Magic Run Weekend – 36k Challenge Race Recap

Hi all.

The first race weekend of my current RunDisney training plan has come to an end, if you’ve been following along on social media you will have seen some great highlights from my weekend.

If you haven’t followed my Running thus far please check out my post here.


I left my house on Thursday morning around 7am and got to St Pancras at half past, where I met Emma & Leah. We grabbed a bite to eat and headed through security and passport control. We had booked our trip through Runtothemagic (greatdays holidays). When we scanned through to the Eurostar our seats were changed as they had changed the train operating this service, so our seats were slightly separated on our journey to Lille. When we changed on to the next train to Disneyland Paris we were once again separated but thankfully on both trains we moved around with other passengers, who were also sitting separately from their party.

When we arrived we checked into the Newport Bay Club hotel, we had a separate check in desk as we were doing RunDisney, and were given our park tickets and breakfast vouchers but unfortunately our room wasn’t ready. We dropped off our luggage and headed out for a coffee and some shopping before heading to the expo.

Around half past 2, we started queueing for the Health & Wellness expo. We got in around 3:20pm and we pleasantly surprised how easy it was to navigate. Previous years it had been a little complicated with collecting bibs from several booths and tshirts from various different stalls. We managed to grab our bibs, tshirts, photopass, do a quick tshirt exchange and check out the merch and wall of runners within half an hour and just like that we were done.

The selection of merchandise was poor, having now done the races at Walt Disney World, it’s so disappointing to see that for the third year running the selection was very minimal even more so than the previous two years. I wish they would bring some of the generic RunDisney Merchandise over to Paris.

There was also a lack of stalls selling other bits. There used to be vendors for trainers, headwear, medal holder etc but this year there was only one or two stalls. It was a little disappointing.

After that we headed back to the hotel to unpack, chill out before getting some food and having a drink in cafe Fantasia.


After an early morning getting caught in the horrendous rain and sheltering from the storm by riding all the rides in Walt Disney Studios Park we headed back to our hotel to get ready for the 5k.

We headed out around 5pm and there were already people queuing. We managed to get to the front of corral C and were joined by our friends who were also in C – David, Lucy & Sophie. The organisation of the start was more alike to Florida, we were queued up in corrals next to each other and were walked to the start line one corral at a time and separated into waves.

I had no interest in the Marvel theming of this race and was given a heads up about the characters on the course, because of this I decided to just run. I managed to over take many runners from A who were walkers (not sure at all how they assigned corrals this year) and those who’d got in line for characters: I’d passed the Star Lord and Gamora, Black Panther, Thor & Loki, and captain America.

I made it to the finish line in just under 29 minutes and my Garmin was reading a little short on distance. I left it as it wasn’t worth trying to run around in circles trying to correct it.

Aside from the terrible corral assignments, the course was a little more organised, better lit and better supervised. The cast members in the park were great and a lot of fun. As I didn’t stop I spent a lot of time running into photopass pictures.

After the race I waited for my friends to finish before grabbing some snack boxes and heading for a late night Starbucks with Emma & Leah before heading to bed ready for tomorrow’s 10k.


We woke up about 4:45 to get ready for the races. This was a struggle after the late night before. We made tea and took it with us in disposable cups and wrapped ourselves in foil blankets to keep warm. It really wasn’t too cold but not very comfortable to wait around in still. Once again we were joined by our friends David, Lucy & Sophie at the front of Corral C, we were lead to the start line about 20 minutes after the first wave went off. Pain, Panic & Meg from Hercules were warming everyone up and sending them off to run. A Great start to the race.

Once again my plan was to only stop for characters I really wanted, turns out there isn’t many characters I am fussed about and I ended up only stopping for a few minutes to have a photo in front of the castle. I enjoyed the run, everyone seemed in good spirits and I was quite happy to just run it. I crossed the finish line with a moving time of 55 minutes but my elapsed time was about 57 minutes with the castle stop.

Hades was on the finisher stage to take photos of. So I tried my best to get a photo with him in the background! The medal & theming of this race were my favourite, I wish they’d have had characters from Hercules on the actual course though!

After the race I headed back to the hotel to shower etc whilst I waited for Leah & Emma to finish and then met them for breakfast! They had a great time and met loads of characters along the course.

We tried to spend time in the parks for the rest of the day but it was so busy and we were incredibly tired. After watching the parade we headed back to the hotel and got an early night.


After a long nights sleep, we woke again at 4:45 for our last day of running. Today felt like more of a struggle especially with the weather forecast for rain. Fortunately it wasn’t raining when we left our hotel. We wore extra jumpers and took bags to sit on as the ground was wet. This morning we were joined to by Alex & Mel at the start as well as David, Lucy & Sophie. Whilst we waited in Corral C, it did begin to rain and was very windy, there was a yellow warning flag up due to the conditions.

We didn’t get started till at least half past, as usual I headed off in a speedy run! I had my eye on a character meet I wanted and knew that they would swap characters at certain times, so I would either catch them on their first meet or miss them and have to wait. After speeding through the first mile and a bit I found the stop for Pain, Panic & Hades from Hercules. This was honestly the only characters I have actually wanted to meet so I bit the bullet and waited. They swapped out a few minutes after I got in the queue. Emma, Leah & David caught up and joined me, we all met Kronk & Yzma from the Emperors New Groove, Leah’s favourite film, and I then got back in the queue for the Hercules characters!

