Are you London Marathon ready?
Marathon enthusiast John Forgen reveals why he loves stepping out in his running shoes and how it feels to cross that finish line.
I usually get up early and slip out quietly so as not to wake my 7-month-old son – if he is asleep!
I try to run between 6 and 10 miles daily – usually quite slowly! I don’t stretch beforehand, as it always seems to lead to pulled calf muscles, but I do warm up. I make sure I stretch at the end of my run and any time I get the chance. My main aim while training now is to pick up my pace without causing any injuries.
I did lots of running while on holiday in France and my fitness has really improved.
I can now run for up to two hours before breaking for a short walk. Running in the French countryside is wonderful as long as you remember that they drive on the “wrong” side of the road. The only drawback is French dogs: the French love their dogs but their dogs don’t like runners! I was chased a few times – it’s amazing how fast you can go if you’re being chased ferocious bulldog!
I really enjoy running along the river Thames near our home in England.
Our location is amazing – we live about one minute from the river. I have a brilliant training route and can run up to 20 miles along the river. I can also walk or cycle to work – just under 4 miles away.
Although I loved running, at school I wasn’t very sporty.
I hated the muddy cross-country runs and always finished near the back! On one of these runs, the class tough kid, Fletcher, suggested I run with him. I had started off at my usual sprint when Fletcher told me to slow down: “Take it easy! Let’s pace ourselves”. We trotted round the course and came in 5th and 6th! Fletcher’s advice has stayed with me and I try to mix in walking with running every time I head out.
I discovered my love of running when I was a student.
I did it mainly to keep in shape and keep my weight down but it really grew on me. In 1999 I ran the London and New York Marathons and they had an amazing impact. Not only did I lose loads of weight, through participating I developed a strong conviction that I could achieve just about anything if I put my mind to it. This belief in myself has really stayed with me.
The London Marathon is special because of the crowd and because it’s London – it’s an iconic event.
It’s also a big race for the professional runners – running in the same race as the big names is amazing. There is a great sense of community amongst participants. And having my family there all there cheering me on is absolutely brilliant! Last year, my son Henry called out “John!” as I ran past – that really made the difference and got me to the finish line.
I really want to run the London Marathon again because I love the challenge – my goal stay as fit as possible.
This year I really want to beat my last time of six hours. It’s also really motivating to have your family there, cheering you on. Fundraising is a big part of it too. I’ll be thinking about the people I’ll be raising money for – people like my friend Dennis, who was paralysed in a motor cycle accident in 2008. His story had a real impact on me and has really motivated me to do another marathon.
I’m very pleased to be raising money for Livability. I especially like the way the charity encourages independence in the people they support. I am also impressed by Livability Enterprise and the way they work to get people back into work. As I’ve worked with entrepreneurs for many years, I found this part of the charity’s work particularly inspiring.
If you’re wondering whether to take on the London Marathon…
You should definitely go for it! Take the challenge! Once you’re past the finishing line, you will feel amazing. You’ll feel able to do just about anything!
John Forgan is Director of Business Strategy at Ward Williams Chartered Accountants and Director of Work Based Learning at Kingston University Business School. Aged 62, he is the proud father of three adult children and Thomas, aged seven months. He’s also a proud grandfather of three grandsons.
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