This year, there are four runners taking on the London Marathon in support of JRS UK. As the big day approaches, we chat to Aidan (AC) and Danny (DC) to see how they’ve found the experience so far.
I’m sure that Marathon Day feels a long time coming but when did you both decide that you wanted to take on the challenge?
DC: So I live on the marathon route and every year I see all those people running past my house for different charitable causes. I want to run the marathon before I turn 40 so on marathon day last year I finally decided to sign up.
AC: It was definitely around marathon day when I started thinking about doing it this year but I only confirmed aroud Septemebr just as the nights were drawing in and the weather was getting colder – not the best training conditions!
Speaking of training, how have you found it?
AC: It’s going extremely well. I have to admit, when I first started I really doubted my ability to train to get up to the long distances but I’ve really amazed myself with my commitment.
DC: I think we’ve been really lucky with the mild winter we’ve had and that’s made all the difference; I think I’ve only had to run in the rain once. I also love London. Being able to run along the Regent’s Canal or the Thames is just wonderful.
Obviously training is important but also fundraising is a big part of the preparation. How have you found that?
AC: This is also going extremely well. I’m hoping that I’ll soon push through my £2k target and maybe even get to £2.5k +. I actually organised a quiz night at JRS one Friday evening for staff, volunteers and friends. We raised about £250 and the night was hugely enjoyable. Many people helped make it a success and I’ll be forever grateful to them, we had about 40 players and I think they all really enjoyed it.
So far it seems that you’re both finding it pretty easy. There must have been some challenges along the way.
DC: I’ve actually been surprised by how difficult it is to find the time to get all the miles in. Once you’ve increased your distance to say 15 – 20 miles, you’re having to find a free 3 hour slot in your week which can be very difficult.
AC: I struggled with a couple of injuries that I picked up in the begginning of my training. I’ve just had to be patient with various parts and let my muscles recover in their own time. Thankfully, I haven’t had too much trouble in 2019.
What has been the highlight of the experience so far for you both?
AC: I think there’s a real shared sense of enthusiasm when I tell people that I’m running, so the words of encouragement from a huge number of people has been really amazing.
DC: One of my highlights was a run I did whilst working in Donegal. I went for a 26Km run through the national park and the route took my through the mountains and along a loch. It was stunningly beautiful and I don’t think you’d have the time to see all of it you were walking.
I’m sure your minds are fully set on the big day. What is your hope as we approach the marathon?
AC: Objective 1 is to make it to the start line in one piece and Objective 2 is to survive the experience. I hope I run well, raise as much money as possible and have a day I’ll remember forever.
DC: Ideally I’d like to finish in 3hrs 45. Also as I said I live on the route so I’ll be running past my house at around mile 21. I’m hoping that when I see all my family and friends at my front door and keep going through the thoughts of my bath and bed so close to me.
We’re really greateful to all our runners who are supporting JRS this year. What would you say to someone who might be considering it next year?
DC: Embrace the challenge early on and start traing. You’ll quickly start to enjoy it.
AC: Many of our refugee friends at JRS know I’m running the marathon and they’ll be at the forefront of my mind when I’m pounding the street of London. To someone who is considering running I’d say ‘please do’ and be inspired in the same way I have by a great cause.
Aidan, Danny, Stephen and Andrew will be running the London Marathon on 28th April for JRS UK. The money they raise will will help JRS to continue to accompany destitute and detained refugees in a spirit of hospitality, welcome and love. Click on any of their names to visit they’re JustGiving page and help them to reach their fundraising target.