• Helen Phillips

Meet our VLM19 Marathoners #6: Sean


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 Sean, who ran VLM19 for The Mind Map. Please read on to hear his story.

Tell me about your running journey

I started running about 8 years ago after many years of playing football.

I got the ‘event’ bug after running my first half marathon in Hastings. Over the years I’ve run half marathons in St Albans, Bedford, Northampton, London and others as well as many 10k’s and over 200 parkruns.

In 2018 I challenged myself to a running weekend completing a Saturday morning Bedford parkrun, Saturday afternoon Bedford 10k and then a Sunday morning Bedford half marathon.

In September last year I ran Nottingham Half Marathon with two of my sons Kai and Ellis. We came over the line together at a surprising (to Me) 1hr 45 after they’d pushed me hard the whole way. I’d always wanted to run the London Marathon as my first marathon and after five years of rejections I was lucky to get a ballot place this year.

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

I have always watched The London Marathon on television and have always wanted it to be my first marathon. The coverage of the crowds and atmosphere just looked amazing.

How much have you raised for your charity?

I ran for a small local children’s mental health charity called The Mind Map and had a fundraising target of £500. My brilliant family and friends have meant I’ve doubled that!

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

I originally had a goal of 4:30 but as time went on I forgot about it and focussed on enjoying the day. In my head I wanted to finish under 5 hours and came in at 4:41:49.

How did your training go?

My training went well. I didn’t follow a strict plan as I never wanted to feel like I’d failed if I had to miss a run or didn’t run as far as the plan.

I tried to run once every three days and ran several 15 milers as well as a 20 mile event in Milton Keynes. The support from friends and family and those in the FB group definitely helped.

Do you have a favourite post run treat?

Black coffee and where possible a bacon sandwich.

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

My partner Julia, she’s been supporting me throughout the whole training process and has even upped her own running distances to run with me.

How did you celebrate your marathon success?

With a takeaway curry with my family and a bottle of champagne.

What were you most looking forward to on race day?

The atmosphere and running down the mall to the finish.

Tell me about race day?

A brilliant, amazing, special day. I can proudly say that I’ve run a marathon and I’ve completed the best marathon anywhere.

The crowds and other runners were incredibly supportive. I managed to run fairly consistently throughout the whole race and finish with a smile on my face in a good time. My family were at mile 14 and 22 and their hugs and support were very special.

Sean 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.