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Beachy Head Marathon 'Mission Accomplished' by Richard Sexton

Now that Nicky and I have run (and walked!) our first marathon, we thought it timely to share with you all some of our thoughts and feelings about it.

Neither of us are what you would describe as ‘natural runners’ and both of us have improved from very low athletic bases without any ambition even to do a Park Run. Our GPs would have described us as ‘within normal parameters of health’ but the realisation that the bodily impact of our love of food and our natural desire to be able to enjoy open air walks, ascend stairs and remain (or become!) active propelled us along to the Nevill. We both joined Sarah’s Runners to learn to jog a bit as well as walk.

For me, Sarah’s instruction to talk while running was hard to do: it’s a gender stereotype, but Nicky is much more of a chatterbox, falling naturally into conversation with anyone. This and many other exercise techniques came our way and coming to the group every week became an engrained habit; it is genuinely refreshing to spend an hour or so with ordinary, joyful folks. It’s not just physical, either: there are significant mental benefits to be had as well. These factors have made us realise we now feel healthy: mission accomplished!

Well …in part. Because now we have developed a hunger for running and some decided preferences for the type of running we do. First of all, running in company is far better than clocking up lonely miles and secondly somewhere away from traffic, (especially on a trail) can be glorious, even if the weather is against us. The distractions of talking, looking at the views and maybe going somewhere new all let our legs and lungs get on with the business they were designed for without us being conscious of occasional aches or pains.

Indeed it was only when we started the long descent from the last of the Seven Sisters hills down into Eastbourne at the end of the Beachy Head Marathon that we looked at each other in wonder that we were actually going to do it. It was a fabulous feeling – which hasn’t gone away yet!

So for all of you who think that ‘marathon running is only for Runners’, (note the capital ‘R’) and ‘I’m not a Runner’, Nicky and I are not Runners either. But we run a bit. And have a Really Lovely Time doing it. We promise you will too.

Sarah's Note:

Absolutely fantastic Nicola and Richard... the smiles speak for themselves. Wonderful achievement and very very well done.

Beachy Head Marathon is in my top 5 events ever and (although it might sound strange) a great choice for your first marathon. Although it's hilly (around 1300m of ascent) It's open to walkers and the route is open for 9 hours, so no time pressure or cut offs. You jog a bit, walk a bit, walk up hills, stop at checkpoints to eat stuff and stop to take photos. It's a great day out with a bit of running involved. Amazing organisation, stunning scenery and a great vibe with no pressure. Highly recommended. http://www.beachyheadmarathon.co.uk