26.2 thoughts you have when you run a marathon with very little or no training

All the gear and no idea

In April, I ran the London Marathon on little to no training, much as I claimed otherwise. It was hell. I absolutely loathe running, so family and friends broke down laughing when I announced I would be running a marathon – even if it was for charity.

I got myself a fitbit, bought some trainers and a phone armband, and signed up for overpriced uni gym. I genuinely had good intentions, but every time I thought about going, I’d decide there was something else I had to do that was so urgent it couldn’t wait.

So, thats how I found myself, seriously underprepared, heading to the start line in Grenwich. I was excited – prematurely, it now seems.


1. This is fine. I’ll be fine. I can just walk if I need to, no problems.

2. Oh, so apparently you don’t get a medal or a finishing time if you take more than 8 hours. Balls. Better run some.

3. Everyone’s talking about how far they’ve run in training. Hope they don’t ask me, they’re all acting as if 18 miles is a ‘quick one’. I’ve never run 18 miles in my life, let alone an afternoon.

4. How has one mile gone so slowly?

5. Stop doing the maths in your head, 26 – 2 = 24, only 24 miles left. Maths isn’t making it go any quicker.

6. 5 miles? This isn’t so bad!

7. Oh, that was the 5K sign. I take it back, this is so bad.

8. My legs keep chafing against each other. Vaseline, Vaseline, wherefore art thou, Vaseline?

9. Ooh, they’re giving out energy gels! *Tries one* Sweet Jesus, that’s disgusting.

10. Might just have a sit down under the pretence of tightening my laces.

11. Oh God, I’ll never be able to get back up. Damn you, comfy bit of wall.

12. Fabulous, a guy dressed in a giant rhino suit just overtook me. This is getting embarrassing.

13. Oh, and now some drunk men outside a pub are cheering me on – ‘go on, girl in the stripy top’ is a really catchy chant.


14. Positive: I’ve spotted my grandparents in the crowd, and they’ve given me a banana for energy. Negative: They’re trying to take photos of me, grimacing in pain.

15. I don’t know how many more children I can high-five whilst acting like I don’t mind bending down to accommodate their short legs.

16. Why do people still look so chirpy? Do they not realise that running is basically the worst thing ever invented?

17. I really need pain killers.

18. Did I say that out loud? A woman on the pavement is offering me painkillers. Is it okay to take pills from a stranger? I feel like it’s probably not, but I’m doing it anyway.

19. And I’m out of water to wash it down with. She’s offering me prosecco instead. This really isn’t okay, but it is necessary.

20. I think I must be the only person to ever drink prosecco whilst running a marathon.

21. These painkillers aren’t working fast enough. My feet feel like they are 98% blister right now.

22. Right, there’s a guy dressed as Death coming up behind me. Surely this is a sign?

23. What should I get on my headstone?

24. ‘Hannah always said exercise would be the death of her. She was right.’

25. Although I’m actually pretty near the end now…

26. Ish.

26.2. I didn’t think it was possible for 385 yards to feel this long.


But, six-and-a-half hours later, I finished.

I’m never doing that again.