After 40 ish minutes start to finish at this meet I carried on with David with the balloon ladies not far behind us. At this point the queues were relatively quick for characters and we met Dr Facilier from the princess and the frog and Flotsam & Jetsam from the little Mermaid.

I carried on as I was worried about my time, I ran up and down main street which was a great new route adjustment on the course and was lovely to see Sophie cheering us all on and stopped for another castle picture.

I passed a few more characters like Shan Yu from Mulan and Maleficent who was just kind of decorative on the castle stage yet had a massive queue for a pic in front of her which I didn’t stop for. Once I’d passed all the character stops and was out of the parks I felt ok that I was far from being swept and thought maybe I would have caught up to Leah and Emma who left me after the Emperors New Groove characters, I rang them and they were actually behind me as they’d stopped for a few characters so I waited around 9km for them to catch up. Whilst I waited I found a few more running friends, Saskia, Lucy & Mel and we all walked together for a moment. Eventually we split up again as we tackled the long stretches outside the parks but we ran/walked and chatted a lot and it made the miles go a lot quicker.

Around 9 miles in we passed our good friend Alex who was Run/walking and looking strong, we walked with her a moment before carrying on to get back onto property!

We arrived back onto Disney property with 2 miles to go and was cheered on by the lovely Sophie again.

Mel & I stuck together which was great, we’d never met before this weekend but had followed each other on Instagram for a while so it was great to finally meet up and spend this race with her! We tried running a bit more towards the end but our legs were very heavy.

I was so happy I caught up with friends on this race. I knew I’d pushed the past two days quite hard and the first couple of miles of this race. I really didn’t need to especially this morning as I had to wait anyways and it set me back a lot and meant I caught up with everyone who was Run/walking or meeting a lot of characters.

After 13.1 miles I finally arrived at the finish line, where someone decided to stop dead in front of me and jump, so I doubt I have a finish line photo as the photographers there didn’t even seem like they were taking photos either!

I collected my medal and took a few photos of sorcerer Mickey on the stage. I loved that they had characters out on the stage at the end but would have loved if they had an organised post race meet and greet.

I finished at a moving time of 2:40 but an elapsed time of 3:30 including the characters stops and I was actually super happy about that. My first year at Run Disney was a fluke, I met most characters and ran it in 2:27 and have never been able to recreate that since due to the popularity of the races.

Post race we had to head back to the expo (luckily on our way back to the hotel) and grabbed our 31k & 36k challenge medals!

The medal collection organisation was much better than last year and glad it took us back to the expo to find all the t-shirts they were selling at half price, so we all grabbed a t-shirts.

Sore legs and tiredness meant we spent the rest of the day laying in bed and filling ourselves with food! We still had all of Monday in the Parks to enjoy before heading home so was in no rush to do anything. Staying in did mean I got to bump into my favourite RunDisney youtuber RezRuns in our hotel. Check out his channel for really useful videos on the RunDisney experience.

This weekend was a good reality check for me, I love how much my running had progressed recently but I need to remember it’s not all about time. I’m training for Dopey challenge and I sure as hell won’t manage to run it all at a 9 min mile and meet characters in that time too so I need to work on a game plan for Run/walking Dopey!

Aside from the races I had a fun weekend with my girls and quite a relaxed Disney trip. We’ve all been to the parks before and didn’t have much we desperately wanted to see or do, so we didn’t actually spend much time in the parks but a lot of time was spent relaxing, eating and drinking at the Disneyland Hotel and the time spent in the parks was less rushed and chaotic.

A few issues I had with this weekend and the Disneyland Paris Magic Run Weekend:

  • The Corral placement was a mess. They only ask for proof of time if you can run under 1:30, and as they thought too many people lied about their time they randomised the rest.
  • Due to the above they were letting a lot of people change corrals, meaning people who hadn’t trained and were put in E being bumped up to A/B by complaining/lying.
  • Rather then advising groups who wanted to stay together RunDisney France were moving people up Corrals to be together, or giving people stickers to move them down. Those stickers were then used to move people up instead of their given use and a lot of people were using the corral letters on the bibs from those only doing the 5k/10k and sticking them to their Bibs to bump up their letter.
  • Character stops – the lines were too long, they swap characters out for different ones every 30 mins which means that you end up getting stuck in a queue for a long time if you are looking to meet certain characters. They should have the same characters out throughout like the Florida races.
  • None of the themed characters were out on the course. It was very disappointing that on a Hercules themed race you could not meet any of the characters, hence why the line was so long the next day at the Half.
  • The photopass system of scanning your bibs this year made the character lines take even longer, and I bet this year we will still won’t get our photos any quicker. The course photopass people didn’t seem to be taking many pictures or paying attention half the time and again they weren’t very many of them.

Overall I find the organisation of the Paris races horrendous. I would love to carry on doing these every single year but I may have to forgo doing the challenge next year (depending on the theming) as it is a lot for one weekend and a lot of money to spend to be disappointed once again. I feel like we’ve all given constructive feedback the past two years on these races and they aren’t really listening to us.

