If you don’t know, Runners World and Asics choose 5 people every year to kit out, train and prepare for the Paris Marathon in April. You get trained by amazing coaches (Steve Smythe and Sam Murphy), kitted out by Asics in their gorgeous running clothes, a personal and scary (but lovely) nutritionist Ruth, Sarah-Connors-of-the-Pointy-Elbows, the brilliant physiotherapist and Sports Psychologist Victor; “So WHY do you want to run everywhere then, Sarah?” ... “Well for the crème eggs ... obviously!”
|Photography by Tom Miles|
I was invited back along with Roger, Ady and Malcs to chat to the 50 bootcampers from among whom the lucky 5 would be selected. Our role was to put them at their ease and to tell them what exactly was involved in the campaign. The prize is amazing and wonderful and exciting ... but it was also the hardest 4.5 months of my life. It’s not to be taken lightly! As Ady joked “If it had lasted another month it might have cost me my marriage.”
It’s an intense 4.5 months. Every training session, every workout is scrutinised, not only by the coaches, but by the people following you on the Runners World forums, in the magazines and on social media. You have to report back on your progress, on each individual session and reply to any questions that might be raised. Even if the question was “So why do you wear such awful neon pink socks?”
|Photography by Tom Miles|
You have to track your food ... and post every morsel, mouthful and crème egg online. And be judged and corrected or condemned by both the nutritionist and the forumites. I had to cut down on crème eggs AND got told off for my all-you-can-eat chilli nights ... but I learned the proper way to fuel and to carb load. Carb loading for me included pick’n’mix sweeties. I LOVE Ruth.
You’re an ambassador, both for Runners World and Asics and have to behave accordingly. Lots of running, lots of photos, lots of behaving self.
And hardest of all is the responsibility. 3000 people wanted this. You were lucky enough to be chosen. You have to prove to yourself that you deserve this. That you are going to make the most of this. You are NEVER going to get this opportunity again. This is your one opportunity. Make the most of it.
It’s hard. It’s really hard. I remember being up to midnight most nights as I was running 5 or 6 days a week, then posting about it on the forum, answering questions on the forum, checking what I was eating, following the training schedule and trying not to panic about the thought of knocking a huge amount off of my marathon time.
But it’s brilliant. You become good friends with the other 4 people going through the same thing. You achieve times, paces you never thought possible. You learn how to fuel for a race. You have a coach you can put your absolute trust in. And most of all you get belief.
Belief that you can do this.
And then you do.
It was a crazy, hard, AMAZING 4 months. One of the toughest things I’ve done.
But I’d do it again in a heartbeat.
And if you want to help a fellow runner get to Paris with Asics262, you can vote for Lindsay here. She's completely bonkers and goes by the name of Tigger as she's always so incredibly enthusiastic. Especially about wine.