How did the Marathon Men do?

You might have read my interviews last week with Edd, Tony, Scott ahead of the London Marathon. On Sunday, I was cheering them and another 38,000 runners on their way from Tower Bridge. Here’s how they got on.

Rev Edd completed the marathon in 5:02:32 (5 hours, 2 minutes and 32 seconds). So far he’s raised £3301.20 for Christian Aid.

‘I had a tough run with food poisoning but I feel great to have done it! A big thanks goes to my wife, who gave me the strength to go on.’

Tony with his brother and Mum

Tony finished in 4:14:36 and raised £2006.20 for the British Heart Foundation. He’ll be running the Hackney Half Marathon in just two weeks time.

‘I set out at a relatively comfortable pace, tucking in behind the 4h15 pacemaker and ended up following him the entire way round! I’m so chuffed to have completed my first marathon and even happier to have smashed my fundraising target. As for my plans going forward, I’ll definitely be entering more marathons in the future!’

Scott finished in 4:51:16. He’s raised £720 so far for Havens Hospice, which will doubled by a donation from his employer.

‘I’m just relived it’s done! It was a great experience and the crowd were amazing. I’m glad I completed my second marathon and beat my time from last year!’

Ben with his sister Millie

Ben ran the marathon in 5:21:49. He and teammates have raised around £10000 for Breast Cancer Now by running the marathon. Over the last fives years, they’ve now raised almost £65,000.

‘I’m still in shock that I actually managed to get round, and I’m definitely feeling it now! But the  reaching the end was one of the best feelings ever. It was emotional. I crossed the line crying my eyes out!

I don’t think I could’ve done it without the support of my friends and family, and the whole crowd along the way. The event really wouldn’t be the same without them. I’m really chuffed that we’ve raised so much money. It’s only right for me to carry on, do more and raise more.

To anyone out there considering a marathon: do it. It was hands down the most rewarding experience of my life.’


Four simple ways to kickstart your fitness journey

Starting a new fitness regime can sometimes seem like a daunting prospect. Even the word ‘regime’ sounds intimidating. However it’s very simple to make minor changes in your day to day life that can have a hugely positive impact. These changes benefit your health and fitness, and help your motivation to continue towards a healthier and fitter lifestyle. Here are four great starting points. They sound ridiculously obvious but hopefully they’ll make you focus and start, or restart, small.

Nathan will be blogging about health and fitness for The Men We Are

Drink water
Don’t just add more water, only drink water. Our bodies depend on water to survive. Every cell, tissue, and organ needs water to work correctly. An easy way to do this is to keep a water bottle or glass on your desk. It also gives you a reason to get up from your desk every hour and refill.

Schedule physical activity

It’s too easy to find an excuse not to exercise. The busyness and stress of modern life wears us down, so much so that sometimes just the prospect of exercise itself seems exhausting. Combat this by planning ahead and scheduling regular physical activity into your day, whether it be a morning jog or a lunchtime gym session. Make it an appointment that has to be attended, not something that only occurs when you have ‘spare time’.

Prepare your lunch
Whether you’re still in school or work full time, everyone should be preparing a packed lunch. It saves money, ensures you make healthy, fresh choices and keeps you on target in a nutritional sense. Save time and make your lunches in bulk, with enough sandwiches or salads to last a couple of days.

Cut down your alcohol
I understand the temptation to unwind after a hard day or the social pressure to be at the pub or drinking at parties. But save your liver and cut out weekday drinking. You’ll be cutting out a lot of excess calories too!

This is first blog post from Nathan is a personal trainer in Brentwood, Essex and sponsored by MyProtein. Every month he’ll be sharing some easy health and fitness tips. Got questions? Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Marathon Men: Ben

Ben, a student in Brighton, is far more comfortable on the rugby pitch than the running track. But then love – and loss – opens our eyes to new challenges and opportunities. 
Ben training with his eldest sister Millie
This is your first time running a marathon. What’s made you sign up?
I made a promise to myself after my crazy family first started running marathons for charity that I would run my own one when I turned 21. It is so far out of my league that I am completely and utterly terrified but at the same time I don’t think I’ve felt this excited about something for a long long time.

Who are you running for?
I’ll be running for Breast Cancer Now. Breast cancer is what took both my beautiful Mum and her Mum away from us. My family have raised over £55,000 so far during the last five years and anything I can do to add to that I’ll be proud of.

How have you enjoyed training?
I definitely feel like my training has been easier because I’ve done it alongside family members who’ve run several marathons between them. I’ve been able to somewhat plan my training a bit better and running with family and friends definitely makes it more enjoyable.  Running with someone is so much easier than running on your own, even if you run in complete and utter silence. The support of having someone there keeping you going or vice-versa really can make a difference.

