With 2018’s Virgin Money London Marathon just around the corner, we thought now would be a prime time to inspire a new generation of long-distance runners. Whether you’re an avid jogger or a serial sofa surfer, we’re here to tell you that there is no reason why you can’t aim to complete a marathon yourself.
Just ask these guys and gals...
Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich
Let’s start as we mean to go on, with a runner who won 11 marathon races back-to-back between 2010 and 2014. From Kenya, Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich is something of a long-distance whizz, with plenty of Olympic medals, world records and course records to his name. What’s more, Wilson was the first runner to break the two-hour and five-minute mark five times in a row. His most recent win was the Tokyo Marathon in 2017 and he placed second in the New York City Marathon that year too.
We couldn’t possibly pass up an opportunity to mention Paula Radcliffe MBE. The fastest women’s marathoner in history, Paula has won the London Marathon and the New York City Marathon three times each and holds numerous world records and titles. Regularly heralded as one of our greatest sports personalities, Paula makes marathon running look easy and we have nothing but respect for the former BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
You’ve heard the name, no doubt. Something of an athletics legend, Haile, who hails from Ethiopia, has enjoyed a career spanning more than two decades. During this time, he has stormed his way to two Olympic gold medals, 27 world records and 61 Ethiopian national records – not to mention winning nine marathons! Regarded as the greatest marathon runner of all time, Haile is now retired. However, that won’t stop him from inspiring a new generation of marathon and long-distance runners.
Amy Palmiero Winters
Amy lost her left leg in a motorbike accident in 1994, yet has a massive 11 world records to her name. This inspirational runner completed her first marathon in 2006 and did so in style. She smashed the previous world record by 25 minutes! Since then she’s broken numerous records and continues to inspire children with physical disabilities via her One Step Ahead Foundation. Oh, and she just happens to be the first female amputee to tackle and blitz the Badwater Ultramarathon, which spans 135 miles. She has our utmost admiration.
These top tips will get you started on your quest to become a marathon runner:
- First, be sure to get the go ahead from your doctor, particularly if you’re new to running
- Start slowly. Aim to walk, jog or gently run for thirty minutes, four times a week
- Aim to build stamina and confidence over four to eight weeks of regular running
- Download a training plan, such as this one from the Virgin Money London Marathon website
- Set realistic goals and document your progress
- Eat well and drink plenty of water
You don’t have to run a marathon, of course. Any running, jogging or walking that you choose to do will no doubt be a step in the right direction towards a healthier lifestyle. While it’s always a good idea to outline your goals and fitness ambitions as you begin training, it would be a bad idea to frighten yourself with any unrealistic expectations just yet. 2018 might be well underway, but it’s never too late to set yourself a new challenge or take up a new fitness hobby.
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