Some advice from an old hand

My prescription for success: repeat morning and night: “I WILL CROSS THE LINE” over and over again and believe that you will make it!’

Time is ticking by and no doubt the nerves are getting the better of you? How do you cope when sometimes it can just seem totally overwhelming?

Let your wings set you free!

I don’t have all the answers but, well, here’s what I do.

I have taken part in many many marathons and every time I do, I always acknowledge that I may not cross the line.

Listen to the background chatter in your head

“Oh what is going to happen… twisted ankle, accident, training hasn’t gone according to plan, falling ill on the route, when should I drink, how should I tie my laces, didn’t sleep well, what should eat etc etc” and on and on.


Deal with each of these things.

Write. Them. Down.

Pay attention and actually deal with them.

I then think to myself how would I feel if I didn’t cross the line? Would I be content with what I had achieved…5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles?

How would it make me feel happy / sad / angry?

Would I give in and accept it?

Or would I drag myself kicking and screaming to make it?

By accepting that I might fail I prepare my mind on what I will do should I be presented with that scenario. By doing this ahead of the event I am much better prepared.

Just to reiterate: what I mean is is that you have to be ‘comfortable’ with the concept that potential failure is part of the process of achieving success.

Don’t misunderstand me: once you are ‘comfortable’ things become clearer but that doesn’t mean that you aim for failure or accept that you will fail.

Much of doing a marathon is mental (!)

Convincing yourself that you will make it is a hard battle, if there are niggles in your mind or if this is your first time. Training is relatively straightforward (one foot in front of another over and over again. Issues on footwear, blisters, aches and pains are part of that process as well but they are essentially expressions of nervousness.)

Nerves are a large part of the challenge and they never ever go away – in fact they are actually helpful (how do you think Paula Radcliffe feels now every time she runs a marathon after the last lot of ‘failures’ or Lance Armstrong, who fell off his bike broke his shoulder blade, preparing for his return to The Tour de France?)

Please accept that you are nervous and move on. Don’t dwell on it: it wastes energy.

Focus. Focus. Focus.

Accept that this is a challenge.

How you feel mentally and physically is exactly how you are supposed to feel. What you are doing is meant to be tough! But that’s why you can raise all the money you can.

If it was a sponsored stroll or sit down then there would be no exchange: no getting healthier for you, no reason for your supporters to donate and no way of us raising the money we can.

Remember, it is only a moment in time

For some a few hours for others it may be 12. But it is not a day or a week or month.

You will get through it. You will. I’ve seen hundreds of thousands of women and men cross the finish line at our challenges…

Your challenge is not a race, which is why we don’t structure it as one. You are only battling or challenging the greatest participant you will ever face – yourself.

My prescription for success: repeat morning and night: “I WILL CROSS THE LINE” over and over again and believe that you will make it!’

Hope that helps? And don’t forget:

“Friends are like bras; close to your heart and there for support” – Anonymous



Bra picture

Get involved

Here's just a few ways of supporting us!