• Helen Phillips

Meet our marathoners #7 Charlotte


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 Charlotte, who ran VLM19 and last year at 17 was the youngest member of London Marathon Training & Support Facebook Group. Please read on to hear her story.

Tell me about your running journey

I started running in March 2017 as an escape from all things negative, and I would just go out and run 5km.

Then October that year I decided to run my first Parkrun. After my first Parkrun I was absolutely hooked by the slight competitive atmosphere and the community feel. By the end of 2017 I had gone from a 30:02 5km down to 26:27, and so I set my sights on races and longer distances.

In the new year I began training for the MK Rocket 5k which I set myself the goal of 25:30 - a goal which I thought was over ambitious. The day of the race was so hot (I don’t cope to well with the heat) and I was rather nervous as this was my first race. The atmosphere was amazing and again the community aspect was amazing.

I think that race was my favourite - I completely smashed my goal and finished in 24:44. And then embarked on my next challenge, running a 10k.

The following month I had signed up to run the Brackley 10k Chicken Run, and the Women’s Running 10k at MK the following month. Both of these races were not easy; in Brackley there were so many ridiculously steep hills (all of which I was not expecting), and in MK the temperature was around 30C. In the heat I did contemplate giving up, but I wasn’t going to let the heat beat me.

Again, after these races I decided 10k was not enough, so I decided to enter the Oxford Half Marathon. After 15 weeks of training I took to the streets of Oxford and ran my first half in 2:06:40. I was amazed with my time as my training pace was significantly slower that this.

As I wanted to continue challenging myself, I took the opportunity to run for my school at the Town Cross Country Championships where I qualified for the County Championships next year in January.

It was also around this time that I discovered the Northampton Road Runners so I decided to bite the bullet, step out of my comfort zone and go to a few of their club runs. I was quite nervous, as I knew that I would be the youngest member at 17, and there would be so many people I would not know. Now I am a proud (and the youngest) member of the Northampton Road Runners!

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

I wanted to take on the challenge as I am not one to shy away from a challenge, everything is possible if you put your mind to it! I also wanted to do my bit for charity do I decided to apply for a charity place with Mind as mental health illnesses affect so many people, and I would like to do what I can to help.

I've got the target to raise £2,000 and have a comprehensive plan for my fundraising. I'm doing a bake and handmade jewellery sale, curry/fish and chips night with a raffle and pub quiz, 100 square grid, collections at local supermarkets and in the town centre.

Do you have a goal for the marathon? What time would you like to finish in?

I have a variety of goals: Sub-4:30, sub-4:45 or to get round in one piece!

How’s training going so far?

I started training on the 17th December and I am LOVING IT! I love having a goal to work towards as that keeps me more motivated than just going out running.

What do you love about running?

I love everything about running, the speed, the laid back runs. It’s my time to do what I want.

My favourite thing about running is the challenge. Whether I’m running intervals (may fav interval session is 6x800m with 60 secs recovery) or on a long run, I always try to run the next split faster or keep going for longer.

Do you have a favourite post run treat?

After a long run I really like a chicken tikka masala with a plain naan, and a big cup of milk - it’s just sooo good and refreshing!

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

Casey Neistat - I find his vlogs and tenacity really inspirational.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?

The atmosphere, the support, and going for a long run, and going to London as I have never been before. I’m excited to be a tourist whilst running!

How will you celebrate your success?

Go out for a meal with friends and family, and have a nap (not at the same time though!).

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.