London Virtual Marathon 2021


What is the London Virtual Marathon?

The London Virtual Marathon 2021 is going to be the world’s largest ever marathon. 50,000 runners around the globe will join 50,000 runners on the streets of London to run 26.2 miles.  Because of the pandemic last year the London Marathon was unable to go ahead and so instead they held the first ‘Virtual’ London Marathon. So this year they are going to repeat the virtual event alongside the actual London Marathon which means a staggering 100,000 runner will complete.
What does this actually mean? Participants can run the 26.2 miles from 12.01am until 11.59pm on Sunday 3rd October. You choose your own route and then you can run it continuously, you can run/walk it, you can run a half marathon in the morning and another in the afternoon. As long as you complete the 26.2 miles on the day you’ll get a London Marathon Finisher T-shirt & a Medal. You download the official tracking app, enter your race entry number and register. On 3rd October you press start at the beginning of your run and stop at the end and it will confirm your time to the organisers who will then send you a lovely t-shirt and medal.

Running the Virtual London Marathon for Mind

I have always run for my mental health, generally a couple of hours a week. On go my earphones, pump up my tunes and off I go. My head just focuses on the exertion of the run, the nature all around me and the music. I return an hour later happier, sweatier and definitely more chilled.
So back in February when I was chatting about the impact of the pandemic on our mental health with my two sisters, Lorrie & Lou, we – to be fair Lorrie – came up with the idea of raising money for Mind by entering this year’s Virtual London Marathon. It would be good to have something to train for we said, a great cause we said, and even if we ended up walking the entire thing it would be a real achievement we said. Plus I’m a complete sucker for a race t-shirt and it had been a while since I’d added one to my collection. So we booked! We were so lucky to get a place, it sold out in 11 days!

Running 26.2 miles

But then the reality of running 26.2 miles started to dawn on me…..that’s a much bigger ask of my body and my head!
Help I thought, I am always inspired to run when I hear Vassos Alexander and Chris Evans talking about running on their radio show so I bought both their marathon training books.
Vassos’ book is excellent for loads of inspiring stories about marathon runners, my favourite is the 70 year old lady who wears a big pink hat and aims to come last in every marathon she competes in, scoping up struggling runner on her way. He has great training plans too.

Positive Mindset for Running

But it is Chris’ 119 Days To Go that is my marathon bible, yes he talks about the running and on his advice I’ve slowed right down which has so far kept me pretty much injury free – apart from the odd tumble & piriformis! But it’s his mindset advice that has really been the game changer for me. You have to fill in a marathon diary and he only lets you say good stuff, and it works! 
Invigorated by my running I started a social media skills course in May with TechPixies which is teaching me loads of great social media stuff but it is their neurocoaching combined with a brilliantly supportive co-hort of inspiring entrepreneurs that makes it such an amazing course! There is a lot of course reading so rather than blasting out tunes I’m listening to great audiobooks. I’m changing my mindset by saying things like ‘I get to run 22 miles’ – thanks @joyfoster – rather than ‘I have to run 22 miles!’

Setting An Example

I heard about a study years ago, probably something on Radio 4, where they found that boys who had a Mum that exercised were far more likely to take up exercise themselves than if just the Dad exercised. So I’ve been sharing my location when I’m on my long runs – thanks Rich – so that my 3 boys can see why their mum might be a bit tired when she gets back! I think he also likes to know where I am in case I keel over!

Just over 2 weeks until Marathon time

Well this week I ran my last long training run (22 miles) before the big day – 3rd October – and I’m beginning to feel that I might actually be able to make it…I’ve got a nice flat route planned and a slap up roast dinner in a fantastic pub at the end!
If you fancy sponsoring me there’s a link in the post pinned to the top of my FaceBook page, no pressure! I just think we all need to take care of our mental health and of those around us.
*At the time of writing the official app isn’t actually ready yet which is making me a trifle anxious as my Garmin tracker failed recently!