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20 May 2016

9 runners took on one of the greatest marathons in the world, the London Marathon! Together, they raised £19,464 which will go towards supporting young people of the capital. Here is what Marie-Claude had to say about the experience:

A few years ago I was walking over Blackfriars Bridge, with my partner Phil, looking down at the scores of London Marathon runners on the final leg of their journey.

I said that I would love to do that, but never thought that opportunity would actually happen.

Until I got my place, thanks to London Youth, I hadn’t run anything. Ever. I hated running at school, hence opting for the position of goalkeeper as soon as I had the chance.

So by the start of October 2015 I was down to run 26.2 miles half a year later and raise £2,000 for my charity. What had I let myself in for?

I refused to be defeated. Also, I am a very good walker, walking about 7 miles each week day, a prolific stair climber and keen long-distance walker at weekends. So the distance didn’t faze me. Since I got a Fitbit (other exercise tracking devices are available), you’d be surprised how many steps that can be clocked up on an ordinary day! I began my training process. I tried to follow the London Marathon training plan and it was challenging, but a chat with my running coach friend Elaine was helpful. She said that as I was not going for a specific time, not to focus too much on the plan. Instead, I ran (more or less) the suggested amount and made sure I got in as many long runs as as possible (vital). Also, it’s OK to walk if you need to, going forward is only thing that matters.

I also had to fundraise £2,000. My tip here: ask early, ask everyone and ask often. And, then watch the word spread. You’d be surprised how many people will donate, even if you feel embarrassed about asking or talking about it. On the day, remind everyone, and take pictures of your progress. It all helps.

The day was finally upon us: 24 April 2016 was Marathon Day. I took a deep breath and made my way to the start. It helped to break it up into chunks and visualise each stage. I decided I was going to treat the first ten miles as a nice gentle Sunday run and deal with the rest afterwards.  It went well, especially as I was running around some of the areas I had trained and where my friends live. I kept running at a solid pace for 17 miles, but then felt I had had enough. However, a few more snacks on the move tided me over, and I continued the marathon jogging and walking (jalking).
It paid off and was a great day. The crowds were raucous in their support, and it was a real boost to spot a few familiar faces waving their banners like maniacs.

Looking back, I can’t believe I did it. Now, walking down those roads brings back some really good memories. I would recommend anyone to enter. You don’t have to be an athlete. My time was 5 hours 26 minutes and i raised a total of £2,592. Not bad for a first timer.

I’m going to continue running, watch this space, there will be another blog.

Feeling inspired?  Sign up now to join #TeamLondonYouth in the 2017 London Marathon or if you aren’t ready for 26.2 miles we still have places available to join us at this years British 10K on the 10th of July – an amazing race taking you through the heart of the capital – sign up here.