Join the Worcester Festival Administration Director, Liz Grand on her journey to running this year’s London Marathon!
Liz will keep you up to date with her training and progress in preparation for the big day and of course, about the big day it’s self.

This blog is about Liz’s running journey so far and the moment she opened that all important email!

On Tuesday 9th February 2021 at 5.24pm I got an email that changed my life! Ok, well maybe that’s a little dramatic! It didn’t change my life but it certainly sent me into a state of shock…………

I’d got a ballot place in the 2021 Vitality London Marathon in October!!!

There are several ways to get a place in London. I’d pretty much ruled out being invited as an elite athlete, so the ballot was my next option but with odds at 25 to 1 of getting a place it still seemed unlikely. People try for years and don’t get in and this was only my second attempt. I wasn’t going to enter but when they announced it would be in October 2021 rather than April I thought the chance to be able to do long run training in the better weather and light nights was too good an opportunity to miss. So with no real expectation other than you’ve ‘got to be in it to win it’ I entered.

I’m relatively new to running. I’ve always been quite sporty and exercised but it’s been getting increasingly difficult to get to the gym. Living in Diglis gives me access to some of the best, off road and flat, running in Worcester so I thought why not?  In January 2018 I put on my running shoes and went for my first run.

Now I can’t say that I fell in love with running straight away. It probably wasn’t until the third date that I really started to think this was the one for me.  I was fortunate to know a couple of runners and one friend in particular helped to guide me in the first few months. In fact he was the one who said I needed a challenge to aim for so I decided to enter the Worcester City 10k.

I have to admit that my training for it was a bit stop/start and I did a couple of Parkruns on the way. Low spot on my first Parkrun; Being overtaken by a man with a pushchair. High spot; sprinting to the finish and beating the guy in front of me. (Not really the spirit of Parkrun but running brings out the competitor in all of us).

In September 2018 I found myself on the 10k start line. One of the great things about running is the support you get from fellow runners. I got two great tips whilst waiting to start. Tip 1.Your time doesn’t start until you go over the start line so you can safely wait until the queues have disappeared at the toilets. Tip 2 You can hang back out of the main groups so you don’t get carried away in the first rush. In fact there is footage of the start of that race and if you watch long enough you will see me go over the start line all by myself. I had two goals. To run all the way and not walk and to get under 1hr 20 mins. I achieved both and recorded a time of 1hr 18mins 11 secs.

Over the next few months I carried on running by myself and then I decided to join the Black Pear Joggers. This was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The support both in encouragement and shared knowledge is amazing. Not to mention the genuine friendships you make along the way.  I knew a couple of people running the London Marathon and I decided to go to London to support them. The whole atmosphere was incredible and the sheer volume of runner was mind-boggling.  I had the Marathon App on my phone and on the train on the way back I got a notification about the closing date for entries for 2020. For no other reason than it was there I decided to enter. To say I was relieved when I didn’t get a place is a bit of an understatement but I did get a rather nice ‘losers’ running top.

I decided to enter the Worcester City 10k again in September 2019 to try to beat my time. Which I did by a massive 10mins 26 secs.  I entered my first off road race at Croome Park in November 2019. I got very wet and very muddy and I loved every second of it. Then in December 2019… first injury. I damaged the tendons in my calf. It was a massive blow especially as I had planned to do all sorts of social runs over Christmas that I hadn’t been able to do before. In a strange way I’m grateful it happened when it did because it taught me so much about running and looking after yourself. I made the decision to see a physio and she helped to guide me back and most importantly… to take recovery slowly and as the Country locked down in March 2020, I was just coming back! That was when running and I really fell in love.
Running through lock down one was brilliant. I know that lots of people struggled (and still are) to be motivated but I LOVED it.  I never run with headphones so just listening and watching nature is such a stress reliver.  Through lock down I decided to improve my 5k time and get under 30 mins. I didn’t quite get there but my PB is 30mins 30secs, so tantalisingly close.

When we could start to run again in social groups, I started running more regularly with the Black Pears and I started working with a fantastic running coach. My next goal was to get my 10k time under an hour however as the pandemic raged it became obvious that the race wouldn’t go a head ‘live’ and I decided to park that until 2021. I did do the virtual race with two friends and it was probably one of the most enjoyable runs I’ve ever done.

When you start running each new distance seems like a mountain to climb. People had suggested I try half marathon and I had always thought it was beyond me but I started to think that maybe I would like to give it a go so I entered the London Half scheduled for April 2021 and started on a training programme for that.

In January 2021 I ran 10 miles. The furthest I’d ever run. And then my ship came in!

Here I am with 3 years running experience, 10 miles under my belt, starting on my greatest challenge and although it’s going to be tough, I can’t tell you how excited I am!

I look forward to sharing the journey with you….

Discover more from Worcester Festival

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading