Briggs’ own Angela Smith is getting set to take part in the pinnacle of running challenges in just under a month’s time. Having gained a place running for Dementia Revolution; part of Alzheimer’s Research UK’s initiative, she has been training long and hard in the countdown. Her originally fundraising target was £2,000 but she has reset it to £3,000 having smashed the original goal. She is just £245 away from her goal with four weeks to go.
She gave a quick interview to let us know how she has been getting on.
How long have you been running?
“I have been running for four years, since 2015.”
What inspired you to start running?
“My sister completed a half marathon in memory of our dad in 2014. I went to watch her do it, and it inspired me to start running and raise money myself for Macmillan in memory of my dad. When I first started running my husband timed me and I could only run for 9 seconds before I had to stop. I built it up kilometre by kilometre. I started with the Birmingham 10k then after that I had a break from running and I noticed that my anxiety was heightened in comparison to when I was training. My mother-in-law suggested to me that I experienced fewer panic attacks when I was training for the 10k and so we put her theory into practice. I found she was right so I continued running. There are many reasons that I run, but it’s not just for the medals, it is primarily for my mental health. I’m also an ambassador for RUNARCHY and I promote mental health awareness and the positive effects that exercise can have on your mental health.”
What inspired you to do the marathon?
“My sister and husband did the Birmingham marathon last year for Newlife, and I had always had it on my bucket list to do a marathon but seeing them complete it, it gave me the confidence to know I could do it. I have put in for a ballot place a number of times but never secured a spot, so I actively made the approach to do a charity place with Alzheimer’s Research UK, who have partnered with Alzheimer’s Society for a year-long charity campaign called the Dementia Revolution who are the official charity for the marathon this year.”
What challenges have you faced in your training?
“Primarily my mental health can be a challenge as the further I run and the more it hurts, the self-doubt creeps in and then anxiety can sometimes take over causing me a panic attack. Although the running is hard as I’m not a “natural runner” it’s more of a mental challenge for me than a physical one. I will never physically give up as I am too stubborn.”
What’s your strategy for keeping your energy up on the day?
“Everyone I’ve spoken to has said the crowd and the adrenaline will get you through it, but I’ve also got my gels. I’m planning on a big dinner the night before, we are booked into Pizza Express as I know pizza gives me plenty of energy. I need a good night’s sleep and I need a nice calm morning. My breakfast will be a massive bowl of cereal with loads of milk!”
What’s your strategy for pacing yourself on the day?
“I don’t pace myself, I call myself a “plodder”. I average about 13.5 minute miles but as I progress I do get slower towards the end. I think I might have to walk some of it, but if I do struggle im going to come up with a run-walk strategy such as run 3 miles then walk half a mile, then run again. I haven’t perfected it but I’ll keep trying in training.”
Have you had to change much in your lifestyle to help you prepare?
“Not really as I’m not one for going out late or drinking anyway. I’m more aware of what I eat the night before a long run, I’m more conscious of wether I have eaten enough carbohydrate to get through the run. It obviously takes time out of your day too to run such a long way, I usually do three runs a week including two short ones in the week then one long run at the weekend. It’s just managing my time a little better.”
What’s the furthest you’ve run so far?
“On Saturday I ran 15.15 miles and it hurt a lot but I powered through. So far this year I’ve ran 154.83 miles in training and my last long run is this week as I’ll be running 18 miles this weekend. They say if you run 18-20 miles then you should be fit enough to run the full distance on the day.”
Who will be there to support you on the day?
“I’ve got a right crew, I’ve got my husband Marc. My sister is also running so her family will be there to cheer us on and Rose Langley is coming down to support me! I was delighted to learn the other week that we have a Briggs’ cheer squad! The charity also has cheer points dotted around the course.”
How do you plan to reward yourself afterwards?
“With a massive dirty burger from Five Guys and Rose has committed to bringing me a donut for the finish line. There’s a little after party being held by Dementia Revolution charity, so you can pop in for a dinner and a drink and just chill out and take in what you’ve done and get a photo. We will probably go there first so that I can double-dinner.”
To support Angela in her first Marathon you can donate via her page here.