Leah Mates, a 32 year old Project Manager from London took part in the first MyMarathon challenge in May 2016 in a bid it to tick a marathon off her bucket list.
“I was really aware of how unfit I was. People look at me and think because I’m slim I must be healthy, but I knew I wasn’t looking after myself or my heart-health. For some time I’d wanted to start being more active, but was reluctant to spend money joining the gym or starting a sport that required me buying some sort of equipment. What if I didn’t like it? That would have just been another yoga mat, tennis racket, or bike to add to the pile of good intentions I’ve never followed through on!”
“MyMarathon was a challenge that appealed to me. It was the motivation I was looking for to start being a bit healthier. I am always up for a challenge and have always wanted to do the London Marathon. But that’s a massive step – I wasn’t ready to commit my social life to the bin for months of winter training.”
“With MyMarathon I could accomplish something big and tick a marathon off my bucket-list, but I liked that I was able to complete those miles on my own terms. When I wanted. And where I wanted.”
Leah says she isn’t a natural runner and was nervous about taking part. “I worried what I would look like, that I wouldn’t improve or that I would hate every minute of it.”
“The hardest part of all was getting out the door. I came up with so many excuses at first and there were times that I really didn’t want to go out for a run. Particularly towards the end of May when the weather was awful and I was knackered after work. But getting sponsored gave me the motivation to keep going and not give up.
Without fail, I never once regretted going for a run. I always felt so good about myself afterwards. I ended up not caring at all what I looked like, or how far I went in one go, or even how fast I was. I just felt proud of myself for finally taking charge of my health and doing something that was just for me.”
“And the best part is that I massively enjoyed the challenge. It did get easier and my legs and heart got stronger throughout the month. By the end of May I was able to complete a 5k in one go, when previously I could barely manage getting to the end of my road. It was such a positive experience – my friends and colleagues got involved too. We all connected our fundraising pages to Strava and supported each other throughout the whole month. I’ve even carried on running which I genuinely never thought would happen!”
“It was genuinely such a positive experience. I was proud of what I achieved and with raising over £200 for the BHF. If I can do it – anyone can.”
Sign up to MyMarathon
Help us run all over heart disease this May. Sign up for MyMarathon now and help raise money for life saving heart research.