After supporting a friend running the London Marathon, Cassie was inspired by the energetic atmosphere. She decided she really wanted to start running so she could take part – and now she is! Having already run two marathons, Cassie’s best advice to people starting their running journey is to join London City Runners in order to find people to run with. On race day, Cassie says you should make a point to enjoy the marathon, be proud of how far you’ve come, and of course, celebrate properly afterwards! How else does Cassie get through on the day? She says, “I rely quite heavily on a combination of bagels, gels and a serious playlist.”
As a child, Hannah always remembers cycling alongside her dad while he ran. Inspired by going along with him, she joined her school’s cross country club and has been hooked on running ever since! This will be Hannah’s second time running the London Marathon. The first time she ran it was in 2016 – and learned her lesson about training the hard way! Hannah says, “I didn’t train properly the first time so I ended up running 13 miles about a week before the marathon – I found the second half of it really tough.” This time around, her longest run was 20 miles and she now feels more prepared. On marathon day, she advises everyone to smile, encourage other runners going through a rough patch, and just soak in the atmosphere! “It’s a really special day and the cheers from the crowds are like nothing else, so make the most of it.”
John has been a runner since he was 9 years old, and he can remember watching his older brother run the London Marathon in 1983. He entered this year’s ballot with zero expectations of actually getting in and was excited (and slightly alarmed) when he got the good news! John has probably had the most inventive training cycle out of any of our members. He established a Reddit group full of various long run routes he created all around London and has conducted a wide variety of bizarre eating experiments on his runs, including sausage rolls, sucrose and water, glucose and water, coconut oil, sausages and pâté. What was the best one, you might ask? The pâté, apparently! “I guess it’s similar to baby food as its pre-mashed, but I doubt you’ll see Mo Farah eating pâté while running,” says John.
Training as a solicitor has meant that it was a challenge for Laura to balance her work and training for the London Marathon. With her late hours and lengthy commute, this meant that sometimes 10:30 pm was the only time she could fit in her runs! The London Marathon is a family tradition for Laura – her father has run it, and her grandfather ran the first ever London Marathon in 1981. Sadly, her grandfather passed away in 2015, but he was Laura’s inspiration to run the marathon this year. Laura says, “During the last 10 years, my Granddad was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy so I wanted to raise awareness and money for them [by running the marathon].”
Laura is running for Muscular Dystrophy UK.
Lizzie started running three years ago, using the Couch to 5K app from the NHS. She remembers it being incredibly difficult at first, but she pushed on and was soon signing up for 10K races. Lizzie says she’d always wanted to run the London Marathon and tried the ballot unsuccessfully three times. There was only one charity she’d wanted to run the marathon for, and this year was the first year they won a place – only one, and Lizzie won the spot. She’s running for Guillain-Barre & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN) in memory of her late father, who had been diagnosed with Guillain-Barré. Lizzie views getting GAIN’s only charity place as a wonderful gift. Besides being able to honor her father’s memory, Lizzie says she has lost weight and given up smoking, and is grateful for everything the marathon has given her.
Lizzie is running for Guillain-Barre & Associated Inflammatory Neuropathies (GAIN).
Louise joined London City Runners in November 2017, shortly after learning that she had secured a spot in the London Marathon. Louise says that she’s given up a lot of her social life to train for the marathon but says, “I am a firm believer in ‘all or nothing’ and I would rather focus on the marathon for a few months of the year and know that I have given it my all. I feel so incredibly lucky to have got a place and I am sure there will be plenty of socials after the event to make up for it!” After completing the London Marathon, Louise is looking forward to meeting up with friends who also did the marathon, and devouring a massive burger and ice cream to celebrate!
Louise is running for Sense, a charity that helps people who are deafblind or with other complex communication needs to be understood, connected and valued.
Marc watched the London Marathon in 2013, and from that point on, he knew he wanted to run it and so for the last 4 years, he has been running regularly to reach his goal. Marc found out quite late that he got a charity spot in this year’s London Marathon – in mid-January! Since then, he’s been able to squeeze most of his runs into his lunch breaks, although he’s still had to give up spending time with friends on the weekends. After the marathon, he says he’s most looking forward to a couple of pints with friends!
Marc is running for Tommy’s, a charity that works to save babies’ lives.
Melanie started running when she did Modern Pentathlon (fencing, swimming, show jumping, running and shooting, in case you didn’t know!). Melanie started with shorter runs, but soon wanted a bigger challenge. She found it in the London Marathon; 2018 will be her second time running it. She hasn’t given up on any of her favorite foods (just on big nights out!) and her runs can sometimes be as late as 10 pm, since she doesn’t consider herself to be a morning person. What advice does she have for anyone doing their first marathon? “Start slow and check your pace – it is so easy to get carried away by the sea of runners! Iron your name on your shirt. You can get an energy boost from spectators. Enjoy it!”
Melanie is running for Mind – The Mental Health Charity.
Oscar remembers watching the London Marathon as a teenager, since the route went just past his mum’s house in Rotherhithe. This year, he has decided to take part and is raising money for the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust. While Oscar says he was always a good runner at school, he only really took it up seriously in January 2018 when training for the London Marathon. Oscar says he’s given up vodka and McDonald’s for the marathon, but that the hardest thing has definitely been giving up beer!
Rugby was always the top priority for Tim, but after he had to give up playing in 2015, he starting going along to Parkrun regularly and eventually set himself a goal of running 2016 kilometers in 2016. Tim says it was the biggest challenge he’s ever done, and it was only due to his competitive nature that he managed to complete it with three days to go! After setting himself another goal of running three half-marathons, Tim is now preparing to run London as his very first marathon. He’s an early trainer, even waking up to run through a blizzard at 6:30 am on his birthday! To anyone who’s just getting into running, Tim says, “Set yourself small goals – Parkruns are brilliant and when you get more confident, aim bigger. Join a club as well as it’s easier to run with people than alone – London City Runners is a very friendly, inclusive club and everyone is welcome which is fantastic. Running is a great way to explore anywhere.”
Tim is running for the Wooden Spoon Charity, the children’s charity of rugby.
Many thanks to Charlie for conducting the interviews with our London Marathon runners. If you’d like to read the full-length interviews to get to know our runners better, you can download Charlie’s article here: London Marathoners – Full Length Interviews
The mini profiles in this article have been condensed from Charlie’s interviews and written by Natascha.