It’s happening, it’s actually happening.

I’m a bit of an daft sod, according to a few people I do things a bit too soon. Was October 16 too early for my first Half, July ’15 too early for a 10k – well that depends on perspective and preparation I think. It depends on what you want to get out of it – if I wanted to win, then yeah definitely too early, sub-2hr HM, same, finish, well I did finish so I guess I didn’t go too far wrong. I mean yes, things could’ve gone better, but that comes with time, experience and getting out there. So when I started to have thoughts about a Full Marathon I had a lot to contemplate: where, when, how(the heck will I get round). 

I eventually settled on Berlin after seeing so many ukrunchat people in previous years go, enjoy it and nail a PB! I’d also heard it was very beginner friendly and a chat with Darren over cake and coffee one day got me hooked and it sounded like a good plan!

So, last year I applied for the Berlin Marathon ballot, I paid my €150-odd (€108 race entry, €38 for your finishers tee plus €5 for your chip and people complain about Hackney) and prayed that I got in via the ballot – alas, I didn’t, and I was pretty disheartened as I heard so many good things – even though my bank balance was very happy!

 I’d really set my heart on it being my first marathon and it seemed like everyone got in the ballot in previous years. Now being the stubborn arse I am I thought about other ways of entry and I did contemplate going through the Charity ballot – where you pay €160 just for your place, but couldn’t really justify paying that.

I had got a lovely offer for a race number and initially in my disappointment/excitement say yes. But in hindsight, with how tight they are at Berlin about checking details and the wristband that just doesn’t come off etc etc I started to have doubts. Plus the big decider for my was that it would be my first full marathon and it wouldn’t be my name on the results or certificate – I couldn’t quite get over this hurdle along with that it wouldn’t count towards my six-star medal, so declined.

I still wasn’t satisfied and looked at other Marathon suggestions including Yorkshire and a whole host of others but just couldn’t shake off the Berlin hype and couldn’t find another Marathon that fitted the bill, even some of the other big European Maras.

I’d been scouring the internet to see what other options were out there. I checked a couple of tour companies but they come up very expensive (approx. £800 for 3nts in Berlin incl. race entry). I’ll be honest I was tempted but I thought I could do something better with my money.


Then obviously Facebook has been stalking me as all over my timeline were adverts for different charities who were doing place for Berlin Marathon. I did look at quite a few but the fundraising targets were way out of my league unfortunately.

Then I see an advert for Prostate Cancer UK with an offer I couldn’t refuse. I mulled over it for a couple of days and chatted with Pip about it over a coffee before getting home that night and filling out the application form after convincing myself this was the right thing to do & I could raise the money.

I got an email to say I’d paid my £20 entry fee (bargain), but nothing else until the below popped into my post box and I had a lovely phone call from one of the girls at PCUK – oh wow, it’s actually happening.

By the sounds of it, there will be a great crew of UKRunChatters going to Berlin this year and I really cant wait. I’ve already booked my accom, I just need to book my flights courtesy of my Amex points.

It’s only really recently since I’ve been upping my mileage again for upcoming HM’s that it’s dawned on me what is really required for the full marathon and it really made me appreciate the effort that marathon runners put in, especially when they’re doing them week in week out.

The Charity

I am genuinely excited to be running for PCUK, they do great work and research looking into preventing Prostate Cancer and supporting those that have been diagnosed. The work they do is incredibly important and I want to do what I can to support them. Men take note: we don’t help ourselves, let’s be honest we’re probably the most stubborn audience you can probably find trust me, I know.

“In the UK, about 1 in 8 men will get prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and Black men are more at risk”

We can help ourselves by getting checked out – your local nurse or GP will do that for you. I had it done a few months ago at a routine hospital appointment, was it uncomfortable and a bit awkward – yes, but imagine the feeling of knowing that you’re ok – I think I’d rather know that I’m ok than know nothing at all, if not for yourself, for your family.

  • Almost 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year in England.
  • More than 9,500 men die from prostate cancer every year in England.
  • Every hour one man dies from prostate cancer in England.

I’ve signed up the PCUK Strava and Facebook groups and look forward to meeting some of my charity team in Berlin!

Marathon Prep

The big day is 7 months away, plenty of time, although I know it is going to go quickly.

I’ve got myself a copy of Hal Higdon’s Novice 2 training plan – it suits me because it is in miles not time. Looking at some training plans they suggest a long run of 3-4hrs which quite simply isn’t going to get me up to a decent distance pre race, so it’s useful to have a mile target in mind. I will probably go further than 20miles in training, likely 22 or 23, just to give me that added confidence and this also means I’ll need to extend my training plan by a couple of weeks to allow.

I have a couple of half-marathons in the upcoming weeks but I’m not going to wait around until 16 weeks out to start building the mileage – I want to do it slow and steady to help keep injuries away, plus I have a lot of races in the calendar to schedule around as well – link to race calendar here:

 Here is my JustGiving Page I will be so grateful for any amount, even pocket change as if you donate £1, my employer will also donate £1 all the way up to £1000.


I’d love to hear your experiences of Berlin and any first-timer marathon tips – what would you have done differently in your first marathon. Tweet me or leave a comment below!