20 April, 2017

M&S and The London Marathon: Who's Running?

Here at M&S, we couldn't be more proud of our employees who are about to run the London Marathon. Even more extraordinarily, they've raised over £40,000 for our charity partner Breast Cancer Now, beating their original goal of £28,000. You can find the donation page here.

For a bit of inspiration, we've asked them to blog about their journey. Whether you're thinking about a marathon or just looking for some encouragement, here is part one of their amazing training blogs so far:

Stephen, FOM at White City
"I’ve been training since October last year and I'm aiming for a special double. On 2 April, I took part in the Manchester Marathon; then, on 23rd April, I’ll be running the London Marathon. Each week, my training has consisted of three road runs, two spinning classes and some light weight (very light!!) gym work. I also joined a running club to help keep me motivated, so I try, whenever possible, to train with fellow runners during the evenings. The next six weeks are the crucial training weeks. This is where the duration of the long, steady weekend run goes up considerably, while the shorter midweek runs are run at ‘race pace’."

Nicola, ​International Environment Planning Manager
"My mum was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago. Fortunately, she made a full recovery. But supporting breast cancer charities is still a cause that’s close to my heart; even more so as I have a higher risk of getting it than other women my age. This is a real incentive for me to keep fit to help prevent it as much as I can.

“I started running four years ago. Obviously, when I have a race to aim towards, I run even more. I’ve never done a marathon; this will make it a real challenge to me. But I'm looking forward to training for it. This is something I’ve always wanted to do since watching the runners start numerous London Marathons over the years at Greenwich Park. It’s near my childhood home and I couldn't think of a better charity to do it for. Previously, I’ve competed in the Windsor, Hackney and Hampton half marathons. Now I’m about to add the full monty to my list."

Justine, ​Operational Development Project Manager
“At the beginning of February all the training plans I've read say I'm in for the 'ramp up' month. This means piling on the miles: a big run on the weekend, sprints in the week. It’s all becoming a bit real. I've started to notice that my ‘hint of calf’ legs are becoming actual runner's legs! Whilst this is exciting I'm also in mild discomfort, a lot, in many different places.

“I went on a training day with the charity over the weekend to learn about my gait, cheering stations, gel packs, carb shredding and loading, vaseline experiences, highs and lows, race pace, toilets and more. Stick to the plan is key I'm told, and mine (complete novice level) is really starting to feel tough.
Having never been a runner, each weekend is a personal best for me, right up to the marathon itself, and whilst there are highs and lows I always remember what I'm running for and that keeps me going."

Allan, Section Manager
"I’ve worked with many great people over my career, some of my colleagues have had to face up to battles with cancer. Without exception, they all fought their battles with dignity and determination. Sadly, some lost that battle. In the past I have helped raise funds for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Action Cancer through the Cycle24 event. I feel very privileged and honoured to take part in the London Marathon for Breast Cancer Now, a great charity that supports individuals and families through the hardest and darkest moments of their lives.

Training has been going well; I did my first 10-mile run last week. And I've stuck to my training very well up to now with minimal problems – a little calf strain and a couple of blisters. The main thing I love about training is my new wireless headphones; there’s less to distract me from my runs. My go-to tracks are Thunderstruck by ACDC and The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I go. The main things I hate about training are hills, hills and hills."

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