to go faster” but I have to knock that final 9 seconds off first, so in the mean time I have come across a perfect initiative to help test my speed theories…and it’s a simple one that all of you can get involved with too.

So, if I were to ask you “How fast can you run a mile?” would you be able to answer? We are not talking your average speed over a mile, I am specifically asking “How FAST can you run it?” you know going full out. For example, my averagish 1 mile time is between 11-14minutes, but I am sure on some training runs I have managed a 9 minute mile, but I wonder if I went all out for just 1 mile could I really go any faster.

I first pondered this when I started listening to the Marathon Talk podcast about a year ago, this was about the same time that I started thinking about myself as a proper runner, looking forward to my training runs so I could tune into the next weeks episode and finally feeling part of the wider running community. You see on Marathon talk, whenever they interview someone, usually a runner of some description they ask the “How fast could you run a mile” question at the end of the interview and it really throws some people.

I often thought maybe I should test this, to see how fast I really could cover that mile, and now I have the perfect excuse with the launch of Marathon Talks “Magic Mile”, a free running challenge pitting runners against the clock over the iconic distance of one single mile.

Like most of the virtual challenges you find in the running community the Magic Mile is all about having fun, doing something different, experiencing running faster and getting involved, so it doesn’t matter how slow your normally run, or even if you are a walker…you could simply try upping the pace of your regular walks.


Well, the ‘competition period’ starts this weekend from July the 27th to August the 10th inclusive and you have to log your “Magic Mile” time before 8am on Tuesday August the 12th 2014, so you haven’t got long to decide if you want to take part.

There are three main ways we (meaning the Too Fat to Run posse) could get involved

1. Set up our own ‘real’ Magic Mile event, but we are all over the world so that wouldn’t work
2. Just run one single mile as fast as you can solo, but that’s boring


3. Set up your own ‘virtual’ Magic Mile event, that anyone anywhere could take part in

Now we are talking, I figured as we have such an awesome community of runners and already do a virtual race #onebigfatrun every month that we should do a virtual Magic Mile ourselves. So I have selected the 10th August as our Virtual event date, giving us a little bit of time to get some practice in.

So what do you need to do to take part?

1. Register on Marathon Talk 2. Sign up for the Magic Mile 3. Find our Too Fat to Run 1 Mile event
4. Sign up & encourage others to take part too
5. Get some practice in (remember to note your baseline time)
6. Run one single mile as fast as you can!
7. Log your mile time.
8. Celebrate

A few general rules from Marathon Talk.

  • You must be a member of the Marathon Talk running community.
  • Sign up Magic Mile event (It’s free, it only takes two minutes and we don’t ask for loads of personal details).
  • You can run your mile solo, on a course you’ve measured yourself or you can set up your own Magic Mile event.
  • Be fair – your mile should be accurate and downhill miles are not allowed!
  • You can run a mile as many times as you like within the Magic Mile competition period and repeatedly log your time but only your fastest will count.
  • You must log your final Magic Mile time here before 8am (UK time) on Tuesday the 12th of August 2014.
  • Remember this is about doing something different and having fun whilst finding out how fast you can go. It’s purely done on honesty and there are no prizes for ‘winning’.

I am well excited about this initiative, and can’t wait to measure my mile tomorrow at parkrun and to see how much improvement I can make in the next two weeks.

So come on guys, do you fancy it?

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