How does running make you feel?
I’ll be honest, I’m not a natural runner, you only need to look at me to see that! However, I have actually enjoyed the training for this marathon. At times it felt like my body was going to collapse I doubted myself thinking ‘what have I got myself into?’. But the sense of achievement when you finally crawl home and realise that you’ve just covered 18 miles or so really does make it worth it.

What are you looking forward to about the day itself?
It’ll be a good feeling when I meet the rest of my family across the finish line. I know I’ll probably be a bawling baby shortly after because the best feeling will be the sense of accomplishment.

Do you enjoy running by yourself?
Running can be great if you’ve got a lot on your mind. It can really clear your head and help you if you’ve got difficult decisions to make. I used to run with music however my step-dad told me he finds listening to music a crutch of sorts. You’d find yourself keeping in pace with whatever the beat of the music was however that’s not necessarily the right thing for your body.

Do you need to make sacrifices to train for a marathon?
It actually surprised me how much of a commitment running is, you really do need to allocate time for it. My uncle would be up and running at 4am because he literally wouldn’t have time if not then. I’ve still managed to maintain a social life whilst I’ve been training. The only thing that’s really been a sacrifice is I haven’t played rugby since Christmas because I didn’t want to risk an injury.

What’s your top tip for a new runner?
Make sure you invest in a pair of proper running trainers or you’ll only be hurting yourself. Don’t worry about distance or time when you begin training, it’ll all come together in time anyway. I’ll try to keep running after the marathon for general fitness I think, next year is going to be my last at uni so I’d like that particular season to be my best yet.

How have your family and friends supported you so far?
My family have always been supportive of one another in everything we do and I know my sisters are always there if I ever need a phone call. The best way people can support me and rest of my family running the marathon is to donate! Leave a nice message too, my plan is to read all of the sponsors the night before the marathon for a bit more of a push to get round.

The loss you live with and the sad deaths of your Mum and Dad is tragic. How has it shaped your outlook on life?
I’ve had some really really low points, losing my mum was horrible but losing my dad very nearly broke me. I wasn’t myself for a long time and it took me a while to get back to who I am. I’m not one to think ‘everything happens for a reason’. I don’t want to think that way. No matter what, you have to make the best of any situation.

I’m constantly questioning whether or not they would be proud of me and the only way I can convince myself is to constantly push myself to do better. I wouldn’t call myself a religious person but I know that my Mum and Dad will be cheering me on during the Marathon somewhere.

Ben and his family are running for Breast Cancer Now, who fund research into prevention, early detection and effective treatment of breast cancer. You can sponsor them on their Virgin Money Giving page or leave a good luck message in the comments below.


Marathon Men: Scott

The depth of the crowd running the London Marathon this Sunday will be matched by a depth of motives. Maybe they’re taking part for the love of running, for a new challenge or to raise money for a favourite charity. Scott, a Corporate Banker from Benfleet in Essex, is running for all three reasons.
Scott with his medal from last year’s London Marathon

This is your second year running the London Marathon. What’s brought you back?

I enjoyed the challenge of running it last year and now I want to beat my personal best this time round.

What’s been your highs and lows of training?
It’s good to relieve stress after a long day at work. Running allows me to gather my thoughts and reflect on things. Getting injuries and illness can be demoralising after training hard but you need to stay positive and work on recovering as soon as possible.

How much of a commitment is it to train alongside a busy work life?
It is difficult to get yourself up for training but you need to stay focused on the end goal. It becomes a challenge when you have had a long day at work but you need to force yourself out there!

Who are you running for this year?
I am running for Havens Hospices, which is very close to my heart as my late Godmother passed away comfortably because of their amazing support.

What other running/sport achievements do you want to fulfil?
I would like to do a marathon in another country. Maybe NYC will be next!

How have your family and friends supported you so far, and what’s the best way people can support you?
Family and friends can provide support by encouraging you to train but ultimately you need to stay focused on the end-goal yourself.

Scott is running for Havens Hospices. They are ‘making every day count’ for the adults and children with life-limiting illnesses and their families. Like many in South Essex, my family have been helped by Havens before. You can sponsor Scott on his JustGiving page or leave a good luck message for him in the comments below.


Marathon Men: Tony

Ahead of this Sunday’s London Marathon, I’m catching up with some of my friends taking part. In my second interview, my school friend Tony, a Project Manager from East London, tells me about stepping up to longer distance running.
Tony, left, with his friend James at the Southend Half Marathon
What inspired you to run the London Marathon?
My first long distance run was the Reading Half Marathon in 2011 with my colleagues, raising money for The Children’s Trust. The opportunity to help those less privileged than myself was a major factor in deciding to take part as well as the chance to race against my peers – I’ve always been the competitive type! Since then I’ve run another three halfs and I felt moving up to marathon distance this year was the next logical step.

