A brave team of four from Alliotts are taking part in this year's Virgin London Marathon on 26 April. They are fundraising for Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention in memory of a dear friend and colleague Debbie Rennox (13 May 1980 - 24 August 2014)
To visit the dedicated 'just giving' fundraising page please go to TEAM ALLIOTTS or contact us directly on 020 7240 9971.
Alex, Gordon, Nick and Sarah have been busy training hard over the last few months whilst working full time. We asked them what motivated them to enter, what has kept them going through those dark nights pounding the streets and what tips they would like to share about their training, here's what they told us...
Name: Alex Reddock - Trainee Accountant, based in our Guildford Office
Do you listen to music when you run, if so what? Usually when I’m exercising I listen to some of favourite music, specifically a rather obscure band called Yeasayer. I have trained so far without the aid of music as I am uncertain whether or not music is permitted on race day, but if it is, I shall certainly be relying on their three albums to get me through the race!
Who’s your sporting idol? As an avid tennis fan, and an official, it has been great to see the development and success of Andy Murray. His achievements are undervalued and British tennis will definitely miss him when he retires! It’s great to see someone, in the face of adversity, truly inspire people to keep working hard to get better at something and achieve success.
What keeps you motivated to finish a run? Music usually helps – as I alluded to previously, listening to albums really helps to manage my time and distance. My training routes often include laps and loops – I always try to gear myself to run just one more lap of the lake. After all I want to enjoy the scenery!
What made you decide to enter the 2015 London Marathon? This could be a long answer! I have to admit, long-distance running has always been something I didn’t think I could do. I will never forget (and in fact it has now become inspiration) a 400m race at a school sports day many moons ago. I had just run the 100m and 200m sprints and that was what I used to. I then tried my first 400m and applied the same methodology – sprinting! After the first bend I found myself far in the lead, thinking: “this is easy!” By the second bend, I was toast. I learned a lot about running that day! Once I heard about the opportunity to run the marathon as part of a team I was very seriously contemplating it. Then a colleague who had inadvertently volunteered to do the race suddenly panicked and I stepped up and effectively did them a 26.2 mile favour!
Have you ever completed a marathon before? No – after that 400m blunder I was quite scared about running! Bar a few 10k races, and some regular jogging in my teenage years, a marathon had always seemed too much!
What has running taught you about yourself? I think I’ve learned that one needs a lot of self-discipline and motivation. I have surprised myself with how many times I’ve convinced myself to run just that little bit extra in training runs!
What training plan are you following? As a beginner and complete newcomer to running I sought a plan from the Virgin London Marathon website – I found the 17 week programme, although a recent muscle injury has messed this up a bit!
How do you organise your training around working full time? Ideally I would motivate myself to wake up earlier and run on some mornings – after all that’s what will happen on race day. Instead I try to ensure I get out for my 3 scheduled runs a week in the evenings.
What is your target finishing time? As a newbie I have no idea if and how quickly I will finish the race! I have guessed 5 hours! But just passing the line will be good enough!
Is there a valuable piece of advice you’d like to share? Don’t go trampolining and injure yourself! Wear decent footwear to reduce the pain on your legs!
Name: Gordon Soutar, Digital Marketing Executive based in our London office
Do you listen to music when you run, if so what? I can’t run without music, it helps me forget that I’m running. I listen to a very eclectic mix, one minute it will be some 80’s classics and the next it could be the latest indie band, I think even some Enya has found its way into the mix.
Who’s your sporting idol? I don’t really have a sporting idol, I appreciate what top athletes go through to remain at the top, but there isn’t one person who I particularly admire or idolise.
What keeps you motivated to finish a run? Knowing that if I don’t finish the run I am only cheating myself. It makes no difference to anyone else if I finish or not, so I keep going to prove to myself that I can.
What made you decide to enter the 2015 London Marathon? Stupidity? I ran a half marathon last year and when the opportunity arose to participate in the marathon, I thought ‘why not?’ I feel like running a marathon is the next logical challenge after completing a half.
Have you ever completed a marathon before? Never, I started running a little over two years ago and signed up for a half marathon. Then I rewarded myself for completing this by taking time off from running, but I forgot to start again. So I’ve been trying to regain my fitness.