I am very much looking forward to doing the Dopey Challenge now, I can’t wait to be over in Florida where the races are far more organised and fun. We have 100 Days to go until our next Florida holiday and 15 more weeks of my training plan to Dopey.

The medals have been released for Dopey this week and are so encouraging after this weekend in Paris.

I hope you enjoyed reading, and if you are thinking about doing a RunDisney race I hope this insight to the experience is helpful. If you have any more questions I am happy to answer them in the comments or over on Instagram or Twitter.

Here’s the links to all those mentioned in today blog post!









And an extra special shout-out to all I met along the way and those who worked hard to make Disney magic this weekend! ✨


My RunDisney Journey

I’m a little bit Dopey today. I’ve booked my race tickets for the Walt Disney World marathon weekend, and I’m doing the dopey challenge: 5k, 10k, Half Marathon & Marathon over one weekend. 6 medals, tshirts, lots of characters and lots of fun!

For those of you who haven’t been following my RunDisney journey I’m going to do a little summary post today about why I Run Disney, what got me started and what my future plans are.

In late 2015 a friend of mine sent me a link about the princess weekend in Walt Disney World. Earlier that year I had been on my first trip to Disneyland Paris and was a little bit in love with the park culture, but the thought of going to Walt Disney World seemed like an impossible dream. I was still working part time within the fitness industry then, and considered this a fun challenge I could possibly do. I did my research and found that Disneyland Paris were introducing Run Disney events in the September of 2016. The friend who originally turned me onto the idea wasn’t all in, but I was so I booked my place.

The January of 2016, after not long having started a new job I began my training. I began walking to work every day (1 hour there and 1 hour Home again) and took my walking to a run. I wasn’t fast, it wasn’t fun and it took me a long time to get into it. I couldn’t even run half a mile at the beginning of my training without getting out of breathe. My work offered me a place running Royal Parks the same year, this just happened to be two weeks after the Disneyland Paris race weekend, I hadn’t really thought this through. I trained for a long time for my first half marathons, it was a continuous thing throughout the year, but in the thick of it, I was using the Bupa beginners training plan.

Running was completely new to me, and I wish then I’d known all the things I know now. I trained in the same crappy trainers that took me through months of training and two half marathons.

September comes around quickly, I’m staying off site with my good supportive friend Steph who couldn’t resist the opportunity to come to Disneyland Paris. I didn’t do the 5k then, it seemed targeted towards children, with a plastic medal, I was all in for the half marathon though. In hindsight the first year wasn’t that busy, there were many American tourists coming for the inaugural year but not many people in total I believe. It felt like a very unique experience as I knew no one else doing it or anyone who had heard of these events.

The first year I managed to meet most of the characters and complete my first half marathon in 2 hours and 27 minutes. All the characters were in the first 5k, and the rest of the course was around the outside of the Disney property. I was very pleased with my time, the first 5k took me 45 minutes so looking back, with character stops that could have been my best half marathon time. The character stops were short and sweet, jump in jump out and run on. The medal was spectacular and the atmosphere around the parks after was great, lots of people showing off their bling and posing for pictures.

My legs struggled around the parks for the rest of the day and the following days but it was so worth it. Going home I knew this was an experience I’d want to do again.

At the end of 2016, Leah and I met through a Facebook group called “RunDisney Run” after I made a post on New Year’s Eve, we had both Run the Disneyland Paris races in the September and big had our sights set for Florida & Paris in 2017. Being a Disney expert she was able to offer me lots of advice for booking my Walt Disney World holiday. We eventually met up to cheer the 2016 London Marathon and our friendship blossomed from there. We had both booked on to do the Disneyland Paris Half Marathon weekend and the Walt Disney World Wine and Dine Half Marathon weekend. Though we had separate trips booked for both we had plans to meet up.

By September 2017, I had completed quite a few more races. I’d finished the 2016 Royal Parks half (in 2:13) and Great Manchester Run Half Marathon (in 2:16) as well as many other races with Runthrough.

The Disneyland Paris 2017 Half Marathon week was a little different to my first experience. Firstly it was really poorly organised, there were issues with shirt sizes and character stops, it was extraordinarily busy and just not as exciting as the year before. The theming was all over the place with major character errors printed on tshirt and other things around the event. On the flip side I was surrounded by friends, so it was far from the lonely experience 2016 had been.

I didn’t find the back to back races to be too challenging, I wore different trainers for different distances and had slowed my pace down to accommodate for friends/taking it all in I guess. The finish line was in the parks this year which I didn’t think was necessary. It made the finish a bit over crowded and chaotic. The challenge medal was great for this year despite the theming being really disconnected. Unfortunately they ran out of medals for some people which seems a bit ridiculous as they know how many people to expect.

In October 2017 I flew to Orlando Florida for my first ever trip to Walt Disney World. I had organised and paid for the whole trip myself and was excited to be able to share this experience with my mum, who agreed to run a 5k with me and trained really hard. Days before we were due to fly she had a fall and did some damage to her arm (small broken bone from what I can remember) she was such a trooper despite the pain. Walt Disney World itself was an incredible experience but the races were something else. Unlike the Paris races the organisation was impeccable. Character meets at the start line and finish line, great t shirts included in good size, an organised expo with lots of merchandise on offer and helpful staff throughout the races.

