Name: Nicola Fox
Hometown: Eaton, Cheshire, now lives in London
“My big marathon goal is simply to finish a marathon, to run further than I have ever run before and to enjoy myself while I do it. Any time under five hours would be great – 4hrs 59mins 59secs would do very nicely!
“I entered the York Marathon in October last year with my long-distance running buddy, Freddie. We thought a year would be plenty of time to get ourselves marathon ready but, sadly for me, it hasn’t quite gone to plan. Throughout the course of the year, I have struggled with niggles and injuries, an IBS diagnosis and significant anxiety and depression which saw my energy levels plummet. During the time I was signed off work, my relationship with running was mixed; I wanted to do it, but frequently couldn’t muster the energy. Plus, whenever I did summon the energy, I felt guilty for running and working out, because I thought it meant I wasn’t really ‘ill’ enough to be off work.
“I now feel a lot better, my fitness levels are climbing again and (fingers crossed!) my injuries have cleared up. However, all of the above has meant that I am far too far behind in my marathon training to feel at all confident for the York Marathon. [At the time of writing] the organisers have very kindly allowed me to transfer to the 10-mile race instead but I am still disappointed that I will not be on the marathon start line on 8 October.
“I really believe that being a part of this experience in the lead up to the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon would put me in the position that I hoped to be in right now, when I signed up for York, in October last year. With the exception of a few periods over the past few years, I am actually an inherently positive person, and I think that being a part of the challenge will help and allow that part of my personality to rise up against the niggling negativity that sometimes tries to worm its way back to the forefront of my mind.
“In relation to sponsorship, I would like to raise money for two charities. Firstly the mental health charity Mind, for whom my mum works in a drop-in centre for and who’s services I have also used in the past couple of years. Secondly, I would like to raise money for Bloodwise, as my dad has a very rare form of T-Cell Lymphoma, and I would love to feel like I am contributing in some way to the charity’s invaluable research, which I hope will ultimately lead to the discovery of a successful treatment or cure.
“Until April 2016, I had never really ‘done’ running. Throughout my teens, my only exercise was dancing. I have been an Irish dancer since I was 11 years old and it’s fantastic!
“The dance dominance stuck all through my teens and throughout university. Although I was relatively active (my halls were a 40-minute walk from any of the lecture theatres and there weren’t any buses), at this time, I never would have even contemplated running or going to the gym. I would just laugh when my gym-bunny housemates would try and drag me along with them.
“It wasn’t until I moved back to Nottingham in January 2015 that I really gained any interest in exercise, health and fitness. The same gym-going housemate from uni finally succeeded in dragging me to the gym and I threw myself into it with great gusto. I moved back to Cheshire and started working in Manchester in October 2015 and halfheartedly returned to the gym but, in comparison to Virgin Active, it was pretty basic and I tended to go in my lunch hour instead of before or after work.
AND THEN (we finally get to it, sorry!), I really discovered running. I can’t remember what exactly got me started but I went for it in earnest after watching the London Marathon in April. Plus, I was/am already a big fan of the blogger and vlogger Niomi Smart, who was documenting her marathon training on YouTube. I was inspired.
I downloaded a running app and signed up for the Cancer Research Race for Life 5K event at Tatton Park. However, after my second training run came to 5.28K, I thought I should probably challenge myself and go for the 10K instead. As soon as it was done, I wanted to do it again! I was officially hooked. Since then I have done another 10K and three half marathons, cutting my time down from 2hrs 24mins in my first half to 1hr 59mins in my third.”
Follow Nicola online:
Instagram: @NicolaBethanFox and @_everydayfoodie