What has running taught you about yourself? That I can push myself to do more than I thought. I’ve often been in the middle of a long run and wanted to quit, but I have realised a lot of running is about the right mentality, and this is something I didn’t think I had.
What training plan are you following? I’m following a ‘novice’ training plan created by a Marathon guru called Hal Higdon. It’s a very different training plan to what many others are following, but it got me through the half marathon – so, ‘in Hal I trust’.
How do you organise your training around working full time? Alliotts have been great at helping me fit in my training; I will often take a shorter lunch break so I can get home earlier and get my run in after work. It’s hard to get out when it is cold and dark but it is surprising what a difference an hour can make.
What is your target finishing time? My target is to simply finish while they are still recording the time. I have no illusions of glory and I know my limitations, simply finishing will be an achievement (but if pushed I would say anything under five hours and I’d be ecstatic).
Is there a valuable piece of advice you’d like to share? Running isn’t all about your fitness level; a large part of it is your mental state. When I started running I could nearly run half a mile, now I am training for a marathon and 10 mile runs are the norm. Ignore everyone around you when you are running, you may be over taken by everyone, or you may be doing the overtaking, but you don’t know their stories so just focus on you.
Name: Nick Watterson - Junior Manager, Accounts and Audit, based in our Guildford Office
Do you listen to music when you run, if so what? 50/50 radio 4 podcasts (The Now Show is a favourite) or some old punk rock bands from when I was at school (helps you keep a good tempo!).
Who’s your sporting idol? Joey Dunlop – being part Manx I have a great love of Motorbike racing and there was no-one better than the Northern Irishman on the roads.
What keeps you motivated to finish a run? Knowing that the pain is worth it at the end.
What made you decide to enter the 2015 London Marathon? Injury deferral from 2014.
Have you ever completed a marathon before? Yes I ran it back in 2011 – stupidly fancied the challenge again!
What has running taught you about yourself? Some things are worth pushing yourself for – you might want to give up when it starts hurting part way through but that feeling at the end is definitely worth it!
What training plan are you following? The official London Marathon one – it’s a pretty standard training programme and fits in with my schedule.
How do you organise your training around working full time? With difficulty! I try to get out for a couple of evening runs during the week and I arrange my long runs in the morning at the weekend so I still have time to do stuff around the flat.
What is your target finishing time? Anything less than 5 hours and I’ll be happy.
Is there a valuable piece of advice you’d like to share? Just try to enjoy the race – there’s enough going on along the route to keep your mind off your legs and it’s a great way to see bits of the city you won’t have seen before.
Name: Sarah Messruther - Trainee Accountant, based in our Guildford Office
Do you listen to music when you run, if so what? I currently only have two albums on my phone so I usually listen to Imagine Dragons when I run. Recently though I have downloaded a couple of audiobooks and I listen to those while running.
Who’s your sporting idol? Alan Shearer, for his dedication to his team, or Jonathan Edwards, I quite enjoyed triple jumping when I was at school (not that I was that great at it).
What keeps you motivated to finish a run? The thought of food and a shower, I am not sure in which order…
What made you decide to enter the 2015 London Marathon? As a challenge and to get involved.
Have you ever completed a marathon before? Nope. I have never entered a half-marathon either.
What has running taught you about yourself? That I am feeling old? More seriously that I have a tendency to look before I leap but also the stubbornness to make it through (usually).
What training plan are you following? The London Marathon intermediate plan (loosely).
How do you organise your training around working full time? I do most of my training at the weekend and an evening or two during the week. I forgive myself for missing weekdays if I am a bit too tired – I do not want to get injured by pushing too far. At the same time I have a few active evening hobbies anyway so I use them as core strength/stamina training.
What is your target finishing time? I would like to finish in under five hours.
Is there a valuable piece of advice you’d like to share? Stamina over speed: I have been told to be very careful at the start and to keep a bit back for an impressive finish.
Ian Gibbon Chairman of Alliotts, who has completed several London Marathons and understands the effort involved said,
' Alex, Gordon, Nick and Sarah have shown real dedication in sticking to their training and we wish them every success on the day. We are proud to support Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention in Debbie's memory.'