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My London Marathon Experience: It’s great being part of #TeamPSPA

My wonderful Auntie, Moira Catherall passed away in 2018 after experiencing many challenges with PSP.

She was a fantastic primary school Headteacher and a much-loved mother, sister and aunt. Since then, as a family we have taken part in many events to raise money and awareness for PSP & CBD under the name Moi’s Movers and so far we have fundraised over £5,650.

For many years I had considered taking part in the London Marathon as a pipe dream, so the opportunity to run in it for #TeamPSPA is an honour. It’s been great to be part of the #TeamPSPA community.

I love running! I don’t just love running for the physical challenge. I have also found it to have so many other wellbeing benefits. That said, I had never taken part in the London marathon. I’ve been a daily runner for the last three years, but training for the London marathon has given me the chance to create a more structured training plan and push myself to new limits. That’s not to say it has been easy. It still takes several alarms to get me up for those early morning runs – particularly when it’s cold and wet!! 

Like most people, I was gutted to hear that the marathon had been initially postponed, and subsequently moved to October 2021. However, I believe that in the end, the right decision was made. Whilst I continued with my training throughout lockdown, I was becoming somewhat anxious about the possibility of taking part in such a large mass participation event this October.

Despite the initial disappointment, I decided that rather than put all the training and hard work to waste, I would instead work to improve my strength and speed, given the additional training weeks we have now been gifted. More than anything, many amazing people have donated to my Justgiving fundraising page, so I intend to use this additional time to continue to raise awareness of PSP & CBD. 

On the original date of the London Marathon in April, I ran a trail marathon around my local town in the Cotswolds. Albeit this was certainly a different experience from the one I was hoping for, it was a great feeling to complete a marathon, following all the hours of training – and to honour the donations I had received to date. As soon as the virtual event was announced it was great to have another date to work towards and continue my fundraising.

Being a Strava user, at the start of lockdown I started a running group (LoneWolf Running Club). Feel free to join!  This has been a great way to keep in touch with friends and make new ones around the world – whilst not huge, the group now has members in Spain, Canada, Germany, Australia and Brazil. More than anything, this has been a great way to give support and positivity to each other, particularly during the height of lockdown.

Throughout lockdown, like most people I worked from home. Running has given a welcome structure to exercise and fresh air, which the normal daily commute would bring! I run every day and am very lucking to have so many different routes on my doorstep. Without the daily commute to deal with I have had a lot more time in the mornings and evenings to dedicate to my training. I have found it really important to mix up my running routes and following some advice, I have also integrated speed and hill training into my weekly plan which has really helped with improving my time.

It has certainly been hard to keep up the same level of training during lockdown. With both the difference in weather along with the uncertainty of when I will get to actually run the marathon? I have found it really important to give myself smaller achievable goals, whether that be to run a half marathon once a month, or to run my fastest kilometre. It’s also been really important to reward oneself every once in a while, either with a few days of rest, or those new trainers you’ve been putting off buying! The most important thing is to enjoy the process so that on the day (if that’s in October or next year) you can cross the finish line with a huge smile!

Oliver

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oliverknights

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