Tim refuses to slow down for the London Marathon!

09 March 2018

Tim Gray is running the London Marathon on behalf of the Merton Home Tutoring Service. Here he tells Team London all about it. 

I'm thrilled to be running the 2018 London Marathon on behalf of the Merton Home Tutoring Service. This will be my 27th marathon, and my 3rd in London. 

Although I had completed 10 marathons before 2017, I knew I was not close to full fitness for speed (which tends to be just under four and a half hours). However, I stubbornly decided I wanted quantity over quality. So, 2 stone overweight, and with no intensive training to speak of except for my normal running routine, I started booking things. Before I knew it I ended up with 15 marathons and challenge events in my calendar. Many of these were 6-hour challenge events, organised by Saxons, Vikings and Normans - a club that organises running events in a social environment

As the name suggests, these events allow you a 6-hour time limit to do as many laps as you can. At times I ran with friends, at others alone. I got lapped many, many times, and occasionally managed to lap someone myself. I met some pretty remarkable people. Steve, who has run the most consecutive sub three-and-a-half-hour marathons; Kat, setting a new record for most marathons run by a woman in a year; Karen and Bob, who I travelled with to many of the events. I proudly note that my wife also ran her first ever half marathon and a few 16-mile runs as well.

I only had one 'fail' in the year - the Fowlmead 50. A chest infection did not clear in time for the run, which meant I had to alternate between a slow run and a walk. The walking in particular impacted badly on the soles of my feet, so I had to call it a day after just over 11 hours. Still, this was my longest 'run' ever at 40 miles, so I have no complaints. I'll spare any readers an account of my blisters - very grim, but made easier by Karen who stayed with me for 28 miles. Thanks Karen!

The Beirut marathon was a big highlight though. Good friends lived there and it was my last chance to run with their support on the day before they moved back to England. It had to be done, and it was great fun. 

So, how have I been preparing for the 2018 London Marathon? Well, poorly so far! Illness throughout January has kept me from running as much as I'd like but I have managed the Tadworth Ten, five 5k parkruns, and three 5k Night Runs.  

However, I've a lot on before the main run in April, including some half marathons, a 'practice' marathon (the Ghost of the Kent Roadrunner), and a 5k parkrun where I was aided (and outrun!) by my son. The parkrun culminated in a 'cool down' dip in the Sea at Eastbourne - which was a little nippy. But I feel that I'm back in the right direction.

The conventional wisdom is that it's all about the training, and perhaps if you want a fast time that's true. But if you just want to finish almost any distance, I believe you just have to keep going. My Christianity helps me here; it's not just about inner strength, but perseverance and faith too.

My favourite quote sums it up:

"To keep on going, you have to keep up the rhythm.” 
― Haruki Murakami, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running

The running is all doable, I can handle that. The big challenge is the money, so please help me raise money for a great cause and donate.

Tim was given the opportunity to run the 2018 London Marathon for Merton Home Tutoring Service through Team London. Find out more about what we do.

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