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 Janine, who ran VLM19 to raise awareness of the importance of blood donation #bloodnotmoney and is aiming to get 26 blood donations she runs her marathon. Please read on to hear her story.
Tell me about your running journey
I started running in 2006 but it was a little on and off, especially when I had each of my 2 children.
But over the past couple of years I’ve been running with friends and taking part in a few 10K’s Parkruns and races, including Manchester Half in 2016, Hyde 7, part of the Tour of Tameside in 2017 and most recently the Central Lancashire Half Marathon this year.
Why did you decide you wanted to run a marathon?
Since watching my Dad and other family members taking part in marathons and lots of other running events as a little girl, I’ve always wanted to run a marathon.
I didn't really have the commitment to step up and train for a marathon and knew it would take getting a place in London for me to take the leap.
Are you running for a charity? Which one?
I’ve got a ballot place for London so not running for a specific charity, but I am doing something that's very close to my heart.
I’d heard of a runner called Rick Mills who had started a campaign called blood not money, this is where instead of asking for financial donations he asked for people to donate blood instead. This was set up following his wife requiring 13 units of blood when their son was sadly stillborn.
I’ve been a blood donor since I was 17 and have always felt strongly about blood donation. I think a lot of people just don’t think about donating blood until someone they know has needed to receive it.
So I'm running VLM to raise awareness and just get people to think about becoming a regular blood donor.
I’ve set myself a target of getting 26 blood donations before I run the London Marathon.
I’ve managed to get 9 donations so far with 6 more booked in. The people who've booked in but not donated yet are all new blood donors, so I’m especially please with that!
Do you have a goal for the marathon?
I’d love my time to start with a 5 even if that 5:59! I will just be happy to finish though.
I want to enjoy the day as much as possible and soak the atmosphere all in. I don’t know if I’ll ever get a chance to run London again, so my time isn’t the most important thing to me. The longer I’m out on the course the more chance people will see my #bloodnotmoney top!
How’s training going so far?
Training is going really well so far. Running a half marathon in January gave me a good start, so right now I'm building on that.
The London Marathon Training & Support Facebook group has been a big help. I think my friends might be getting sick of my only topic of conversation being the marathon so its great to have contact with others in the same boat and we can share how we are all doing. Its also really helpful to hear for other more experienced runners and people who have ran London before.
However, right now I’m not loving the cold, its more just the thought of it I guess, once I’m actually out there I always enjoy it.
I do find the first couple of miles when I start to run really hard. I have to learn to not listen to the voice telling me I need to stop, if I can get past that it's all good.
What do you love about running?
I love having that time for me. I have a busy life, working full time, have two very active busy children and I’m also the Event Director for my local junior parkrun. Running gives me some much needed me time. I also love running with friends too giving us time to catch up and makes me almost forget I’m running.
Do you have a favourite post run / race treat?
I normally have a chocolate protein shake after a long run followed by a nice hot bath. I’m a complete chocoholic so I have Twirl too. A Twirl a day keeps the doctor away, I’m sure that’s how the saying goes!
Is there a song that motivates you through training?
When training I listen to more dance type music which is different to my usual taste but it motivates me. My favourite song is You got the Love by The Source featuring Candi Staton, I cant help but sing along to it!
If you could choose who would present your finishers bling who would it be?
I think I would want my daughters to present my medal to me. I hope this will show them that we can all achieve anything that we put our mind to. #thisgirlcan
What are you most looking forward to on race day?
Crossing the finish line will be magical but I’m really looking forward to every second of the race.
I cant wait to experience something that I’ve grown up watching on the TV. When watching I’ve often said “that will be me one day” soon that day will be here and it'll be just be amazing!
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.