With the London Marathon almost upon on us, David tells us about his first marathon experience so far...

I’m David, a 30-year-old father of one, soon to be two. I have always considered myself relatively active but have never put myself forward for challenges that demand such commitment. For years I have said ‘one day’. I wanted to see if I can push myself with such a tough challenge – and this year is going to be my year.

When I didn’t get a ballot place I was really disappointed, but that gave me the motivation to explore what matters to me and find a charity that I was keen to support. That’s where United Response came in.

Taking on a new challenge

I thought the process would be a lot tougher than it is but I have a very supportive wife by my side. It does mean some early mornings though! I’ve turned my commute to work into an active part of my running, but the weekends can be a little more demanding especially with long runs. It’s a myth that you need to be lean and skinny to run long distances – I am not a small frame guy but with the right training, conditioning and mental power anyone can go long distances – no matter what shape or size.

I ran the Thorpe Park half-marathon in February and that was a real high for me as it showed how far I had come. It was the first time that I felt I can really do this! I also had a real low point when runner’s knee hit and just wouldn’t pass – physio and some regular sports massages have really helped. Getting expert advice meant I could focus on getting better rather than risking making it worse.

Making every penny matter 

I found fundraising tough at first, but I think that was due to people doubting if I would make it! I posted honest, regular updates on social media which really got people engaged and money steadily started coming in. As I get nearer, more and more money has been raised. Every pound that comes in really motivates me for the next run. This week my work, Red Hot Penny, have organised a fundraising day where people are auctioning various things, as well as donating for a day of games and activities. Every penny will go towards my target.

I 100% love running now, I find it a great way to escape and focus on me and my own mind. I plan to do more marathons here in the UK and overseas in the future, and hope to continue my relationship with United Response with a bit of volunteering. 

The build up to race-day really is a unique feeling – I have never felt so many mixed emotions about something like this. I am both scared yet excited, nervous yet massively pumped and motivated! I have felt great support from day one and I'm looking forward to meeting the team on the day and thanking them – it really helps and I imagine on the day the support will be a huge help. 

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