Double Smith Brothers triumph at London Marathon!
Last Sunday was the London Marathon, and while we were enjoying the event from the comfort of our sofas – Heather and Ryan Smith were running through the streets of London with the aim of creating memories that would last a lifetime – and hopefully setting a new personal best to boot.
We’ve had a catch up with Heather post-event, to see how she fared – which was completing the run in an astonishing 4:21:17!
Since we last spoke, how was training pre-marathon?
Training went well. Fortunately, no injuries, although a few little niggles here and there. I found some weeks difficult trying to fit training in with work and other activities, but stuck quite closely to my plan, with my longest run being 22 miles at the beginning of April. I also took part in the Reading Half Marathon on 17th March as part of my training which was really good fun, and got one of my best times at that distance of 1hr 55 minutes.
Did you encounter any challenges in the build-up to the run?
No, luckily everything went smoothly.
Tell us about the week leading up to the marathon, what final prep did you do?
I did a short run, then a Yoga class and also a lot of stretching and foam rolling. I made sure I had my kit all ready and travelled down to London on the Friday Morning. On Friday, I registered and picked up my race number from the London Marathon running show.
What about on the morning on ‘marathon day’ how did you feel when the alarm went off?
On the morning I felt ok, a little nervous but also excited and ready to get running!
Now, THE RUN, tell us about the emotions and the experience – was it easier / harder than you expected?
It was much more enjoyable than I expected, just because I had built it up so much in my head. It was still the hardest thing I’ve done but as it was my first marathon, I took it a steady pace with the fear of pushing too hard at the beginning and hitting that dreaded wall – which luckily, I managed to avoid!
The support was fantastic, and passing Cutty Sark at around mile seven was the first moment I really appreciated where I was running. Getting to Tower Bridge at halfway felt special!
The twisty miles between 18-22 going through Canary Wharf and the business areas were the hardest ones – they seemed to go on forever.
Once you are at mile 23 and on Embankment you’re pretty much there. You can see the London Eye and Big Ben – the crowds get louder and busier, then I just made sure I got my head down to the finish. I have seen Buckingham Palace so many times; but going around the corner at 385 yards to go with the palace on your left, it’s almost like you’re seeing it for the first time!
The whole thing was just special – I was so lucky to have been given the opportunity run such an iconic race. The whole experience was so good that I’ve already entered the ballot for next year!
They say the crowd makes the event – did you feel that too?
Yes, the crowd was amazing – the support is incredible, everyone is willing you to do well, it’s a wall of noise and cheers almost the whole way around. Some of the signs people make really bring a smile to your face!
You absolutely smashed your fundraising target, did the support of so many really power you on when it might have felt tough?
When watching footage, there seems to be people of all ages, shapes and abilities running – why do you think that is?
It is a big challenge but it’s one of the world’s biggest charitable events and the crowds in London are fantastic, so it makes it a lot of fun! You don’t need to be fast; you don’t even need to run all the way to be part of it. New Balance did a campaign as part of the London Marathon which describes it as ‘Everybody’s Race’ – which I think sums it up.
Finally, what’s next?!
Keep running and try to beat my time. I have the Great North Run on 8th September 2019 for the third time where I’m aiming for a new PB. I have already booked my place on the Manchester Marathon for 2020 too.
Heather has raised over £2,900 for Action Aid UK! But, there’s still time to donate towards this worthy cause, visit Heather’s page here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/HeatherSmith45