How does running make you feel?
Most of the time I feel great when running. There are times when it gets really hard and you want to stop but more often than not it’s a passing phase and you start to feel good again later in the session.

What’s been tough about training?
I struggled to find a training program which worked for me at first. I was running too quickly on certain days and getting quite bad shin splints as my body wasn’t used to the combination of increased distance and speed work. I started following Hal Higdon’s novice marathon training program and found the sessions to be a lot kinder on my body.
It’s quite hard psychologically to motivate myself to get out the front door sometimes, especially when it’s cold and rainy, but once you get going the running part is pretty easy!
Do you enjoy running by yourself?
Training is quite isolating but I don’t mind plugging in my music and getting my mileage in. I quite like my own company and it gives me a bit of time to myself. The London Marathon itself will be anything but isolating. It’s one of best supported events in the world. No doubt it’s going to be tough but I am really looking forward to feeding off the crowd’s energy and being part of such a special event.

What sacrifices have you made to prepare for the Marathon?
I think the biggest sacrifice I have to make is at weekends. My long runs tend to be on Saturday mornings so it really limits your ability to have a few drinks on Friday after a long week at work, something I’d normally indulge in! Saturday nights have been fairly quiet too as I’m pretty shattered from the mileage.

Who are you running for?
I’m running for the British Heart Foundation. Heart disease is the UK’s biggest preventable killer and the money I raise will go directly to funding research into preventing its impact in the future. They are my company’s charity of the year too so it’s great that I can support them in this way.

Do you have any other sporting challenges in mind?
Finishing the Marathon has been top of my agenda for a while so that is my main focus for now. I’ve already signed up to the Hackney Half Marathon two weeks after London and I intend to continue running by myself. I’ve heard triathlon is good fun and would like to improve my swimming so perhaps that’s one for the future.

What’s your top tip for a new runner?
Find a few short running routes near to where you live. I have a few different length ‘laps’ around my local area which I use for my runs. Start slowly. Downloading a running app such as MapMyRun or Nike+ is a really good idea as you can track your progress and it motivates you to continue to make improvements. ParkRun is also a really good way to get into running. They are local and free organised 5k runs on Saturday mornings. The atmosphere is always really welcoming and caters for any level of runner.

You can sponsor Tony on his JustGiving page. The British Heart Foundation fight for every heartbeat through cutting edge research into heart disease


Marathon Men: Edd

On Sunday, around 38,000 runners will take over the capital for the London Marathon. This week, I’ll be talking to four of my friends taking part about their training and charities. First up, I met Rev Edd in his Southend parish for some cake and chat (which only one of us ran off afterwards). 

What inspired you to run the London Marathon?
I wanted to challenge myself to do something mad, as I don’t feel particularly challenged in my work life, and I wanted to support the vital work of Christian Aid that I am so passionate about.
What’s been the highs and lows of training?  
There’s been quite a few lows: bloody nipples, being drained so I struggle with the rest of my day and realising that I’d locked myself out of my home so I had to break in! The highs have been a random high five with another runner on the seafront, the feeling of accomplishment after a long run and enjoying being out in God’s playing field.
Do you have any training partners?
Yes, my 2 year old daughter! I use a running buggy and we do short runs together in the field behind our house. She loves pointing out horse poo we pass.
How have you been raising money?
A good chunk has come from whisky tasting events! I’m passionate about drinking whisky, not baking cakes, so it’s great to use that passion to support Christian Aid. I especially appreciate how they work indiscriminately with any organisation and community to deliver God’s love through social justice and change.
How has running benefitted your role as a Curate? (A Curate is a trainee vicar in the Church of England)
Running gives me the headspace that I need to do ministry, particularly on difficult days in the parish. It’s a great release.
What’s your top tip for a new runner?
Start small, run a short distance then walk, run, walk. Don’t over do it as that’s when you cause injuries. Set yourself small goals.
How can people support you?
You can sponsor me on JustGiving. It’s so encouraging when I see people’s donations and supportive messages. Or if you also like whisky, I can host a tasting evening in your church or home for groups of 10 people or more. Please also pray that I don’t get any injuries or illnesses that could stop me running.

I work for Christian Aid. In 2013, I visited Colombia and saw work around human rights and land rights you wouldn’t normally think about an international development charity doing. £5 could provide a tarpaulin to use as emergency shelter.
Fancy a whisky tasting? Tweet @RevEddStock or email RevEddStock@gmail.com