Starting the races early in the morning was hard, but understandable why they do so. It was so warm and humid. Me and Mum didn’t stop for any characters on the 5k as she just wanted to run the race, however there weren’t any I wanted to stop for. It was amazing to run through the beautiful world of pandora in Animal Kingdom in the dark! I ran the 10k alone and did really well for time, I only stopped for one character at the end which was Genie from Aladdin as this was the only character I was interested in meeting. I ran the Half Marathon with Leah and we stopped for lots of characters and took our time completing the course. The downside to the Walt Disney World races is that the volume of people often brings a lot of people who lack race etiquette. Large groups of Run/walkers took over the course making it difficult to get around them and often slowing us down. I commend everyone for participating in a race of any length, however there were a lot of people under trained and many people cutting it fine in front of the sweeper bus. I had also seen that many people were putting down unachievable marathon times (for them personally) to start in a earlier corral to give them more time to complete the course. RunDisney hold a rule of 16 minute mile pace from the last person.

On this trip I achieved my second RunDisney challenge medal and also got my Castle to Chateau medal. You get this medal when you complete a US race (there used to be races in California as well as Florida) and a Disneyland Paris race. This has to be one of my favourite medals.

Since returning from Florida, I’ve told myself countless time I can not afford another US trip so soon, however I caved and Leah and myself are going back just after New year 2019 to take part in the Walt Disney World marathon weekend. We will also be doing the Disneyland Paris races again this year too.

We both completed the 2018 London Marathon and whilst I still feel somewhat good about my running and am still motivated to keep going I feel like now is the right time to do this challenge.

This year it feels like so many more people are taking part – maybe because I’ve met so many Disney / running people through Instagram and twitter but also because I think people are seeing what a unique and incredibly rare opportunity this can be to meet your favourite characters. The downside to this is not everyone is going to take this as seriously as me and have as much passion for the running side of it. I first and foremost Run for my mental and physical wellbeing, running in Disney is the bonus and meeting my favourite characters is the cherry on top. I do have worries that the masses of bloggers/influencers doing it this year for a photo op is going to tarnish my experience, having noticed the rise in the races popularity last year, but I am determined to enjoy the race my own way in my own pace regardless.

Running with friends/family last year – my time definitely took a hit. Nothing against my friends, I applaud anyone who takes up this challenge but I also think running is such a personal thing, and as much as they would find it hard to match my pace I found it hard to match there’s. This year I want to have a mixture of the two year I’ve done so far, good runs and getting a good time for my self (and for a Disney race) and having fun with friends. My aim is to take a more relaxed approach to the shorter distances and have fun with my friends and then take it a little more seriously for the half marathon and full marathon. Running different races from my friends will also be exciting so we can compare experiences and character meets etc because no two races are the same!

My RunDisney goals, wishes and dreams:

⁃ complete the dopey challenge. If you haven’t read any of my training blogs, please do. You’ll see I’m running 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon over one weekend.

⁃ Run every single RunDisney race in a calendar year. Ok so this is definitely a dream and might never be a reality. There are currently 5 race weekends in a calendar year and two virtual race events, there used to be more when you could run in the California parks but they have currently stopped these with no idea when they will come back. Also the cost to do all and make all those trips would be extortionate, so maybe when I win the lottery?!

⁃ Run a race in one of the Asian parks. I would love to visit all the parks one day so why not try and squeeze in a race?!

⁃ Run the castaway cay 5k – I will have to save this for the next time I go to Florida as it requires me booking a small cruise.

⁃ Run the Disneyland Paris races every year. On the 25th anniversary of the Marathon weekend participants who ran every single year were given exclusive merchandise. GIVE ME THE MERCH.

⁃ I would love to see multiple race weekend at Disneyland Paris, the one we currently have needs a lot of work to be on par with Walt Disney World but over time this will improve.

⁃ I’d totally love to attend a Princess themed weekend wether it be in Florida or Paris and would definitely love to attend a Pixar themed race!

⁃ Lastly I think I’d just like to keep doing these races as long as I’m able, they are fun relaxed and friendly. I want to keep making friends doing these races, hopefully inspire others to take part and improve my own running in the meantime.

I am so happy registration is finally completed. I gave my proof of time as my London Marathon time, as it was a full marathon. So I’m hoping I can get a good corral placement via that. I cannot wait to add more medals to my collection!

Have you ever run a Disney race? Is it on your Bucket list? Will I be seeing you at Walt Disney World next January? Leave a comment below and let me know.

You can follow along with my training via my blog, Instagram and twitter.

London Marathon 2018: Race Recap

My london marathon experience started on the Friday before, I said goodbye to work on the Thursday and took the Friday to have some me time. I did some cleaning and life admin before going to get my nails and eyebrows done before catching some sun in the glorious weather we’ve been having.

I spent the afternoon shopping on oxford street before meeting Leah from work and making our way to the ExCel centre for the London Marathon expo.

The expo was amazing, very well organised much like the RunDisney race expo. We picked up our bibs, and headed for a little tour around checking out the merchandise and grabbing some fun photo ops.

