5) Tell us about the experience of your Guinness world record Buggy run! How was it and what was it like being in the media so much afterwards!
I decided to attempt the marathon buggy-running record as a personal challenge and to motivate myself after having Daniel. I trained really hard for it, building up the longer runs and doing speed work and tempo sessions as I would have done for a normal marathon except this time with the buggy!
My marathon PB is 2:58 and so I knew I would be able to complete it in a fairly respectable time but I had no idea exactly how fast. As I have already mentioned, all my long training runs at that time were done around Blenheim Palace, which is really hilly. As any buggy-runner will know, running hills pushing a buggy is incredibly hard work and so I didn’t know how the pace that I was running my long runs at Blenheim would translate to the flat course at Abingdon.
On race day itself I was excited but also incredibly nervous, there was so much that could go wrong that was out of my control – a screaming baby, a puncture, a nappy change! I was also still breast-feeding Daniel at the time but he wouldn’t eat anything just before the race as there were too many distractions. We had a bottle of milk prepared that we used at about Mile 20.
The plan was for my husband to run in front of me to find the best route, block some of the wind and warn other people that we were around them - although I had also fitted a bike bell to the buggy! I say ‘find the best route’ because a complication that non-buggy runners don’t even think about is the difficulty of curbs! Slowing down to mount or dismount a curb and then having to regain your speed is both tiring and can cost you as much as 30 seconds per mile so Dave had to find places where the curb dropped for us to mount and dismount without changing pace.He was also in charge of looking after Daniel, which included feeding him a bottle of milk at Mile 20 and singing nursey rhymes between miles 21 – 23, much to the amusement of the runners surrounding us!
We set off running at 7:30 mins/mile, which felt comfortable. This was faster than we had planned and as many a marathoner can attest to, was a risky move that could have ended in disaster. As it was, our hours spent struggling up the hills at Blenheim Palace were rewarded and we managed to maintain this kind of pace throughout the race.
I don’t have many memories of the race itself as I was concentrating on my running, but I do remember that everyone, both runners and spectators, were incredibly supportive, which certainly helped along the way! Daniel also slept until the last 6-miles, which certainly helped! I was delighted with the final time of 3 hours, 17 mins and 52 seconds.
The media attention afterwards was completely unexpected. I knew that BBC Oxford and the local paper were covering the story but I certainly didn’t anticipate the amount of attention we received! I still believe it was because we presented a feel-good story that appealed to a wide audience!
6) What races do you have coming up…?!
My next race is another World Record Marathon attempt at the Abingdon Marathon, but this time with the double-buggy! With less than 8-weeks to go, training is going well and we’re excited about the new challenge. Guinness says that I need to break 4 hrs and 30 minutes for the record. Whilst it’s very hard to predict what time I am going to run as there are even more things that could go wrong this time around, I’m pretty confident that I can achieve 4:30. My husband will run alongside me as before, I joke that his job of entertaining Daniel and Emilia will be harder than mine of merely pushing them for 26.2 miles!
7) What are your top tips when preparing for a buggy run?
Be prepared for everything and accept that you’ll probably have to stop several times during a run! I take snacks, nappy changing kit, a drink, a phone, some cash and my feeding cover in case I have to stop and breastfeed Emilia. Gone are the days of running out the backdoor with my keys! I also make my runs fun for the children. Emilia is easy as she just likes to watch everything but for Daniel we’ll feed the ducks or run to see the diggers and trains.