Meet the Bristol student running the London Marathon in memory of his sister

Freddie Unwin, a second year Zoology student, spoke to The Tab before he runs the London Marathon on Sunday.


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What inspired you to run the marathon?

I’m running it for my sister, Millie, who sadly died from cot death, so raising money for the Lullaby Trust was my main inspiration. They do great work helping bereaved families and promoting expert advice on safer baby sleep. I also wanted the challenge of trying to run it in a fast time.

How have you trained for the race?

Having ran a marathon before with little training and doing pretty badly, I decided to put my self through the rigours of a 16 week ‘elite’ training program, to better understand what it takes to run a sub 3 hour marathon.

The plan started just after Christmas, carrying a little holiday weight and having had a good 3 weeks off all exercise but I soon settled into it, running around 40 miles a week for the first month.

Regular runs around Ashton court in bristol were the norm. Then my mileage increased each week, peaking at 70 miles with four weeks to go.

Running the Bath Half on March 2nd gave me good confidence that I was on track for a solid time in London. Long runs were on Sundays, ranging from 20-26 miles and I’d run over to the Severn Bridge and back.

freddie bath half

I’d rest on Saturdays and occasionally Mondays depending on how long my Sunday run was. I’m on my “taper” week at the moment. Still running every day but just 4-6 miles to stay fresh and keep things ticking over.

What’s been the hardest part?

It wasn’t always easy, and the reality of running upwards of 60 miles a week on my own in the wet and cold, on top of uni work and some fairly bad hangovers, resulted in some low points where giving up was tempting. But I learnt to embrace solitude and the time to reflect while on my long runs, and found I enjoyed them much more then the shorter high intensity 7 miles or so around Ashton court.

How have you balanced the training with your course?

I’ve never been a keen worker and I’m not one for sitting in the library for more then 2 hours at a time, so I found that for the most part, my running provided a welcome break. And in the winter when I had lectures all day I was still able to put in miles on the tredmill.

What are you most looking forward to on Sunday?

I’m looking forward to putting into practice all these weeks of hard training! I just hope it pays off as it’s felt like all I’ve done these past few months is eat, drink, sleep and run. I’m also looking forward to experiencing the legendary crowds and atmosphere in the greatest marathon in the world.

If you’ve been inspired by Freddie, please donate to http://www.justgiving.com/freddieunwin.

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