One of our first stops was to see RunDisney, we got chatting to a gentleman on the booth (who was French and I believe to be a big deal in the organising of the races) who explained how RunDisney are changing the races this year to improve, they’d taken on feedback and preferences from the past two years survey and put it into the planning of this years race. He told us that the party was no longer happening on the friday night, so it wouldn’t clash with the 5k and that thhe theming was the most popular of the last two years post race survey’s, so thats how they came to the decision. I am thrilled to here they are listening and taking their time to make it better and better each year.

We got a few freebies from RunDisney and took some photos at their booth. They were happy we was as enthusiastic as they were.

We picked up our goodie bags, said hello to my charity – St John Ambulance and wandered around for a bit. In the Challenge section of the expo we got a few more photo ops and was so chuffed they printed the pictures there and then for us as well as sending via email. Great little souvenir for the day. Just like that it was gone 7 and time for us to head out. I love big organised races that have expo’s, this was much like RunDisney (in Florida) where they put on a big expo at ESPN world of Sports. I preferred Rundisney’s expo because they had more stuff tailored to my style. There wasn’t alot of Offical London Marathon Merchandise that caught my eye. I was going to buy one tshirt but they didn’t have it in my size.


On Saturday my plan was just to relax, after more cleaning and some food shopping, I spent the day with Leah, Laura and Michelle eating food and watching Disney films. Perfect day.

I felt relaxed all of Saturday, pretty positive about the race and raring to go. I could have done more to prepare for this marathon but for my first ever marathon I think I’ve done a fair amount and am very organised and prepared for the day ahead.

I’ve had so many messages of love and support, cards and presents, my heart is just so full and I feel like I could do anything because I’ve got such a good team of people behind me.

The Big day.

I woke up around 6am – after a not so great sleep. I was super hot, there was thunder and lightening and just anxious. I got up and made coffee and bagels for myself and Leah and we started to get ready.

Michelle came over around 7am and we glittered ourselves up and headed to London Bridge in an uber.

We prepared ourselves for Long Queues for the train, but made it to Greenwich before half 8 and was in the start area in plenty of time.

Once in the red start area we went to the Loos, the queues weren’t bad at all, max 10 mins and they were quite clean at this point. We grabbed some water and hot drinks and found ourselves a spot to sit whilst we waited. Becky came and joined us and we listened to the greatest showman whilst we waited. In the general area the music they were playing wasn’t very motivational, so listening to our own stuff was much better.

Around 9:45 am we dropped our bags, and shuffled over to the toilet queue again, 10 minutes later we was done with toilets and heading over to the start pens. We met with Cat on our way over and everyone took a moment to chat before trying to get into our pens. Though I was feeling good this morning, it suddenly hit me I was about to run a marathon, Cat & Michelle went off to one start pen and Leah & Becky to another. Just then I realised how lonely this race might be for me as everyone was going off and I was left by myself.

After a little cry I joined Pen 6, this is the only point I felt the lack of organisation. There just didn’t seem to be any order to where people were standing, just where you could possibly get in. I was stood a but further back from the 4:15 pacer, who gradually got further away from me – for the best as that really wasn’t going to happen. My goal was just to finish but I was aiming for as 4:45-5 knowing I could run my first half at a 4:15 pace if I really tried and take it back in the second half, and enjoy it knowing the people I knew would be in the end half.

I met a few St John ambulance runners at the start and nervously shuffled to the start line, and then it was all go go go. The start wasn’t much of a spectacle unlike Disney, I didn’t hear an offical count down for my pen we were just hearded over the start line.

Within minutes I knew I wasn’t going to reach my time goals, I really struggled to get out and set in my pace, my first two miles were a 10 minute mile, normally would set off about a 9:15-9:30 for at least the first 3-5 miles, and bring it back. There was just a lot of weaving at the begining, and then once I got the the first water station my pace just got worse, it was literally impossible to run through a water station, even if you werent getting water everyone was just walking, gave me flashbacks to Wine & Dine at Disney again, just walking everywhere.

The heat got to everyone, it got to me, but I just wished I’d got out the gate a little quicker. because overall what I did in terms of pace wasn’t unexpected, I slowed down as planned and ran walked towards the end, but had I just hit the 9-10 minutes miles earlier on I would have reached my personal goals.

For the first 6 miles I felt very alone, despite all the crowds cheering, I was also telling myself “No one is here cheering for you”, the only certainty I had was my friends at mile 23-24 and my family in the last 800 metres. I had my headphones in one ear, on my left hand side, so I ran mainly on the right hand side or the middle. When I felt I needed more encouragement I ran to the side, because people didn’t have to shout your name they almost felt like a whisper of positivity in your ear. I found it hard to look up and thank everyone, I found it incredbly overwhelming that so many eyes were on me, so all I could muster up was a little mermer and a thumbs up to those who cheered me on.

I do not know what mile it was but my lovely Aerial friend Char and her family were cheering me on a it gave me a massive boost, I felt like someone was in my corner fighting for me and it got rid of that voice in my head that was telling me that no one was really here for me in particular. Just before mile 9, I heard this booming Male voice, it was my friend Stephanie’s boyfriend Mike, again I was so overwhelmed by this but it pushed me forward when I was struggling.

