Final race time 3hrs 44mins 17secs
Firstly, tell us about your marathon experience.
Although I didn’t reach my goal of 3hrs 40mins, I knew by about mile 10 that my legs were tiring and I would have to tough it out for my plan B of sub 3hrs 45mins, a Good For Age time for the Virgin Money London Marathon.
What were the best parts of the race?
The race was well organised and there was a great atmosphere. I loved seeing Caroline and Liz on the course, too.
What were the challenging parts, if any?
I found the second half of the race very tough. My legs felt tired and I had to really focus to push myself, to keep the pace up to the finish.
What race tactics did you use?
I reminded myself of all the tough sessions I have done and the time I have spent away from my family, to remind myself how important the goal was and not let it slip away. My music playlist really helped on quieter parts of the course, too.
What advice did Richard give you that you found particularly helpful?
He told me to have a pace range on the day and try and stick to it, which helped me to focus. I also used his advice to press the lap button on my watch at each mile marker, which kept me focused and present during the race.
What was your nutrition strategy and how well did it work for you?
Usually I don’t take gels until later in the race but Richard and Ruth suggested taking them every 30 minutes, which worked for me. It stopped me feeling hungry during the race and scoffing jelly babies from spectators.
Did the race live up to your expectations?
Yes and I also loved being part of the team and having that support. The race was tough, marathons always are, but I knew the training would get me through.
Did you feel as good as you hoped you’d feel during the race?
No. I felt stronger during my half marathon! Maybe it was going on a ski holiday before the race or just my busy life but I felt drained much earlier on in the race than I expected.
Will you be doing another marathon at some point in the future?
Hopefully I now have a Good For Age time so I can apply to run the Virgin Money London Marathon next year. However, I love low-key trail events so I think a trail race will be next.
What advice would you have for anyone doing a marathon for the first time?
Prepare yourself as much as you can. Put the training in, practise your nutrition and remember why you are doing it. Don’t underestimate support! My husband was on the course which was great, and I saw Liz and Caroline. The ASICS team, Richard and all the readers who got in touch via social media have been brilliant in supporting me during training and on race day. Thank you!
The coach’s view
Richard says: Sophie initially wanted to run the marathon in 3hrs 30mins but we talked about it very early on and I said that, with the amount of work she had on and having to look after her little one, that it wasn’t realistic. Her main target was to get either 3hrs 40mins or 3hrs 45mins. It was only in the last 10K of the race where she struggled. But I’m very pleased with how it went and I know Sophie enjoyed the experience. She needs to recover well before doing more distance running, and the biggest issue with Sophie is finding the time to do more. I’d advise her to drop down her distance and up the strength work for the time being.