Marathon Nan: How to keep momentum going

As the coronavirus lockdown sees the London Marathon pushed back to autumn, first-time runner and 51-year-old granny of six Jude Clarke says light can be found, even in the darkest of times

Well obviously, this was meant to be the triumphant / despondent “Wow, I did it” / “Oh, I didn’t make it” post-marathon column, butas with almost all our old certainties, plans and ideas, I have had to alter course and take a different tack.

The London Marathon has been postponed, from its original date of April 26, to October 4 – a time which seems at the moment both so very far away and a bit too close for comfort. The symbolism of London’s Excel Conference Centre, usually the scene of a huge Running Show in the week leading up to the marathon, now being converted into the Nightingale Hospital, prepped and ready to take the inevitable overflow from existing NHS facilities at this time of national and international crisis is just one of many strange, jarring and oddly in a way almost inspiring things that I am noticing in these strange times.

I am doing my best to focus on these types of things and you know what? I’ve found that if you try hard enough, positives can almost *always* be found. Here are a few that have helped to motivate me in my now extended London Marathon “journey”…

Despite the race delay, Jude Clarke is keeping momentum (34127272)
Despite the race delay, Jude Clarke is keeping momentum (34127272)

Exercise is still allowed: and is more important than ever

At the time of writing we are still permitted one daily exercise session out of the house. This has become the highlight of each and every day for me. The fresh air, time for a bit of headspace, endorphins and opportunity to catch up on my favourite podcasts is absolutely invaluable.

There is strength, and comfort in numbers

I am the member of a Facebook group for fellow marathon runners for my chosen charity (Alzheimer’s Research UK). Even at the best of times it was a brilliantly fun, friendly and encouraging set of people to virtually chat with. Now it’s become nigh-on essential. We post our run stats, weird out-of-breath videos taken on our long runs, funny running memes and serious words of support and care for anyone who might be struggling. People are witty and kind and lovely, even people who started out as strangers.

The pushed-back date gives me more time to train

I’m not gonna lie, my route to a 26 April starting line was not looking particularly smooth. A couple of leg injuries had eaten into my training time and pushed my schedule a little awry. I had resigned myself to completing the course with a run/walk strategy which the perfectionist in me was a little upset about. Now though, I have the luxury of time. I have a full set of strengthening exercises (which can be done from indoors) which will mean that I should be able to avoid any recurrence of my injuries, and have sourced a brand new training programme which will give me a gentle 20-week lead in to the new Big Day. I’ve got this.

…and more time to fundraise

I was already less than £100 shy of my fundraising total by the time the race got postponed. Five more months to wait? I’m looking on it as five more months to fundraise! Alzheimer’s Research UK are doing such vital work to find treatments and ultimately a cure for the diseases that cause dementia, and I’m proud to be able to do my very small bit to help them make these breakthroughs possible. If you want to sponsor me and help me reach a new increased target, my page is at

The actual day will be even bigger and better

It was always going to feel like an epic event, the actual marathon day. Just imagine how it will be now. Restrictions lifted, everyone out on the streets again, a huge, joyous celebration of hope, achievement, health and determination. We will get there, it will happen and when it does, it will be incredible.

Jude is running the London Marathon 2020 on 4 October for Alzheimer’s Research UK, the UK’s leading dementia research charity. To find out more about their vital work to make dementia research breakthroughs possible, visit

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