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The Marathon Series: 5 weeks to go!

Posted by: Comms 5 March 2014

#TeamPanCanUK London Marathon runner Catherine Raynor has made it through February training...just about! She's just five weeks away from the big race...

So, February, that most dismal of months: how has it been? Not amazing. Clearly, trotting around the streets of South London in the wind and rain is significantly less traumatic than finding your sofa floating in your living room, so in the grand scheme of what this winter has thrown at some people I can't complain too much. But as I watched a bird being blown backwards in Crystal Palace Park recently I must confess to feeling a little sorry for myself! On top of the weather there's been niggles in my foot and a grotty chesty cold that put paid to some training runs. 

Of course, there have been lots of brilliant and funny bits too! Being told to "work it baby" by a jogging Grandma at 6.30am will stay in the memory for a long time, as will the time I found myself in an impromptu 'Downward Dog' yoga position in Dulwich Park after being taken down by an overly-friendly golden retriever. 

I am going to have many fond memories of parks by the end of this adventure: watching them come to life over the last few weeks, first with snowdrops and more recently daffodils and the first signs of blossom, has been a joy; the lakes of Lazienki Park in Warsaw were breaking free of their ice two weeks ago and alive with incredibly bold red squirrels who ran all the way up to my toes; and I recently discovered South Norwood Country Park - right on my doorstep for ten years, yet never visited. 

It's also been in parks that I've been overcome with emotion while listening to particularly inspiring TED Talks (I don't recommend trying to cry, run and breathe at the same time!) and I've flopped on a park bench to read uplifting blogs on how to survive training slumps when it all got too much during one long run recently. But the tough times are not going to get the better of me and I sit here writing this having put 13.09 miles on the clock this weekend. As many fellow marathon runners were testing their mettle at the Bath and Reading half marathons it was a psychological barrier I wanted to crack, despite still not being 100% healthy. All being well (and with continued bloody-minded plodding!) in a few short weeks it will be double that...

If you feel inspired to lace up those running shoes, here's a few races to consider on our Running page. Or, if you want to help Catherine's fundraising total, please check out her Just Giving page!