October 16, 2019
I remember the moment clear as day that I first announced I wanted to run a full marathon.
It was the 6th July 2005….and I was standing outside Stratford Tube amongst a huge crowd of folks, nervous with anticipation.
The world was patiently waiting on the news to see who would be hosting the 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.
I’d been working as a volunteer manager for Newham Council…getting folks used to the concept of volunteering…just in case London might need a few extra hands for a certain mega event coming it’s way.
“If London gets the games, I will run a marathon” I said to my colleagues…most of whom worked in the sports team at the council
And oh how they laughed.
I was deadly serious though…until that was the french guy on the big screen announced that we (ie London) would indeed be hosting it in just 7 years.
Ahhh plenty of time I thought.
My running was sporadic, to say the least…I did work myself up to a half marathon a couple of times…but I was too scared to join a running club, and I still didn’t feel like a proper runner (whatever that is). So it was very much stop start, stop start…especially seeing as my job on the games was keeping me busy.
So I found myself in October in 2011 with a London Marathon place and unable to even run to the top of my road without needing a breather.
But I tell you what…the fear of not being able to complete that marathon was all it took to get me to sign up to my local running club. That fear got me going to parkrun consistently. It got me to finally get gait analysis and spend more than £40 on a pair of trainers. It got me to completely change my lifestyle and take my health seriously for a change.
You still don’t really think it will happen though.
Not until you cross that finish line.
I mean there are moments before.
The moment you set up your charity page…I was fundraising for Great Ormond Street back then.
The moment you find yourself heading out into the rain for 4 hours on a Sunday…cos all of a sudden, Sunday is simply the day you do your long run…no questions asked.
Then there is the last long run.
The start line.
The moment you cross Tower Bridge.
The moment you see Big Ben for the first time.
All of these moments you hope, you dream…but until you cross that line and get your medal, you don’t want to count your chickens…just in case.
So how do you stay motivated…how do you stay committed when that fear rages inside you?
When you are starting from scratch…not knowing if it’s even possible.
It’s called faith.
It’s called following the process.
It’s called showing up…to get the job done.
You don’t have to know every step of the way yet, you don’t have to know that you can run 26.2 miles, for now you just have to show your level of commitment and work out what your first few steps are.
You just have to surround yourself with the right team of people.
People who have done what you are trying to do.
People who are on the same path.
People who are going to encourage and support you, not discourage and sabotage your efforts (trust me these people exist…what do you mean you are not coming to the pub???)
Nobody ever truly runs a marathon by themselves.
It is a truly collaborative experience.
So don’t try doing it by yourself.
Find your people.
Find your tribe.
Next year I will be celebrating 10 years of The Fat Girls Guide to Running.
A whole flipping decade or me talking about running and fitness and equality and empowerment and…
I will be running my 6th Marathon…the London Marathon…for the 4th time.
I will not be doing it alone though as I am pulling together an epic team…we have 25+ women already signed up for my Spring Marathon Training Group which starts officially on the 1st November.
My target is a team of 50…imagine that???
I can’t wait to get started.
There will be weekly coaching and support, weekly Q&A sessions, weekly mindset prompts, accountability threads, guest experts, virtual training runs, in-person meetups…and on the day event support.
So if you are reading this thinking I don’t want to do this alone, get involved. Here is the link to register. and if you know someone who looks like they are going it alone…send them my way, or at the least buy them a copy of my book The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running (you do not need to be FAT for it to be useful btw)
We will also be doing some other events throughout the year, so have a look at what other events you can join us at. To stay in the know, head over to our FREE facebook group.
Next week I will be sharing some ideas of spring marathons you can do that are not the London Marathon…and also revealing an exciting plan we have for an awesome TFTR road trip.
Remember, join my Spring Marathon 2020 Training Group…you will not find support and bespoke advice from someone who knows what training for a marathon is really like.
So watch this space.