Claire had applied to be on our Big Marathon Challenge team last year, for help running her first marathon in Manchester, but wasn’t successful. Undeterred, she applied again this year in the hope of getting some help breaking out of her pace rut. She ran an impressive 4hrs 15mins last year but now she hopes to break four hours at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon, followed three weeks later by London.
How do you feel differently about the marathon this year, having done your first last year?
I’m a lot more positive – about everything – having done one marathon. It just gives you so much confidence in general. I’m a lot more positive that I can raise money for charity and I’m not going to be injured.
Tell us about your charity…
Wheel Power is a local charity to me in Buckinghamshire, [working nationally] to promote wheelchair sport. I live near Stoke Mandeville, which is the birthplace of the Paralympics, and my husband is involved in sports marketing and has done a lot with the Paralympics both in London and in Rio so I’ve always had an interest in it.
You started running five years ago – what got you going?
My daughter got me running for Race for Life. I couldn’t run more than 10 yards without a stitch before that. I just built up and felt so much better so I continued it.
How did you find the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon last year?
It went surprisingly well! I was aiming for four hours and decided, at the start, that it was stupid to bust a gut to do the four hours when I had no idea what I was going to be up against. I was absolutely petrified about hitting the wall. In the end I was fine, I didn’t walk any of it. The last quarter of the race took an hour and a quarter, whereas the first three took me an hour each, so I need some help approaching the training to get that last quarter the same as the first three.
How do you hope Richard will help you get off your pace plateau?
Richard has explained about threshold training and effort level. I run within my comfort zone so I need to speed up.
What are you hoping to get from the Big Marathon Challenge?
To raise the profile of Wheel Power. And I want people who are my age to think, “I can do this as well.” It’s to encourage other people to take up running who had previously thought they couldn’t do it.
What are you most nervous about right now?
The three weeks between the two marathons. I think we’re going to focus on Manchester being my PB – it’s flatter and there’ll be less people, so you’ll be less held up and you’re not zigzagging round people