While many of us will agree that taking part in a running event for a good cause is a wonderful idea in theory, the reality of combining real life with fundraising and training can be tough. Olly, an actor, who is currently training for the London Marathon, tells how he makes it work for him.
My nephew Dylan, who is 11 years old and has alpha 1 anti-trypsin deficiency, is my reason for supporting CLDF. We’ve always known that he would probably need a transplant one day and it seems that day is going to be sooner rather than later. It’s a big thing to be facing such major surgery at that age, both for Dylan and his family and I know that CLDF will provide them with the information and support that they need.
I ran the Barcelona marathon for CLDF about five years ago. It was incredibly tough but I enjoy a challenge and it provides me useful accountability to get myself out there and run. This prepares me for the race but also maintains my own physical and mental health. I chose the London marathon because it’s my home city.
My hours are extremely irregular and so are my locations. It is incredibly difficult to build routines as I’ve been on tour with different theatre shows fairly constantly over the last 18 months. In fact, I missed the last London marathon due to a theatre tour. The key is the fact that you really can run anywhere. I’ve been getting my runs in from Travelodges around the country over the summer and whilst it sometimes means earlier starts than everyone else, it never fails to result in me having more energy overall. The secret for me is I set my running gear beside my bed the night before and I sleep in the shirt I run in. This way, it almost feels harder for me to not run than to just knock it out. It’s crucial to not think about whether you feel like it. That’s a disaster. Just know you’re going and go. Once you’re running, you’ll finish. Like so much in life, the real danger is that you don’t actually start. And there is always a perfectly plausible reason not to start.
As Marathon day draws near, I am excited and nervous. It’s a big commitment and it hammers the body. I’ve done some longer runs and am relatively confident my body will hold up. Just need to battle the mental gremlins. The secret is to remember that if you’re thinking about whether you should stop, you don’t need to stop. When you have to stop there is no deliberation. If there is deliberation, bin the conversation in your head and just focus on the next step. I remember this from last time! I did it in 04:25 last time but am aiming at sub 4 hours this time. I’m training at 5 minutes per kilometre, which even allowing for some slower times towards the end, should keep me under 4 hours.
I’ve just purchased myself the requisite Vaseline, nipple patches and running shorts with pocket, so it’s all feeling very real and imminent now! No bleeding nipples for me this time – one of the worst experiences of my marathon training 5 years ago!
So now I just need to get out there and do it. If I achieve my time and hit my fundraising target I’ll know I’ve done something truly positive for myself and for Dylan.
You can support Olly’s London Marathon challenge by going to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oliver-hewett