Couch to 5K
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C25K - 12 Months on. What a journey!

Warning - long post, get a cup of tea!

Well, it's been 12 months and thanks to Justin (see first link below), the NHS, Laura and you guys I've hit a massive milestone in my life.

I've been injured (thankfully minor), I've struggled for motivation, I've been disappointed - but this week I've hit my goal of running a half marathon and done it big time!

To save me writing everything again:

I blogged about my graduation and motivations here:

I also unashamedly bragged about timings when I completed stage 1 of my Great North Run Training:

And helpfully Fentaz42 has written an excellent write up on the Great North Run saving me an hour of my life ;-)

A year ago I was no different from most of the people on this forum. I weighed 79K (I'm 5 ft 6, aged 42), drank too much, eat too much and other than a round of golf a couple of times a month did little exercise. My clothes were all way too big for me just to fit my waist size and I got out of breadth climbing stairs - something had to give.

My goal was to finish C25K, not a half marathon. The progression was natural - 5K was a big challenge, I went for 10K and then thought why not go for it! A mate had sown a seed and that was enough.

In a moment of madness I entered the GNR - One year on from when I started C25K things are very different. I now weigh 66Kg, go the gym three times a week, run at least three times a week and eat well. I've said previously that I am taking my training way too seriously and realise it's not's for everyone.

My experiences of the GNR were very similar to Fentaz42 and Lovefood1984, the entire day was inspirational. I ran for H4H and spent a while with the H4H team afterwards, they (and every charity team there) all work tirelessly for their cause and deserve so much recognition for what they do. Having served in the RAF and spent a significant amount of time in my life working in hot dusty places trying to make sure I wasn't in the same country as Kate Adey I have a real good understanding and respect for everything everyone in the forces goes through - thankfully I left just before Afghanistan and my experiences were relatively tame!

I emailed the GNR team with some of my 10K times suggesting I was aiming for 1 hr 35. When my bib arrived my number was 2019, which I now know is the position they are forecasting you finish (out of 56000)! I went all out to hit the target - knowing that one of my sponsors had incentivised me to break 1hr 35 by giving me £2 extra per minute under it was enough to motivate me!

The night before I looked at my bib, and my starting position. I'd clearly got something wrong - I was in "Orange B". Orange B was at the front - immediately behind the Elites! A few minutes later I realised the celebs were between us, but wow, I was just behind the elites ;-)

I didn't finish behind the elites but did myself proud:

I finished in position 1620, ahead of my predicted position. I missed my target but only just - I finished respectfully in 1.35:39. The hills killed me (Reading is flat as a pancake), and the atmosphere meant I started off way too quick - just 9 seconds slower than my 5K PB and 20 seconds off my 10K PB and I didn't even know it was happening.

I raised just over £500 for a great cause and have been told today that I've inspired a colleague and he's starting C25K on Wednesday. It's all gone full circle since Justin inspired me 12 months ago. Incidentally Justin ran a PB in parkrun at the weekend, well done Justin!

I haven't decided what the next challenge is yet. I have Bournemouth 10K next month, Reading HM in March and a colleague is threatening to put a Tough Mudder team together, hopefully that will keep me going through the winter (already!). I'm open to suggestions ;-)

That was a long post, sorry! If it inspires just one person to keep going then it's been worth writing.

All the best and keep on running ;-)

13 Replies

This is awesome! I am feeling so inspired, I love the blog! Keep us posted as I have a feeling this will not be the last time you run a HM or dare I say a full marathon!

Huge big congrats on an amazing time!


What an amazing story and very inspiring. It's great others people have witnessed your success and are now going to go on the c25km journey. Congrulations on gnr and all your successes. Did you see mo?


Thanks - No I didn't see him

One thing Fentaz42 didn't mention was the queue for the portaloos! I suspect Mo was in a fast track toilet queue when I should have been looking around at the start ;-)

Good luck with C25K


Thank you for this. It's very inspiring.


Well done MatP - despite what you say that is an amazing time. I swore blind having done some 10Ks this year that I really do not want to go further but yesterday's coverage on the TV, and having been in Newcastle to do the Great North5K on Saturday, the whole atmosphere with all the kids doing their races, the great North City Games was really inspiring and like you say I am now sowing that seed of consideration in mind for 2015. Keep on running.


Wasn't Saturday fantastic?

My kids both ran in the "mini" and loved it. We need to do whatever we can to encourage the kids to exercise, parkrun have started expanding their Junior runs to weekly events in the last few months. My three year old can't wait to turn four so he can do his first two KM ;-)


Wow. Such a great post. What an amazing time for your GNR!! Its great to hear stories like this for those of us just starting out with running.

You certainly did do yourself proud, well done :-D


Thanks everyone.



Wow what a time! You could have run it twice in the time I did :D Bet you were the one that took all the ice pops before I got there ;) glad you had a great time


Nice thought but no chance - as I went through the finish line my legs gave up and I almost fell. It's been a long time since a woman/Marshall I don't know has tried to get me in her arms ;-)

Well done - I suspect that like me you never dreamt you would achieve what you achieved on Sunday?


If you'd asked me when I started c25k if I'd be running a world famous HM 9 months after graduation I'd of laughed! Not sure HMs are for me but I'm so glad to say I've done it :) and it's my local too! :D


Wow, you have come a long way. Congratulations with it all, you are an inspiration. And what a time, eh? 1:35:39, wow, that is amazing!!


What an absolutely inspirational story. Well done


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