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The Marathon Christine


Fieldhouse spoke to runners


about their first time… and asked them, how was it for you?


“It wasn’t that


special for me” Stephen Heaps, 42, is a finance director for UK Gear, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire. The marathon was a bit of an anti-climax for him “I was born and bred in London and as a schoolboy I was roped into helping with the bags for one of the first London Marathons so I figured that at some point I would do it myself one day. It wasn’t until 2008, just before I was 40, that I ran it. “I know people say it’s amazing, but I was on my own and in my own personal zone. I’m not keen on big crowds and big events, so while it was nice running past Big Ben and other landmarks, I would have preferred to be somewhere with beautiful scenery such as Switzerland, where I used to work. “I was aiming to run it in under four hours – my time was 4:16 in the end. There was a lot of frustration over a jam at Cutty Sark where everyone had to walk. “I’ve continued running at the gym and in half marathons. I might do London again one day, but only to force myself to do the training. For me, I’m sorry to say, it wasn’t that special.”


22 n RUNNING FREE


“I crossed the finish line and


burst into tears” Jennifer Batterham, 26, is a communications executive, from Putney, south west London. She remembers the highs and lows of her first run “Amazing is the word I’d use to sum up my experience of the 2010 London Marathon. I’d trained for eight months through the dark, cold and wet weather, then suddenly the big day was here! “I’d done three half


marathons, but I’d always wanted to do London. I was so nervous I went to the toilet 10 times before we set off. “At mile nine my mum was on a stool, her arms were everywhere as she was shouting: ‘Go Jen! Go Jen!’ “As I crossed the finish line in 4:29 I burst into tears and a big man gave me a huge hug, nestling me in his very sweaty armpit. I was so pleased to finish I didn’t care! The £5,100 I raised for Orphancare is being used to build a playground at an orphanage on the border of South Africa and Swaziland. “I’m now concentrating on half-marathons and I hope to do Paris next year so I can admire the scenery!”


“It took breast cancer to get


me to run 26.2” Sue Rowland, 61, is a veterinary officer, from Somerset. She dyed her hair, got tearful at Tower Bridge and raised £6,000 for charity “I’d always wanted to run


a marathon, but it was only when I’d been diagnosed with breast cancer that I applied for London. “I have no regrets. I dyed


my hair pink so my friends could see me and I was elated for two days afterwards that I had actually finished the marathon. I finished in 5:38, raising more than £6,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. “An iconic moment for me


was when I approached Tower Bridge. I almost burst into tears. Seeing the towers really brought it home to me that I was actually running the London Marathon. “As I came under a bridge on the Embankment, I remember a really posh gentleman saying to me: ‘Not long to go now, dear, and you can have a gin and tonic!’. I saw my daughter at about mile 10 and she asked if I was running or walking. I didn’t know but it didn’t matter! www.breakthrough.org.uk.


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