Around Mile 12 after the Lucazade station I got into a bit of a mess, the roads were sticky as hell and I had someones half chewed sweet stuck to one foot and then as soon as I got it off, a gel got stuck to me. I paused to pull it off and as soon as I got going again I looked up to see shining brightly in yellow my good friend Krissi from Aerial, cheering wildly – she almost knocked someone out. That kept me smiling all the way over Tower Bridge. That moment was surreal, it was a great moment in the big half but this was extraordinary, it was so hard to take in because there was just so much going on. There was a guy dressed as an avatar being intviewed, lots of people stopping for photos and lots of charirites cheering on their runners. Now I was warned after Tower Bridge I might feel a dip in energy and not to be put off by the other runners you could see further on down the course. This actually spurred me on, I think it was at this point I start counting down the miles to see my family and friends, I was over half way and could see the heat was getting to people. I saw a lot of people being treated by St John Ambulance, this made me so incredbly proud to run for them, they were doing such a great job in the heat to help everyone. Every St John Ambulance team member who saw me asked if I was ok, if I needed anything and cheered me on, it made me really feel like part of something special. So If you are reading this thinking about what charity to run for I would recommend them, they are excellent. Hitting narrow street after mile 14 and lovely guy also running for St John Ambulance came and asked me how I was getting on, gutted I didn’t catch his name, but if you are reading this Thank you so much for the boost.


I’d say the middle of the course was kinda rough for me mentally, it was just a constant battle of “can I keep running and get under 5?” Or “shall I just take it back a little and enjoy it?” I chose the latter, mainly because every time I tried to run it was more like a shuffle run. The middle also lacked personal support for me so the negative thoughts kept creeping in my head.

Around mile 17, Michelle came running up behind me, looking strong and giving me encouraging words. From then on we kept passing each other and occasionally speaking. It was great because Michelle and I have done so many runs together that it was just like normal and I felt like I could attempt to match her pace in some way, I just kept her in my vision and tried my hardest to keep up.

Between miles 18-23 the crowd was loud and overwhelming, I was struggling and was just head down running trying to keep moving forward, somewhere around here another instarunner friend Kirsty found me. Kirsty is all kinds of awesome running multiple marathons in a few short weeks. Last weekend she ran brighton and I got to cheer he on and here she was running with me. We ran bits together and kinda stuck with each at this point, I felt fortunate that her and Michelle didn’t care for time today as they could keep me company and keep me going and I really appriciated this.


Just after mile 23 I saw my boss from work, he ran along side me for a minute and was super encouraging. I just didn’t expect to see him and for him to come up to me, and he just motivated me to move forward. I was so shocked I cried and just said I was really hot and tired. I went into Blackfriars tunnel/underpass and it was a bit cooler in the shade which was much needed.

As I came out of the tunnel the cheersquad I’d been thinking about seeing since mile 1 were there and that support was incredible, again overwhelmed by this support I cried, and I cried hard on Lizzie’s shoulder. I often have Lizzie’s voice in my head just telling me “One foot in front of the other” so a hug from her was needed. I felt bad becuase there were so many people there and I just didn’t really see and appriciate everyone, it was reallty hard to take in just how many people had joined the squad today. It’s incredible the amount of support out today, and the fact these people had stood in the sun for 8 hours cheering every single person. I am incredibly proud to call these people friends.

Kirsty and I ran to the last stretch were I passed a few more friends including my housemate Laura, and my oldest friend Yasmine. Me and Kirsty then both saw our families within a few metres of each other and then walked a few minutes before running the Last 400 metres. This was the most overwhelming bit, so many cameras I didn’t know where to look, but I put my hands in the air and embraced it.

And just like that the race was over, I finished just behind Michelle, Kirsty and another Instarunner Martha, so it was good to see them at the end and celebrate together.


With all my weaving my distance was actually 26.75 miles, so my Garmin time clocked 5:00:57, however my offical time was 5:07:26. Am I happy with this time? Of course I am, it’s my first marathon all I could have wanted was just to have finished, there was so many people unable to finish for a variety of reasons and in this heat especially I was just greatful to have just gotten through and overcome the mental barriers that tried to stop me completing the course. I am gutted I didn’t get under 5, but I will explain why in a moment.

Getting around after the marathon was a struggle, once I’d got my pictures, and my bag I headed to the runners area where I met my friends Amy & Francesca, who had lovingly course hopped to find me multiple times and I had missed them every time, but they made it to the end with presents and much needed support. I tried to head back to the course and find my family where they were but was constantly told I couldn’t walk in certain places. At one point my family were just around one corner and they wouldn’t let me go that way, my angry side came out at that point. I had literally had enough of shuffling around. I gave up and sat down on a patch of grass and told my family to come to me, I didn’t want to battle the crowds anymore. I am more gutted I couldn’t get back to the course to cheer for Leah but I knew the cheer squad had her back and she was going to do just fine.

Once my family found me, we headed to the pub, where I changed and had my first drink since New Year and debriefed with my family. My Mum, Aunt Pauline, Cousins Alex and Ella, were all out, my sister was on the phone to my mum tracking me and cheering me all the way from Australia.

After a few drinks, we headed over to Pizza Express for some food – Mum had vouchers, of course she bloody did, and as I wasn’t feeling too hungry right this minute, I had a full fat coke, a couple slices of Pizza, and some doughballs.

