After Laura's blog about what she's learned since she started training for her challenge, she asked me to write one from my perspective. I must say that it's been amazing watching her progress since signing up for the Everest Marathon, and she's been running all winter, which is proper dedication! I've also picked up a few things from my role as "support crew", and here they are.
1. It’s expensive
Whoever said running was a cheap sport, was clearly not married to a woman! I never knew that 64 pairs of leggings in myriad colours would be an “essential”, or that you actually need different trainers for different races. Thankfully, those good people at Ellis Brigham stepped in to sponsor Laura’s kit, which is a huge help. Likewise Suunto sent her one of the watches she was dropping such unsubtle hints about just before Christmas.
2. Say goodbye to your Sunday mornings
I’m not sure who decided that races should take place on Sunday mornings, but you’d better be prepared to drive to numerous school car parks and muddy fields to wave off your beloved. Of course there is one advantage of events taking place on a Sunday, which is being able to read the papers whilst your wife tackles hills, trails and tracks.
3. Wearing a bin bag is perfectly acceptable
Grown men skipping around in rubbish bags is, apparently, completely normal and raises not so much as an eyelid! Laura prefers to wear a warm down jacket and hand it to me 2 mins before the start.
4. Runners look remarkably similar when there are a lot of them
I always walk parts of the course (usually with our dogs) to try and spot Laura and cheer her on. However, it’s not as easy as I thought. First there’s the panic of thinking you’ve already missed her, and then the waiting game. Every girl that jogs towards us from the horizon could be her, the dogs wag their tails, but it’s not. And so this continues until she pops up for about 5 seconds, jogs straight past and you see her again at the finish line.
5. It’s expensive (Part 2)
Not only will you be staring down the barrel of 3 (or 4) digit kit expenditure, but as your partner changes shape as a result of all the running, so their entire wardrobe will gradually become obsolete. Cue sentences such as “literally NOTHING fits me, I need a whole new wardrobe!”. At this point I find it best to bury my head in the sand and quietly ignore various parcels arriving at the door!
6. You will get to watch all the boxsets and movies your partner doesn’t like
Training for marathons takes a huge amount of time and dedication, which I am full of admiration for. It also means you spend a lot of time at home whilst your partner sets off in to the dark winters night. The best way to get through this is to watch the things Laura doesn’t much like, and to cook ever more complicated meals for when she gets home. A late arrival is well met by exclaiming “dinner is ruined!”, usually followed by much laughter.
7. You’d better have a good excuse for not running with them
If you take an active interest in your partners running, you’re bound to meet members of her running club, fellow race competitors, and of course the friendly staff at your local gym. All of these people will quiz you on why you’re not running with her. At this point I like to lean on my excuse “I’d love to, but my dodgy knees..”, which is actually true, honestly...
8. You’ll realise how awesome they are
Watching your partner fidgeting with nerves at the start line is horrible, especially when they’re shoulder to shoulder with hardened runners who’ve been at it for years. It feels like the first day of big school. But seeing them cross the finish line is awesome. They keep achieving distances that were previously deemed impossible, and the pride is etched on their face when they hold up the medal for the post-race Instagram shot.
9. You’re desperate to help them achieve the next milestone
And for Laura’s 7 marathons project, that means helping to find sponsors and raise donations for the charities. So if you want to help her too, you can, by donating at https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/icanrun7, or by helping to underwrite the costs of the events.
Written by Rhys Jones