Training for the London Marathon is well underway and we are excited to have our very own Compton supporters taking part again this year. With places for the mass event now snapped up, we still have five spaces available for the virtual London Marathon in October 2022 and another five virtual places in April 2023.
What is the virtual London Marathon?
The virtual London Marathon is part of the London Marathon that you can run remotely around your local area for Compton Care. You are given 24 hours to either run or walk the 26.2 miles. Compton Care has three routes that start and end at Compton Hall.
We caught up with Kuldip, who ran the virtual London Marathon for Compton Care in October 2021 to share his experience with us.
Well done on completing the virtual London Marathon Kuldip! Could you explain what made you take part in the marathon?
“I’ve been running for a few years and have taken part in a couple of marathons before. This was my second for Compton Care. My first was the Manchester Marathon in 2019 and on both occasions I was able to raise a great deal of money and awareness of the valuable work Compton Care do. I applied via the London ballot, but was unsuccessful (again). I still wanted to take up a charity place and contacted the Compton fundraising team directly. Although I have strong links to Compton through my professional work and friends who work there, I wanted to give back to Compton as they have supported relatives and friends who have needed their help during their most difficult times. I would only want to run for a local charity as I know the money raised would directly help those in need. All charities faced difficulties during the pandemic and I wanted to do something to give back and assist others through setting myself a challenge of running a virtual marathon.”
How did you train for the marathon?
“I am a fairly experienced runner, but this was a different challenge as I was running virtually by myself with no crowd to support me, no route planned, and limited provisions. I had a great deal of injuries this time round so couldn’t get the miles in that I wanted, however I knew I had to succeed as my goal was set. The biggest plus for me was the people I met, who have become very good friends and were also running the marathon – some at the mass London event and others, virtually like me. We supported each other, set up WhatsApp groups, took part in training runs and bonded through our common purpose. Without this social support network, my experience wouldn’t have been the same. I offered runners my experiences, we shared tips and enjoyed helping each other. This support made the marathon much less daunting.”
What was the best point of the marathon on the day for you?
”Easily, it was finishing at Compton Care itself. My final mile was planned so that I could finish on the Compton Hall grounds, where I was met with a mock finish line and my family were there at the end of the 26.2miles. I was also cheered on by some staff and families who were visiting relatives. It was very emotional and humbling to receive thanks from complete strangers. There was no way I wasn’t going to finish – mentally, that was what drove me to complete the marathon.
What’s your best bit of advice for any potential runners?
“Run your own race. Don’t try and out-do anyone else and don’t try for any ‘personal bests’ or fast times. They will come. Just enjoy the occasion and remember that it’s literally “a marathon, and not a sprint” – as cliché as that sounds, it’s true. I’d also advise people to break the distance down into manageable sections. First try a 5km run, then 10km, then a half marathon. Then try to get to 20 miles, then 25 miles and then the final victory mile, as I like to call it. Where possible, involve your family, get them to attend at the finish line and show you the support you deserve. It does motivate you to cross that line.”
Was there a point when you hit a wall? If so, can you talk about it?
“I found running a virtual marathon difficult in parts, so had to keep myself motivated, as I didn’t have thousands of people cheering me on along a set route like I did in Manchester. As I’m a very motivated individual, I was never going to let my sponsors, Compton and loved ones down. People had put their faith in me and I had to cross that line. On the day of the event I felt part of a team. We wore our matching ‘Team Compton’ running tops and we all wanted each other to succeed. I was proud of them all. Walls can be breached if you believe in yourself.”