Wendy was part of a group of ten Gatley Runners who decide to run a marathon after the Covid lockdowns, they approached me the previous summer to work with them to get them through the marathon and took me on an incredible journey. It was only fairly late in the process that I decide I would join them for the run on race day and stay with whoever was at the back of our group (or who ended up there later on). During the training for the marathon I provided the group with 3 ‘generic’ plans based on their running volume before the training started, but whenever illness, injury or life intervened to force a runner to lose more than a couple of runs from the program I would step in and provide a personalised plan to get them back on track.
Wendy was the backbone of much of the training, getting hundreds of miles done without complaint and with minimal issues. She was also willing to listen to the other athletes various issues (including some fairly graphic photos of injuries). Every running group should be lucky enough to have someone like Wendy. And she ran a marathon, well done again Wendy!
I’ve been running on and off for years. I joined Gatley runners a couple of years ago because my daughter wanted to do the C25K with a few of her friends. Prior to this I had always been a solitary runner.
Surprisingly for a 11 year old she didn’t stick to it, but some of the people stuck to me! I found a group of like-minded folk who loved daft runs and challenges that became part of my life that meant a lot to me.
Then Covid hit. Running became one of the only reasons to leave the house and at times the only social life I had! Then as the world opened back up again we started running more as a group, and on a group run one chilly sunny morning from Old Trafford, along the side of the river… somebody (it may have been me) said that they could run a marathon on a day like that.
Before I knew it, there was a WhatsApp group and I’d paid the membership fee!!! Me… a previously size 20, self confessed lazy early 40s lady! Not sure I believed it really….
We then convinced Alex to write us a training plan. He clearly studied our individual Strava info carefully and came up with a plan based on our ruining history over the last few months. Unfortunately at the time I was running a lot and so was allocated the A group!
There seemed to be a lot of running on the plan which panicked me a little, as I’m a busy working mum with a fairly high pressured job. Anyway I set off on the plan and slowly realised that I needed to run slightly less than prescribed as I could not fit it in. But I managed somewhere between the A and B plan. And I loved it. I could feel myself getting fitter, and embraced the strength training and yoga spasmodically.
I then hit Christmas and was loving running, despite the cold and the dark mornings. And things were feeling ok apart from a knee injury picked up trying to get a 10k PB at Tatton (which I did!!!).
After Christmas the training increased again, and with it came some fatigue. It felt overwhelming and a little beyond my reach, but the other trainees and Alex kept my head! It passed and suddenly the beginning of April was getting closer. Some of the long runs felt amazing and I began to believe I could do it.
As race day approached I had wobbles. I asked all sorts of questions and got the answers I needed to get me to the start line.
And then I bloody did it! I ran a marathon. It’s taken me a while to feel good about it, because I felt that I could have done better, faster. But again, Alex explained that anything can happen on race day. It’s such an unknown! And I said never again… until the possibility of training with this amazing group and our fab coach was again a possibility. I’m not saying definitely but I’m not saying definitely not!
I still can’t say thanks enough to Alex for his ongoing endless patience with all of the questions and worries that he has had to endure….. I NEVER though it would be possible and I am amazed that it was!