Easter Sunday - the longest run
For team JM preparing for the 2018 London Marathon, Easter Sunday was the day the training manuals advise should be your longest run, three weeks before marathon day itself (22nd April). After that you are advised to “power-down”, conserve energy and build up nutrition reserves to get you through the big day.
Jane Hellings, the Jesuits’ Director of Development & Communications, is running this year and has recruited her son Rupert Holloway onto the team. They were holidaying together at Easter in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, and so for the first time did a training run together after Easter Sunday Mass.
“For me this Lent has been a period of pretty gruelling exertion, both mental and physical, pushing myself to extremes I never thought I could reach in some really horrible weather,” Jane observed, “so there was something glorious about emerging from Lent to achieve the goal of the longest training run on Easter Sunday.”
“All my previous long runs have been on fairly flat terrain – mainly along the Thames path, as I really don’t like hills!” Jane explained. “But it was impossible to identify a long flat run in Pembrokeshire. In the end we opted to run about 20 miles along the coast path from the pretty harbour at Dale to where we were staying in Little Haven.”
“It’s a route we have both walked many times,” Rupert added, “and mentally there is something very satisfying about running home. It is a bit up and down but there are some good flat stretches as well. One thing we hadn’t thought about was the number of gates to negotiate along the way. I suggested Mum set the pace and she started off holding the gates for me but she soon got tired of that and was way ahead. Used to London pavements, I struggled with the uneven terrain and was glad to return to a hot bath and a slice of simnel cake!”
So is it going to be a race between mother and son?
“We have joked about that in the family” says Rupert, “and to be honest I thought I would be finishing way ahead. But after Easter Sunday I’m not so sure.”
Also doing a long run on Easter Sunday was Richard Greenwood, Outreach and Communications Officer at Jesuit Missions, who achieved 19 miles around Woking Park. “I found it tough but I did think about all the people who have sponsored me so far, you do start to feel a bit more responsible when people have actually parted with their cash to support you!” Richard commented, “I’m looking forward to it now, I’ve actually got to the stage where I miss running if I haven’t been out for a few days – I never thought that would happen. My plan for marathon day is to start slow and then get slower and slower, and when I need some inspiration I’ll think of the people we are raising money for, and those who have generously sponsored already.”
Philip Harrison SJ has been training hard. “As I have been training, winter has broken into spring, so I have enjoyed watching the foliage begin to change as I run along the River Lea during the week," Phil observed. "My other favourite training spot is the bank of the River Thames just down stream from Tower Bridge. I have even started practising parts of the course in preparation for race day. It passes directly in front of the parish where I have been working in Bermondsey. I haven’t quite got as far as the 30km on the training plan as I had to spend a couple of weeks resting up after straining a muscle which brought me back down to earth with a thud. Now, my alignment and breathing have both improved dramatically which has made everything much easier. My longest run was 25km which I ran along the river Lea on a beautiful spring day. At one point I caught my breath at the sight of the sunlight flickering on the river, my heart almost skipped a beat, I was so glad to be alive and to be able to run for my friends at the Jesuit Refugee Service day Centre in Wapping.”
Please consider sponsoring Philip, Richard, Rupert and Jane.
Money raised by this year’s Jesuit Missions marathon runners will support a women’s empowerment project in India and education programme with South Sudanese refugees in Uganda.