Couch 2 42.2K or, The Joy of Stubbornness - Couch to 5K

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Couch 2 42.2K or, The Joy of Stubbornness

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Hi All

So, after graduating Couch 2 5k back on March 7th, I've been stubbornly plugging away at increasing speed (hard!), distance (not so hard!) and endurance (fun-ish) and today I managed to run the famous 26 miles, 385 yards at the Thames Meander Marathon.

I don't mention this to show off (well, maybe a bit) but hopefully to demonstrate what the programme, plus this wonderfully supportive community can do for the average unfit bloke if he puts his mind to it.

I got round in 4:32.01, which sounds like a nice, steady 6mph run but was actually a failed attempt at a sub-4hr time for the first 15 or so miles, followed by a long painful crawl for the remainder (splits &c are here: ) but I know where I went wrong and will do better next time, I'm sure.

Huge, huge thanks to all the C25kers - I couldn't imagine a warmer, more supportive crew and I thought of you many times on the way round.

Be proud of yourselves for the part you play in inspiring and supporting each other, be proud of all your runs, even the worst ones and please remember to enjoy it, otherwise why bother?

I've enjoyed a well-deserved post run recovery meal with the in-laws (Caribbean food and Red Stripe lager FTW) so I'll shush now before a get too emotional but thank you all, sincerely.

All the best,


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Great post! I am feeling very inspired by your achievements. Well done!

Thanks Lynda - I find everyone who sticks to C25k pretty inspiring.


You did a Marathon ???? WOW !!!!

Absolutely amazing, Stephen !!! A massive Well done to you . That is awesome !!!

Fantastic achievement ! Take a bow !! Yes , it is just mind blowing what we can achieve through this programme .

Congratulations ! :-) xxx

Thanks PP!

Amazing stuff AHS - couch to marathon in less than a year. Many, many congratulations. That is a great time for a first marathon, but I see how everything became "more difficult" from mile 15 on your stats (15 miles! For goodness sakes! That's a really long way, even without all the rest!) - what caused that, pacing? Interested to know because the idea of a marathon still frightens the bejesus out of me, it is an epic distance. But anyway, you are a legend, congratulations again, and enjoy your celebrations, you deserve it!

Thanks TT - it seems a bit churlish to beat myself up about the time but I definitely made a mess of it and it's entirely down to being overconfident. My longest training run before I started to taper was 24 miles at exactly 10mm pace and I naively thought "race conditions" would mean I could run 30sec/mile faster easily - I did every run of the last fortnight at sub-9mm pace pretty much and thought that would be enough I suppose.

I got handed an excellent lesson in the virtues of steady pacing - I got passed at 24 miles by a guy I'd passed at 11.


Congratulations - and you are looking exceedingly fit!!! Would like to see a photo of 12 months ago??? :)

You really wouldn't!

in reply to ActonHighStreet

Yes -- WE would !!! Wouldn't we (everybody else)???

in reply to Bazza1234

Yep , I'm with Bazza on this one :-) Oooh I forgot to say - Nice Bling ! :-) xxx

in reply to Bazza1234

Yes! We would!


That is awesome! Well done. C25k to marathon in a year? Quite the achievement. Be proud, you have earned it!

Thank you.


Well done, congrats



Would be interesting to know what drinks and snacky snacks you had whilst doing this . Also , physically , how do you feel today ? I can imagine emotionally you are still on a massive high today xxx

Six packets of Haribo, water or squash at every aid station, one piece of brownie, one flapjack, several jelly babies and a bottle of Lucozade sport during the race.

I may be the only person to finish the marathon heavier than they started it!

Emotionally, I feel absolutely great, physically I am in considerably more pain than after even my longest training runs - I won't be going for even a jog today.


Thanks Stephen , very interesting . Yes , a nice relaxing few days for you . Massive Well done to you xxxx


Congratulations that's awesome, even the long painful crawl!! Well done!!

Thank you - the memories of the pain are fading faster than the memories of the good bits.


Just WOW!! that is fantastic - a whole marathon in just that short space of time (I had to keep reading that distance).

