I’ve always loved a challenge, so when the email from London Virgin Marathon landed in my inbox confirming my ballot place I had no hesitation in accepting the place and embarking on my journey to 26.2.
I was a total newbie to marathons, so with no idea of where to start, I found an online program, bought myself some new running shoes and dived into the training. Everything was going well, I was increasing my load gradually and the miles were building. I could feel my body adapted to the load and feeling fitter with every run.
Four months into training, I sustained a knee injury from a skiing accident. I was absolutely gutted, I had a scan which showed a meniscus injury and was told I wouldn’t be able to run the 2018 London Marathon. Any runner who has been in this situation will sympathise - injuries suck! It was so hard watching from the sidelines as everyone else continued their training plans on the build up to the marathon.
Fortunately there is an opportunity to defer ballot injury, so I decided 2019 would be my year. Rest and recovery were essential to get myself back into running. Over the next year I dedicated my time to building back the strength in the muscles around my knee, and slowly got back into running. I was back to square one with my fitness, but I knew this was something I really wanted.
Coming back from injury meant that I had to be extra vigilant with not over-training. I placed more of an emphasis on cross training; particularly non weight bearing activities such as swimming and cycling to lessen the overall load on my knee. I dedicated more time to sleep and I listened to my body. If I started to feel any knee-related niggles I would adapt my training to let this settle.
Being forced to wait another year helped me to appreciate the day of the marathon even more. I had no pressure on getting a certain time, I just wanted to enjoy my first marathon and soak in the atmosphere. Race day came and I was overwhelmed by the support of the crowd. I can honestly say I enjoyed every minute of it. 26.2 flew by for me, with my family/friends picking me up when I needed.
Without getting too cliche...crossing the finish line felt an amazing accomplishment. The runner's high was real. As I was deliberating paying the extortionate money for the official photos, I stumbled across the @RacetracePrints page on instagram I knew this would be the perfect memento for the day. The print is personalised which makes it even more special (It also provides an opportunity for bragging rights whenever someone comes over and sees it on your wall!).
Words by Maisie Kilner