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Meet our fantastic London Marathon 2018 runners that are legging it for Concern

Ollie and Joe, two of our brilliant London Marathon runners taking part for Concern this year, speak to us about training, tears and taxis home. 

Meet Joe

I'm not a keen runner at all, and so this being my first marathon, it is something I am finding quite daunting. 

I like to keep fit, but running has always been something that I have tried to avoid as I tend to find the lack of social interaction monotonous. I started my training just before Christmas and have gradually built up the distance over time. To my surprise, I have found the whole experience very enjoyable and extremely motivating at times.

Concern is a charity that does amazing work across the globe, and as I do a lot of work in the Caribbean, it is something that I have a strong connection with. The thought that the money I raise can help some of the world's most under-privileged people really helps to get you out of bed and strive to raise as much money as possible.

However, training hasn't been great all of the time. When I initially started, I was slightly overweight and the pain in my knees after half a mile really did have alarm bells ringing. I never thought I would be in a position to complete the marathon, as even standing for 3-4 hours would be an issue, let alone running for that time. In addition to that I am also a type 1 diabetic, which obviously put even more doubt in my mind about my ability to finish. Luckily as the weeks passed, I started to build not only my physical fitness, but my mental strength, which in many ways is the key to completing something like a marathon. This culminated in my longest run in training which was just over 20 miles, which took around 2hrs 30min. It gave me the knowledge that I would be able to complete the distance, in addition to being a real personal achievement for myself during my training.

Having spent the last 20 weeks training for the event, I would say the key in training is consistency. Not only for the training itself, but everything that goes with it such as diet, clothing, recovery, etc. This helps to build confidence as when it comes to race day, everything will feel natural and nothing will come as a surprise.

GOOD LUCK JOE! This is an incredible and inspiring story. Thank you.

Meet Ollie

I’ve been running for about 8 years now. I started doing so just as a means to keep fit, and gradually built up the distances I was running up to doing my first marathon about 4 years ago. The 2018 London marathon will be my 4th marathon, but my first time doing the London course. I guess I’ve become a little obsessed with wanting to push my body as far as possible and see what I can achieve. But also I find running is a fantastic way to relax a little and ultimately eat as much as I like!

I wanted to do some fundraising to coincide with running the London marathon. Specifically I really wanted to raise money for a cause where really modest sums of money go on to make a huge difference.

I like the idea of tangibly being able to tell someone who makes a donation that their money has made a real difference to someone else. Concern is a brilliant charity for exactly that, I love how much of a difference each donation is going to make to their various missions. I personally hope that the money goes towards making a life-changing difference to people, to the extent that someone could look back in many years’ time and pinpoint the moment Concern came into contact with them as a moment that changed their life for the better.

Training so far has been very mixed but I feel like I’m getting there! The lowest point was definitely having to get an taxi home after running 12k of a 25k route and physically not being able to carry on. Highlights include crawling back into bed after completing an early morning long run and most recently breaking my 5k PB which I'd been longing to do for years, showing that the training is definitely paying off!

My advice for anyone thinking of running a marathon would just be to train hard so that race day is easy, and on a more practical note, alongside the mileage, be sure to train your core. Regardless of what standard of runner you are, it will help enormously to prevent injury and keeping yourself going on longer runs.

Thank you so much for your support Ollie! GOOD LUCK!

We will be there cheering you both on :)


Fancy running the London Marathon 2019 for Concern? Register your interest here.