By this time, a very special Lady had finished and made her way out of the crowds and managed to hop over to Pizza express to collect some of the stuff she had left at mine the night before. It was so good to see Leah, she did so well. Leah has vowed this is her last Marathon, she enjoyed the day but doesn’t enjoy this distance. We had a 10 minute debrief and then she hobbled off with her Fiance Tom (Hi Tom, lovely to finally meet you) and I went back to my family.

Soon after I headed home to so many cards and presents. I’d not been on social media since the day before so I ran myself a nice bath and caught up on what I’d missed, and read through all my cards and messages. The support and love has been overwhelming (Whoops I used that word again).

If I was to sum up this day in one words.

Isn’t it obvious? – OVERWHELMING

There have been some negatives but overall so many positives. I’m lucky and glad I got through the race without injury or any flare ups of the pains I was having in training. The race was incredible, the atmosphere, incredible. I’m proud to say I’ve achieved this, I’m happy this was my first marathon, and I am happy with how far I’ve come.

Post marathon

Post marathon I had prebooked a few treats. On Monday, my legs were aching, but not actually as bad as I had anticipated. I made my way over to The Mayfair Hotel & Spa, for a Moroccan Steam Cleansing treatment, and Full body massage with Leah. I am so glad I booked this, firstly it was a little bit of luxury and secondly was just what my body needed.  I have a lot of hang ups about my body, like most people probably do, but I actively avoided sports massages during my training because I am just not comfortable in this situation. Maybe it was the runners high but I was also feeling incredibly proud of what my body had just achieved, amazed at it even. Maybe I was just too tired to care but I went out of my comfort zone, and had a massage, relaxed and enjoyed it. I almost fell asleep.

Then we met up with Michelle, and had a Gorgeous afternoon tea at the Egerton House Hotel. We debriefed, we chatted for hours and ate some lovely food – The staff at the hotel were lovely but I must admit is was quite frustrating that one member of staff was really pushy asking about times, in which we all just said it took us hours, he also told us we should go for a run today, in which we also disagreed with and said that afternoon tea was a much better option.

I’ve had the best London Marathon experience. I am not running expert, but I will say if you are looking to take up running, run the London marathon, or any other race… Find your people, share the experience, share the stress, share the joy, there is a big runners community out there, embrace it.

So what’s next for me…

It’s been a while since I ran without a goal in mind, I’m going to enjoy my summer, running shorter distances. My next big race is the Disneyland Paris Race weekend in September with my girls. I’ll be entering the ballot for London Marathon next year, I enjoyed the day, and would love to run it again, so if it’s meant to be it will be.

Now this is where I tell you why I am disapointed I didn’t get under 5. I first got into running, to run Disney, I began with Disneyland Paris, and have done the last two years as well as travelling to Florida for the Wine & Dine half marathon weekend. I love the atmosphere of these races and the opportunity to travel for races. So my next BIG goal will be the Dopey Challenge at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend in January 2019. Me and Leah have booked the Holiday, and are patiently waiting for Bib release, so I am hoping I have no problem getting my place and running this challenge. For those who don’t know what the Dopey Challenge is it is a weekend of running that breaks down like this: Thursday -5k, Friday -10k, Saturday – Half Marathon, Sunday – Marathon. In total you recieve 6 Medals for completing this challenge. As Disney are great fun races, they attract a variety of runners, and many walkers too. The pace requirement is a 16 minute mile from the last person to cross the finish line, ladies with Balloons keep the 16 minute mile pace and people nervously trying to keep from being swept – you still get medals if you get swept but you don’t recieve extra challenge medals if you do. So in order to get around this people put down they can run faster than they can, to start in an earlier Corral and get ahead of the Balloon ladies and sweeper buses. Proof of time for the Corrals for Disney only need to be given if you can run a marathon under 5 hours, so though I can run that pace I don’t have proof. I mean I will likely be sorted into a Corral where many people have said they can run a 5 hours marathon but will actually be walking. I found this difficult to weave around at the Wine & Dine weekend and just don’t want that to get in the way of my experience for Dopey.

So yes that’s disapointing, but I do also have th option to do a proof of time for a half, but I’m not sure that will secure my place for a better start Corral. Either way this is my next challenge and even if I start at the very back, meet no characters and just finish the race I will be doing it.

Thank you for taking the time to read my race recap and for all the support I’ve received.



London Marathon 2018: Training

I have taken on the challenge of running a Marathon, not any just any Marathon the The London Marathon I got my place with St John Ambulance with a fundraising target of £1800. This is not only an opportunity to challenge myself but to give back to a charity who do so much for the running community, a charity who I have worked closely with in the past. 

My training plan

My training plan consists of 20-weeks 4 x runs + 1 x Aerial. A beginners plan taking me from a Half to Full marathon. On the 2nd December I completed the Victoria Park half marathon with my best time of 2:07:40. It was so challenging but by far one of my best running moments, I was so proud of myself for completing it and bettering my time, something I had been aiming for all year.


On the back of this triumph I was on a high, felt super positive about the London Marathon, and begun my training plan.

At the same time I started my training plan, I also started a new job. Fantastic, but absolutely exhausting and overwhelming taking in all the new information, trying to find my place in the team and then training for a Marathon on top of that. So straight away, I didn’t manage a 4 x run week, but managed to do three a week right up until the new year. I managed a 5 day streak over Christmas and then was struck down with illness just after the festivities were over.

