• Helen Phillips

Meet our VLM19 Marathoners #1: Brett


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 VLM19 Meet Our Marathoners Series we meet ordinary people who have battled through and achieved extraordinary.

Today we meet Brett, who ran VLM19 for Dementia Revolution. Please read on to hear his story. If you'd like to donate to his charity fundraising here's the link :Brett's Fundraising Page

Tell me about your running journey

My marathon journey started late. I was offered my place to run at the end of October and only started running in November. When I started I couldn’t even run 1 mile and remember thinking to myself “how on earth am I going to run 26 when I can’t even run 1”!

By the end of last year I was big guy, I was pushing 21 and a half stone big. There was no way I was going to be able to run the marathon unless I lost weight.

Through a combination of my running plan, helpful hints from Facebook groups, friends and healthy eating in the week I managed to lose 4 stone before the big day.

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

My dad was diagnosed with Dementia 6 years ago and since then we’ve been looking at what we can do as a family to make things as good as possible for him. 6 years on he has a great support network and a wonderful local charity with support groups him and mum can attend.

I decided it was time to raise money. I wanted to raise a lot, so it was time to go big and run the London Marathon for Dementia Revolution.

How much have you raised for your charity?

I was set the target of £2000, but so far I’ve raised over £5,000 from a combination of events such as a Grand National Sweepstake, asking for sponsorship and begging generous friends to donate!

I was lucky as running the marathon was such a big challenge for me, people knew it would be tough so they have been generous.

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

At first I just wanted to get round, but as my training went on I thought I might be able to push myself to do it in about 6 hours. But by race day I was saying to my partner I was going to go for 5 hours 30 mins.

I ended up finishing 4 hours 57! Going from being very overweight and unfit to achieving this has been just amazing.

How did your training go?

The training went well, whatever was in the plan I did! I stuck to it like glue, including a full stretching routine, ice baths – the lot!

When I started running it was hard – not only because I was unfit and not done any exercise in years, but it was winter and it was cold. Getting ready after work, popping on my head torch (as I live in a village) and having to go out for an hours or so run when I was minus 2 was not fun!

I loved how much it helped my mental well-being. I could come in from work and be super stressed but after a run I felt so much better! I also found it helped my sleep pattern I was going to sleep much more quickly.

Is there a song that motivates you through training?

Don’t laugh – but when I felt like I was lagging the tempo of Bonnie Tylers Holding on for a Hero was always a go to!

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

I think it would be Joan Rivers – she’d crack you a blinding joke and give you a smile and your medal.

Do you have any running “superstitions”?

When I was racing I used to carry one of my nans old ruby earrings with me – it came round London in my bum bag!

I also decided I was going to run with a glitter beard, it’s like my war paint. My friends call me the GlitterBear.

What were you most looking forward to on race day?

I was looking forward to experiencing the atmosphere for myself. So many had people had told me how electric it was and how encouraging the crowd were. They weren’t wrong!

Tell me about race day?

I was so touched by how many of my friends, family and work colleagues turned out to cheer me on. There was one point when it felt like I was seeing them every couple of miles.

I started finding it tough about mile 21 and there was a big group of my friends at mile 22 and that just gave me such a massive lift!

Also the big landmarks for Cutty Sark and Tower Bridge are electrifying and the crowd all the way from embankment to the end just kept me going.

At the point I had 800 metres to go my friends from Gibraltar surprised me – they had flown over to just see me as close to the finish as possible. That was an emotional moment!

Brett You're Awesome! You smashed VLM19!

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.