• Helen Phillips

Meet our marathoners #10 Gill


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 Gill, who trained and ran VLM18 for The Miscarriage Association. Please read on to hear her story.

Tell me about your running journey

I started running in 2014. However, at that time I was 5 stone over weight, and very slow. It would take me almost an hour to complete 5k, and to be honest, I hated it.

In 2015 I suffered a miscarriage. Although I know my weight had nothing to do with the miscarriage, I decided to focus on losing weight, and stopped running.

Why did you decide to run a marathon?

I have always wanted to run 'the marathon' (London marathon), and on a whim, applied to run in the ballot. I never expected to get in, and had donated my fee to charity, in order to get the running top.

This turned out to be a good decision, as this enters you into The Bequest Draw of 1000 additional places. I got one of these spots, so it really was meant to be!

Did you run for a charity?

Although I had a confirmed place via the Bequest Drawer, I decided to raise funds for The Miscarriage Association, which is a cause close to my heart.

I didn’t have a fundraising target, but I raised about £1,500 through the generosity of friends and family.

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

Publicly, my goal was to finish. Secretly, I wanted to finish in 6 hours anything, and looking at my training runs, could have actually achieved about 5.50 ish.

However, the heat on the day (hottest ever London Marathon!) really took it out of me. The lack of water on the course also made me take it a lot slower than I had planned, and my time ended up being 7 hours and 26 seconds.

How did training go?

I actually enjoyed the training, but it certainly had it challenges! I used the "Jeffing" (walk : run) approach to my marathon, which was brilliant.

There were some runs that were just horrible, and I was full of self-doubt. Also having to look after my boys while recovering from runs was interesting. Luckily, my friends and family rallied around, looking after my boys and me, when they could see I was having trouble walking after long runs.

They also really helped out, so I could get out and do the runs during the week.

The worst part however, was the weather. Training in the snow and ice of The Beast from The East is not something I want to do again, especially doing a half marathon on the treadmill, when it was too snowy to get outside to do it.

What do you love about running?

I love the thought space that running gives me. I suffer from anxiety, and running has really helped keep it in check.

I also love the feeling I get when I complete a long run, especially when I running now, not training for anything, running just for me.

What's not so great?

I hate hills! I always walk up the hills, and run the down hills.

Do you have a favourite post run treat?

Chocolate was my downfall. I still eat it like I’m training for a marathon!

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

Is there a song that motivates you through training?

The Trap by Ron Goodwin (Theme to VLM) is my motivational song. I have it as my alarm ringtone and used it to motivate me for those early morning runs. I also love The Foo Fighters. They're very good to run to too!

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

Dave Grohl from The Foo Fighters, their songs got me through a lot of the training.

Do you have any running superstitions?

A couple of my running friends a few days before the marathon, sent me some lace tags that had my name and VLM on them. I’ve not taken them off my trainers.

What are you most looking forward to on race day?

The whole experience, to be honest. And the finish line, obviously! It’s said that VLM is your victory lap, and that is so true.

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.