It took my training down a notch for a couple of weeks, cutting down on my mid week runs and sticking to a long run on the weekends, completing Victoria Park Half marathon in early January at a slightly slower pace of 2:15:11.

My training plan followed a pattern of building my distance every other week, so I began hitting the longer miles earlier than some of my friends also training for London Marathon. Late January I attempted my first run longer than 13 miles. I plodded along the river on a cold, dark and wet morning, joining a runthrough race at Greenwich Park. This worked well for me, I gave myself  plenty of time to stop, take breaks and prep for the race. My legs did get tired post 10 miles as normal but I was proud of myself for accomplishing my first big run, mostly alone.

Following my long run high, I was thankful for a restful week, still recovering from illness. I had a few friends who wanted to try a runthrough race so I brought them along to do a 5k at Crystal Palace, they absolutely smashed it and I felt great that I had inspired them to take part in a race.

Soon after this came a bad week, my pace slowed right down and my motivation wasn’t there. I went along to a London burger run and plodded my way through a 15 miler uncomfortably.  Unmotivated I struggled to get started the following week, managing 1 x 5k before attempting 18 miles on the weekend, luckily I had my lovely friend Michelle with me to attempt a long run. We did the same route I did to Greenwich previously but instead of 5k, I did the 10k run to complete my 18 miles.

Post each long run I over analysed my runs and lost all hope I would complete this marathon anywhere under 5 hours, some runs were an average of 11:30-12 minute miles, and the last few miles of each were such a struggled the thought of doing any more miles seemed only possible as a walk. I lowered my expectations of my race pace, tried to take the pressure off and just tried to get through the training as best as possible.

At the end of February, not confident myself I ran The Big Half with Amy, her first half marathon and a little tester of race day prep for me. The Big Half route is the first half of the London Marathon but backwards. It was a great well organised race, but towards the end the route was so dull and boring. On Marathon day, at least these areas are at the start of the race, whilst you are still on a high and hopefully still feeling quite good.

My next big challenge was 20 miles, for my own sanity and race preparation I had to run this alone. So I woke up one Saturday and plodded around London until I made it to 20 miles. The last few miles were the biggest struggle I’ve ever experienced with running. My legs just didn’t want to move, so I was surprised my average pace came in just about a 11 minute mile.

After hitting the 20 mile goal, the next challenge was just to keep myself motivated and keep up the miles, with a couple of more Long runs. From over analysing my long runs, I have made some adjustments and and taken these into consideration when doing a long run. After another 16 & 20 miler to complete my long runs this training cycle, I  have a bit more confidence about race day. One of my biggest issues is the weather, it’s been snowing in the UK, cold and wet, so often times on a long run I end up carrying a backpack with layers in for any weather. Come race day, I won’t be running with a back pack, so it will literally be a weight off my shoulders and could potentially allow my pace to improve, even if just for 3 miles.

Now the main bulk of training is done, it time to taper for race day.

The plan

Ive tested my kit out a few times and I am happy with everything. I have a full day off work on the Friday before to have a little pamper so I personally feel my best for the race ahead. I want to get my nails done and eyebrows done so I feel a little bit more human during this big challenge.

I plan to visit the expo on Friday night with Leah, who is also running the marathon for the guide dogs. As Leah lives a bit further out of London she’ll be staying with me on the Saturday night, so we have a day of rest planned involving lots of Disney films and carbs, lots of carbs.

On the day of the race Leah & I will meet Shellie in the morning to head to the start line. I’m confident having these ladies around on the morning of will calm me and motivate me.

For the race exactly, the plan is to finish. No matter how fast or slow, there is only one goal. Of course I would love to finish under 5 hours but if it doesn’t happen, it just doesn’t. I really am not here chasing times on my first marathon. I’m going to smile, wave, high 5 everyone and say thank you to every volunteer. I will be running with music and have a playlist full of songs that remind me of inspirational people in my life. I’ll be thinking of friends who’ve not been able to run this race, or other due to injury, who are going to rest up and come back stronger, and mostly I’ll be thinking about food.

I am planning to take a little Social media break on the day of the marathon, I don’t want to constantly be checking my phone and comparing my time to others at the end, I want to enjoy the moment, document it, but share it later when I’ve absorbed everything.

Post Marathon:

I feel like my life has been on hold since training for this marathon. I haven’t had a drink since New Years or ‘let my hair down’ since November.

Immediately post marathon, I urgently need to get something in me. A high sugar drink, plenty of water and a small bite to eat as I need to settle my stomach. I’ve been getting really ill post long runs so preventing that takes priority.

Reunite with my family/cheer on any remaining friends still running!

Take pictures, enjoy my achievement and finally have a glass of fizz.

On the Monday, although we may be tired, Leah & I will be off to the Mayfair Spa for a day of relaxation, massages and afternoon tea.

On Tuesday I’m going to sleep in, then find my favourite food and eat so much and then off to the theatre to watch Aladdin.

Although it may seem like a lot post marathon, it will hopefully not be too much walking around, but I am glad to have something to look forward to.


So that’s my training, and marathon day plan. If you’d like to follow me on the day you can my bib number is 48659.

You can also follow me on Instagram ( @megandaniella ) to see more on my training and running journey.