• Helen Phillips

Meet Our Marathoners #3 Chantell

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 Chantell, who ran VLM18 after tearing her quad and fracturing her knee cap at the start of her training last year. She battled on with physio, got back into training and had fabulous race!

Tell me about your running journey

I started C25k in April 2017 with my local running club. I was over 21 stone and a size 24.

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

I felt so inspired watching the marathon 3 weeks after starting C25K that I applied for a charity place. I love a challenge and knew that’s what it would be if I got a place.

I didn’t really think I would be offered a place from my charity. When I got the email to say the charity would like to offer me the place I could run around 4 miles at a push.

Which charity did you run for?

I ran for the Shaw Trust. It’s a charity that is I chose carefully as I wanted to ensure I fully understood what they did and believed in their ethos.

My fundraising target was £1200. In the end I raised over £1600.

I held a London Marathon fun day at a local pub with games for kids, bouncy castle, cake sale raffle etc. I also had a charity stall on my local market (Loughborough).

The fundraising I enjoyed the most was that all the children in the school where I worked ran a marathon (Key stage 2) and a half marathon (key stage 1) over a half term, 6 weeks. The children collected sponsorship money for my charity and we raised over £700 just through that alone.

How did training go?

Training was going ok, I had ran 3 half marathons by the beginning of December and felt quite good.

Then on the 17th January I was cycling to work and my biked skidded on some ice, I fell off and couldn’t move. I got to the walk in centre and when they had seen me they said I had torn a quad and fractured my knee cap.

I couldn’t walk for at least 5 days and was on crutches for weeks. I was really lucky and got in to see a physio within 2 weeks. Michelle wouldn’t give me an answer when I hobbled in there the first time when I asked if she thought I would be able to run the marathon. But I never gave up hope. I did all my exercises and while I couldn’t do any lower body exercise I did upper body stuff sat on the sofa.

When I was allowed to attempt a run again, it had to be run – walk to keep the pressure off my knee and quad. Within 6 weeks I was able to get up to 20 miles. That last long run was tough, but I ran for 6 mins and walked for a min, I was so pleased to finally get up to the 20 mile mark!

I always had my best runs first thing in the morning. But that meant I was having to get up at 5am mid-week which was tough and I didn’t always manage it.

My running club Poplar Runs were amazing and so so so supportive. 5 days after the race I was voted runners runner at our running club awards night, it's one of my proudest moments ever!

Why do you run?

I love the way running has changed my life. I have lost over 5 stone, but still have a lot more to go. I love the feeling after running and I love that I continue to prove to people you can do anything, you just have to want to do it and then you will as its only you that stops yourself!

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

My goal was a sub 6 hour marathon. But unfortunately with the heat on the day and the lack of training I finished in 6 hours 18 mins. In the end I was so happy just to finish.

How did you celebrate your marathon running success?

With a bottle of fizz on the train home!

Also the next day I went into work and they did a special assembly for me! All the children wanted to know about the marathon.

Do you have any running “superstitions”?

I always have to wear the same, running leggings, sports bra and socks for every race! Although the leggings are getting too big now!

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

It would be my father in law who passed away October 2014, he would be amazed that I had finished as when he was alive I was at my biggest.

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.