Thought about taking on a new challenge this year? We still have five spaces available for the virtual TCS London Marathon in October 2022 and another five virtual places in April 2023.
We caught up with Gillian about her experience of walking the virtual London Marathon for Compton.
“I began running in 2002 whilst studying at university, as a way of keeping fit on a student’s budget. I fell in love with the sport as it’s such a flexible way of staying active. Over the years, I took running more seriously and began to enter races, including half marathons.
After watching the London Marathon on TV over a decade ago, I decided this was the challenge I needed to tackle next! Unfortunately, year after year of applying by the ballot, I was unsuccessful. When the opportunity arose for me to take on the challenge virtually, I snapped up the chance. It was a way to complete the ultimate personal challenge and raise money for an important local charity.
As I began to plan longer runs, I soon realised that running the 26.2 miles wouldn’t be an option for me. Time just wasn’t on my side. Instead, I took the decision that powerwalking the distance would be a more achievable goal. Along with two friends, I trained over the summer by attending boot-camps, powerwalking and running. Keeping physically healthy is optimum for my mental health and it was great to have this challenge to keep me motivated in training.
Ahead of the race, I decided to raise money for Compton Care. I joined the WhatsApp group where I met a great bunch of runners and together, we shared our running accomplishments. This was such a significant part of the journey as it was a privilege to meet such wonderful people with a shared interest. The group is still going strong and we continue to run with each other.
On the day of the marathon, we were nervous yet excited! We soon found out that marathons are generally ran, because it’s a long way to walk! The first half of the distance was purely enjoyable as we walked through and around the local parks and points of interest. We also saw lots of other runners sporting their virtual numbers, but as the mileage got greater, so did the blisters. By mile 20 we were feeling the impact of the challenge. We kept our spirits up through laughter and focused on the immediate prize – a pint! I felt very emotional as we met my family at the virtual finish line and I had never been prouder.
I wanted to share my virtual story to inspire people of all shapes, sizes and abilities to achieve their physical goals. Anything can be possible if you are creative and motivated in how you achieve them!”