Two of our staff at Hampton Pool are taking part in the Virgin London Marathon this Sunday, and are running alongside John Starbrook, aged 87, who swims regularly at the pool and plays water polo on a Sunday evening. He is the oldest runner in 2018 and this is his 32nd marathon.
Area Health & Wellbeing Manager Richard Mason, 54 is gearing up for the big event and although not as much an expert at the London Marathon as John, this is his fifth time. Mickey Lewis, 28, Deputy Manager of Hampton Pool is running for the first time.
Richard has competed in Iron Man challenges in the past and his training for this year’s London Marathon is going well. But no runner ever feels they are completely ready.
“I think all the people on the start line will wish they had done more training. I have had a couple of old injuries I have had to manage in the last couple of months. I’m hoping to do it in under 5 hours,” says Richard.
“This time I just want to enjoy it and soak up the atmosphere. I want to run and see what’s going on, as usually I’m quite blinkered. I want to see the support and stop and chat to people.”
So for Richard, enjoying the atmosphere and the buzz of the supporters is going to be his focus this year. So what are the high points and the low points? “The high point for me is going over Tower Bridge which is about half way. You really start to hear the crowd and feel so well supported. The toughest bit is about 5 miles after that when you’re going through Docklands. There’s minimal support, it’s bleak and can be very windy.” And for Mickey the nerves are under control: “I’m not nervous, I’m just worried about having jelly legs! I’ll just have to try and manage that.”
Raising much-needed funds
Richard and Mickey’s charity is the 23rd Camberwell Scout Group and they are aiming to raise £500 each. Daniel Hosier, Maintenance Co-ordinator at Hampton Pool is the Scout Leader and encouraged Richard and Mickey to run to raise much-needed funds. “The money these guys raise will make a big difference, especially to the kids who are aged 10-14 and who come from a deprived area in Camberwell. For example our trips away could be subsidised and make it much more affordable for the kids.”
Mickey and Richard are lucky to work at such an idyllic place, as it means then can swim in the pool to keep fit and their favourite training runs are around Busy Park and along the towpath.
So how are the next couple of days going to shape up? “Friday night is the important night to get some good sleep as the night before you are full of nerves. On Sunday we’ll have to get up about 5am, eat breakfast, then drive to Staines to meet up with John and his running crew as we’re travelling in a minibus together.”