You should be super chuffed, well done you :-) xx

Thank you - it's almost exactly six months.


Fantastic stuff AHS.

The mere fact that you had a 4hr target is just mind-blowing. I can almost feel the pain looking at the progression of your splits but it's great that you know what needs to be corrected.

I am signed up for next year's Brighton Marathon but the intention is for that to be my one and only attempt at that distance.

Again, fantastic stuff.

Thanks Dunder - I have a rule about doing one race a month and I already have a HM, a 60minuter and a 15 mile race in for Sep, October and November so I won't be having another crack at 26.2 til at least December at the earliest. If I don't get a London place, I might see you in Brighton.

Awesome! You should be beating your drum and blowing your own trumpet up and down and all around Acton High St! For weeks! An amazing achievement.

Thanks Jayne - I might start the Acton Carnival parade 11 months early.

Whooop whooop!!!! Nice bling πŸ†!!! I am in awe I have to say as someone who graduated about the same time!!! That's a very impressive achievement and I bow and courtesy to your greatness. It seems to me to be superhuman, but then doing C25K seemed impossible when we all started. Very well done and thanks for an inspiring post 😊 enjoy X

Thanks NS - it's more stubbornness than greatness, I reckon.


What an amazing achievement and how inspirational. I ran my first run yesterday so a very raw newbie and I want to complete a 10k in December and it looks like this is an achievable goal. I walked 26.2 miles in May for breast cancer there is no better feeling than getting your medal. Enjoy your glory, enjoy all the praise as it is definitely well deserved.

Thanks Helein - a 10k in December should be no problem. Enjoy it and let us know how you get on.


Wow! What a fantastic achivement ahs, you must be buzzing and so proud! I love that people graduate and still come back to this forum to support and inspire others and that is pretty inspirational!! Sounds like you're already planninv the next one too. Thanks for sharing.

Thanks Sandra - of course I call it "showing off" rather than sharing. :)

in reply to ActonHighStreet

...well if you can't show off a bit after running a marathon, when can you? !


outstanding AHS what else can you say , so pleased for you :D

Cheers Rob!



Thank you!

Wow well done. I always find it so inspiring watching how everyone moves on from their graduations badges and all the different directions that are taken. It has been a pleasure to come along with you and read your posts. Well done for your distance and time. We will watch and wait to see where you will go next. Happy running.

Thank you - happy to contribute 26.2miles to the quest!

in reply to ActonHighStreet

As a reward would you like to decide the next virtual quest to add you 26.2 miles to.

Ooh, pressure! I'll have a think...


You ran a marathon 6 months after graduating? Wow... you must have worked really hard, Fantastic, well done you x

Thank you!


Amazing, well done, you must feel so chuffed !!! A really inspirational post x

Thank you - there are a lot of inspirational people on here.

Congratulations. Inspirational.

I'm in awe of your achievements - the running and the refuelling :-)

Looking forward to hearing about the rest of your races.


The refuelling was the best bit!


That's fantastic AHS! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ I'm in awe of people who can run that far......after the suffering I endured training & running a HM and working out I'm better suited to 10ks (stretching but not killers!) I have great respect for the longer distances (not just for the effort but for the training commitment). Here's to many happy runs :) x

Thank you - happy runs all round I hope!

Wow don't really know what else to say congrats and very well done a marathon is my ultimate goal just the one though to tick off the bucket list. The very best of luck with the next one sub 4 you can do it

I'll have a go - it won't be for a while though!


You are an amazing person ! πŸ“’ you deserve to tell the world. Congratulations and well done. Your achievement is right up there. Thank you for such an inspirational post. πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

<blushes profusely, goes the same colour as someone who's just run a marathon>


Brilliant, well done !!! Im so happy for you. I have Half Marathon in two weeks I just cant wait and cant imagine running a full one lol. I think I will probably stick to 10K as love that distance but hey look at you ..... Amazing and yes THANKS C25K xx

The half-marathon is a massive achievement as well, enjoy it!

Fantastic - well done :) :) :)

Thank you.


