• Helen Phillips

Meet our VLM19 Marathoners #32: Christopher

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 Christopher, who ran VLM19 after losing 6 stone in weight. Please read on to hear his story.

Tell me about your running journey

I started running when I was 26. I always enjoyed running but because my size I struggled to run for long periods. Over the last 4 years all I’d done was two 5k’s.

Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?

I always wanted to run a marathon, it was a bit of a bucket list thing, which turned out to be the best thing I had probably ever done. I had hoped to do it by the time I was 30 and I made it!

Did you have a goal for the marathon?

At the start I just wanted to finish. Leading up to race day I thought, it would be nice to finish in under 7 hours, on race day the plan was under 6. I finished in 5:53:50

How did training go?

I started training the day I got confirmation I was in.

It was a tough task, but in total I’ve lost between 5 and 6 stone to get ready to run the marathon. I changed my entire diet and trained religiously.

I trained 6 nights a week at first, for the first two months. Mainly running on a treadmill every other day for small periods and swimming on the rest days and I had just one full day off a week.

In December I began running on the road and my weight started to fly off.

I ran a half marathon in February in 2:32. That was tough and I picked up a bit of an injury.

I struggled as I couldn’t train for two weeks. A lot went through my head, whether I would be able to be fit for the marathon. But everything turned out ok and I was fully fit on race day.

What do you love about running?

The freedom of running is what I enjoy the most. I put my music in, up as high as it will go and just relax.

I feel better after running, I feel like I am ready, that I’ve had a chance to recharge and start my day.

Since running London I’ve been running for enjoyment. There is nothing better than getting up early when hardly anyone is around and just running.

What are you less keen about?

The thought of training.

At the start it was very exciting, I didn’t even mind getting up at 5am in the cold of winter. But around the middle of my training I started to struggle a bit. It started to feel like a chore.

But after two weeks like that the feeling of it being a chore, it disappeared and I went back to enjoying my running.

Running in the rain was actually a lot nicer than I had ever imagined, which is probably why I enjoyed the little shower on race day so much!

Do you have a post run treat?

I actually enjoy a nice glass of orange juice and a on a running day I allow myself an extra slice of bread.

Is there a song that motivates you through training?

I like to listen to a lot of Eminem and Panic at the Disco! They seem to have a great tempo for me to run at.

What were you most looking forward to on race day?

I was such a nervous wreck. I was looking forward to two things. The first was going over London Bridge. The second was a beer!!!

Tell me about race day?

It was an up and down race.

The start was amazing, such a high. As we got to cutty stark, there were so many people and it felt like they were there just for me, it was amazing.

I remember getting an ice pop from some of the locals on the way to Tower Bridge and that was pretty awesome. Going over Tower Bridge was better than I expected, it was an absolutely amazing experience.

Then around 18 miles I felt the power of the wall and I really wanted to give up. I got cramp and struggled to pick it up. I phoned family and some friends and eventually I reached mile 21, that’s when it hit me that I could finish strong.

The crowds started to pick up. I saw my family again, which was a massive boost. As I approached big ben I saw one of my pals, which was great to see as I was almost there.

The last 400m felt like the first 25 miles all in one. It seemed like the longest mile of them all, but once I got over the finish line the emotions came flooding out. I was just hit with emotion. Everyone was so nice and helpful at the end it was brilliant.

The most memorable part of running London was the crowd themselves. Everyone is brilliant in supporting us runners, through handing out sweets and loads of high fives.

How did you celebrate your achievement?

I had that beer. I also had a giant bar of Galaxy my friends brought for me and a McDonalds.

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

David Beckham, he is a bit of an idol for me.

Christopher 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!