• Helen Phillips

Meet our VLM19 Marathoners #31: Louise


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 Louise, who ran VLM19 for Ovarian Cancer Action. Please read on to hear her story.

Tell me about your running journey

I started running in October 2018 having never run before, just after I received confirmation of my charity place for VLM19.

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

My sister Tracy was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in April 2017 and by spring / early summer 2018 was very unwell. I felt powerless in the face of her illness and wanted to do something constructive to help raise funds to assist in research and treatment and awareness of the disease.

How much have you raised for your charity?

I ran for Ovarian Cancer Action. The charity were brilliant and supportive throughout my training and on the day.

I was set the target of raising £3,000. I was very well supported by family, friends and businesses connected to my sister Tracy. The support I received was absolutely phenomenal and so far I’ve raised nearly £12,000. I am absolutely thrilled with how much we’ve raised.

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

I wanted to enjoy it and to try and finish under 6 hours.

How did training go?

My charity place was confirmed in August 18 but Tracy died at the end of that month.

I started training in October and the early days were tough, as I’d never run before. I was very unfit and found it hard going.

As time went on having something to focus on really helped me mentally and I started to enjoy the training.

I ran a half marathon in February, which I found very tough. After that my training went well … until the last few long slow runs just before tapering, they were torture..!!!

What do you love and not love about running?

I love that running gives me time on my own to think, and I‘ve enjoyed improving my fitness.

I hated the long slow runs! I found them very hard mentally. But listening to podcasts really helped.

I have continued to run since running the marathon and intend to carry on into the future. I’ve even signed up to do a half marathon in October.

Do you have a post run treat?

After my long slow runs my post run treat was a gin and tonic or a large glass of wine!

What were you most looking forward to on race day?

The crowds and celebrating afterwards with family and friends.

Tell me about race day?

It was amazing! I was very nervous beforehand but at the start line told myself that I should just do everything I could to enjoy the day. And I did.

For the first time I managed to keep my pace pretty much even throughout (with a few short bursts of fast walking) as in my previous long slow runs my pace had varied all over the place.

Running there was so much to take in and the crowds were unbelievable.

I managed to see friends and family and representatives from the charity at four separate spots and their support gave me a real boost.

I finished in 5:35:33. I enjoyed every minute of the day and was really chuffed with my time.

I was so relieved to have done it. I got so many messages of support from friends and family and I feel privileged to have been able to take part.

How did you celebrate your achievement?

I had a large group of friends and family down in London for the weekend so we had drinks with a group from Ovarian Cancer Action at the finish and then went to the pub!

If you could choose who would present your medal who would you choose?

My sister Tracy.

Louise You're Awesome! You smashed VLM19!

If you're already thinking about your next marathon, maybe you've got a race this autumn or you're entered into one next spring you'll be pleased to hear I'm opening up Marathon Club Hub.

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 get going NOW!