That's brilliant to hear. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and massive achievement! Running a marathon is way beyond my reach, I'm a 5k girl trying to push her pace at the moment! Enjoy the rest of the Bank Holiday weekend. Happy running x

Thank you - I've just finished work and will definitely be enjoying the rest of the weekend, although I think I'll be giving having a boogie at Carnival a miss this year!


Well done Acton! Inspiring, I don't think I'll be doing any marathons, possibly 10k charity....

The pursuit of distance can be somewhat addictive, I fear.


Absolutely brilliant! Many, many congratulations on your superb achievement, you superstar!

Thanks Annie.


Well done ActionMan!!!!! I bow down to your astonishing feat of endurance! Six months!!!! Crikey! Holy Moley!!!

Have a rest. Give yourself time to recover.

Lovely bling by the way!!!

Thank you - I'm start to build up quite a collection.



I would be interested to hear how many hours per week you spent while doing the Marathon training. I think it is that which scares me more then the race itself :)

It's difficult to say, Bazza. I didn't really "train for the marathon" so much as increase the intensity and distance of my running until it was sufficient to (coincidentally) form a base for marathon running. Before I tapered for the marathon, I was running about 45-50 miles a week in about 7-8 hours, plus another 2.5ish hours of gentle cross-training.

in reply to ActonHighStreet

Thanks for that -- makes sense. I am following a HM "plan" and doing around 4 hours per week for that.





Fanbloodytastic!!! My cap is in full doffing mode. Well done. :D

Thank you!


That is fantastic Stephen! Not only getting to the end of it, but also in quite a good time for a first timer!!! All that running around the streets of London has paid off.

I hope you enjoyed every bit and every bite of the celebration !!! :) x

I did! Cheers! Hic!


So where's the photo of you? Would be 18 months ago now, and not heard from you since, hope you're OK..or have I missed something?

Hi Dave!

Yes, I'm fine, thank you. Apologies for the long absence - Healthunlocked stopped working on my ageing phone and I got out of the habit of posting here. I suppose I found myself in an "in-between" position - I was no longer a novice runner who was sharing their milestones but at the same time I wasn't a veteran with loads of good advice to give so I sort of drifted away.

Anyway, I'm still running ( almost exactly a year after graduating C25k and still enjoying it immensely - I'm currently training for another crack at the Marathon, this time at London:

As you asked nicely and to say sorry for being away so long, here's a before picture:

I am, quite literally two thirds of the man I used to be.

Happy running,


in reply to ActonHighStreet

Hi AHS, Good to see your still doing OK, and amazing to see the difference in your photos, running really does work wonders doesn't it. Keep up the good work with the marathons.

You can now post on other healthunlocked communities which are probably more suitable for you now, called Bridge to 10k and also marathon running and race support, in case you don't already know.

Good luck, Dave



Hi AHS, Good to see your still doing OK, and amazing to see the difference in your photos, running really does work wonders doesn't it. Keep up the good work with the marathons.

You can now post on other healthunlocked communities which are probably more suitable for you now, called Bridge to 10k and also marathon running and race support, in case you don't already know.

Good luck, Dave

Thanks fella - I'll check out those other communities but it's nice to be back here as well.



in reply to ActonHighStreet

I forgot to add, there's some you'll recognise from here on those communities, and juicy ju is admin on the marathon running all good stuff..


That is an AMAZING transformation Stephen !

Brilliant achievement , Congratulations, how much did you lose, if you dont mind me asking ? xxx

Thank you PP - at my heaviest I was around 19 and a half stone, I now vary between about 13st 6lb and 13st 11lb, which is fine by me.

Wow that is just amazing. I am feeling very inspired by your example.

Thank you - everyone who sticks to C25k is pretty inspiring.


Wow !!! Thats fantastic , did you achieve your weight loss by going to a slimming club or did you devise your own plan ?

Sorry for being nosy :-) xxx

I can't imagine going to a slimming club - I hate to sound unscientific but I just ran a lot, ate less and most importantly did lots of gentle exercise (including plenty of squats) on my non-running days so I didn't get injured running.


That is brilliant , Well done Stephen , very inspirational ! :-) xxx


Yay! The wanderer returns! Welcome home xx

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