• Helen Phillips

Meet Our Marathoners #2 Alison


Not everyone can run a marathon. You have to be a special kind of determined and crazy to train and then complete 26.2 miles on the day.

In my Meet Our Marathoners series we meet ordinary people who have battled through and achieved extraordinary.

Today we meet Alison, who ran her first marathon in VLM18, after losing a staggering 5.7 stone!

Tell me about your weight-loss journey?

I started my weight loss journey in October 2014. I started by attending a diet group, but found it wasn’t for me. I then stumbled on a weight loss hypnosis app, where you had to follow four simple common sense guide lines and listen to the hypnosis recording. ‘’Bingo’’ this worked for me! It helped me address what I was eating, enabling me to take control and being responsible for the food choices I was making.

Tell me about your running journey

I started exercising after losing about 5.7 stone. I didn’t enjoy the gym so downloaded the NHS C25k app and completed that on my own.

Since then I have gradually worked my way up from my first 2.5km fun run in 2015 to Parkruns, 10ks, to half marathons and then on to my 1st Marathon VLM 2018.

How did running help?

Once I found running and the fact that I could run (I am not speedy!!) gave me confidence in myself. After every run I got that runners feel good factor, making me feel happy in both mind and body … I was no longer hiding away in the safety of my 4 walls but actually getting fitter as well as gaining confidence.

I soon learnt that people didn’t care what I looked like or what I was wearing. Running empowered me and helped me feel good about myself.

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

I felt ready both mentally and physically, I decided if I wanted to achieve the distance of a marathon it had to be now, as I wasn’t getting any younger and I didn’t want the moment to pass me by.

I also to make my family proud of me for achieving such a goal!

How did training go?

I decided to follow a 20 week training plan as I wasn’t as fit as others who were training.

I loved the discipline of my training plan. At times it was lonely running miles on my own but I had a goal in mind and knuckled down and got on with the job in hand.

I found people to run with at times and they were a great source of encouragement and at times distractions! But all in all I loved knowing what days I would be running and the distances I had to cover.

But I really didn’t enjoy speed training and hills are not the best, but I did them.

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

I had a goal of 5 hours 30, but due to the weather conditions at 10km I decided to pull my time back, then at mile 13 I realised my time was just not going to happen so I chilled and started to enjoy myself. I finished in 6 hours 17 mins.

What do you love about running?

I love running because it keeps me fit and active and it’s something I can do when I want to do it.

Nobody has any expectations of me, I just do what I can do. I run to feel good during a run. I switch off and go to my happy place.

Do you have any running “superstitions”?

At the end of a race I always thank my legs and feet, they carried we over the finish line.

If you could choose who would present your finishers bling who would it be?

My Dad, he never got to see me as I am now.

If you're already thinking about your marathon next year, you'll be pleased to hear Marathon Club Hub is now open.

Marathon Club Hub is my training & preparation programme for first and next time marathoners to provide you all the advice, information and support you need to get ready to run.

Click HERE to join Marathon Club Hub to get going with your training for next spring.