Endurance runner, productivity geek and bio-hacker

Matt Smallman

Category: Running and Fitness

Marathon Challenge – The Finish Line

Whilst you will probably be relieved that this is my final post on the subject I am very glad to be able to report success in my 12 week marathon challenge. I was very pleased to finish last weekend’s London Marathon in a time of 3 hours and 55 minutes (just under my 4 hour target). It was an amazing, if not painful, experience that I will never forget; although I feel no need to repeat in the immediate future as it wasn’t until Wednesday that I was able to walk down stairs again. I was completely overwhelmed by the support I received from friends, colleagues and family both financial and emotional. It is no exaggeration to say that this is what got me up on cold winter’s mornings and ultimately to the finish line. Thank you.

For those who like the stats (I do – did you guess?). From a standing start just over 12 weeks ago I’ve sent 196 emails, made 20 social media posts (Barclay’s internal mysite produced most sponsorships and LinkedIn least if you were wondering), filmed 40 minutes of video in 63 segments, edited 8 videos down to 15 mins and of course spent 29 hours, running 195 miles over 24 sessions (not quite my original 250 mile target but only 3 of these were even warm enough to wear shorts). 161 of theses emails have been opened, the website visited 479 times by 209 unique visitors and the videos played 195 times (although only 108 times to the end – maybe I need to work on that) and finally 77 people sponsored me which helped to raise £3313.25 for Help the Hospices with a little help from Barclays.

This is an enormous amount, far more than I ever dreamt possible in such a short time and I am immensely grateful to everyone for their generosity. It is hard to express in words just how much it means to me to be able to do this little bit to help ensure that other families and their loved ones can continue to benefit from the whole person approach to terminal care that Charlie and I were fortunate enough to receive for our respective fathers.

In case you haven’t yet had a chance; you still have a short window of opportunity to support Help the Hospices by sponsoring me at: https://test.mattsmallman.com/marathon

Finally, whilst I am obviously very grateful for everyone’s support in getting me to the finish line, if it hadn’t been for Charlie and Thomas graciously giving up a significant chunk of their time with me over the last few months then I would never have been able to make it to the start line. I therefore promise to find a much less time consuming challenge for the second half of the year.

P.S. I forgot to mention in the stats section the 10 litres of Waitrose Chocolate Milk that fuelled my training. Highly recommended to accelerate post training recovery.

Marathon Challenge – Week 11

[fusion_builder_container backgroundcolor=”” backgroundimage=”” backgroundrepeat=”no-repeat” backgroundposition=”left top” backgroundattachment=”scroll” video_webm=”” video_mp4=”” video_ogv=”” video_preview_image=”” overlay_color=”” overlay_opacity=”0.5″ video_mute=”yes” video_loop=”yes” fade=”no” bordersize=”0px” bordercolor=”” borderstyle=”” paddingtop=”20px” paddingbottom=”20px” paddingleft=”0px” paddingright=”0px” menu_anchor=”” equal_height_columns=”no” hundred_percent=”no” class=”” id=””][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_vimeo id=”64130281″ width=”500″ height=”281″ autoplay=”no” api_params=”badge=0&byline=0&title=0&portrait=0″ class=””/][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container][fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][fusion_text]With just under 2 weeks to go until the big day I am through the hardest (and dullest) part of my training and have started to ease up a bit so I’m fresh on the day. It was great to finally get out in some sunshine this weekend after what must have been the most miserable first three months of the year ever.

As a result of colds and other injuries I didn’t quite make my planned furthest distance of 22 miles but did make it to 19 a few weeks back but I’m not sure I’d even have managed that if it weren’t for your generosity. You can see a dramatically sped up fly over of the 19 miles that took me 2hr 40mins last weekend in just 2mins 10secs in this week’s video blog.

I’m still tracking for a respectable time but a lot can happen between now and then as well as on the day when the sheer number of people on the course can have a big impact. If you’ve never been in London for the Marathon then I would definitely recommend it. If nothing else it is a great spectacle, there is a wide variety of entertainment around the course and you can take pleasure in the fact you are not running. The Canary Wharf area affords several opportunities to see the race as it passes within about 200 metres of the same spot a few times, the bars, restaurants and shops are open as normal and you can easily get back to the finish area in Westminster on the Jubilee Line. I’ll be wearing number 40453 and the yellow and blue Help the Hospices vest with my name on it so give me a shout if you see me.

With your support I’ve now exceeded my £2500 sponsorship target and am hoping to be somewhere near £3000 by the time the dust settles.

I plan to send out one more update before the race and another when it’s all over but if you want to keep up to date, I’ll be posting video blogs at https://test.mattsmallman.com/marathon most weeks.

Once again thank you for your generosity and support.[/fusion_text][/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Marathon Challenge – Week 7

Marathon Challenge – Week 6

Marathon Challenge – Week 4

Marathon Challenge – Week 3

Three weeks ago today I received an email asking if I wanted a place in the London Marathon that Help the Hospices would loose if not filled in 24hrs. There were two main problems with this proposition:

  1. I had only run about 4 miles since the start of 2013 and would need to bank around 250 miles in the next 12 weeks (which is as far as I ran in the whole of 2012) to stand any chance of finishing.
  2. I needed to commit to raise £2500 to secure and justify my place.

I obviously said yes, and now that my training is on track I need your help with the fundraising.

I’m going to try a couple of tactics you get your support. You can donate because you want to give me the motivation to complete, because you enjoy watching me humiliate myself in my video diary or because you understand the importance of the hospice movement. I don’t really mind which but please give what you can.

The Personal Appeal

As you may know I used to live a slightly less sedentary existence, running most days and had dreams of running the London Marathon and getting a good time. I even got a place on a couple of occasions but unfortunately HM Government had different plans for my time. Since leaving the Army though, I became a bit of a fat knacker, enjoyed my food a little too much and ignored my fitness and therefore these dreams were mostly forgotten. On occasions I would submit a ballot form or think about it but accidentally miss the deadline. This time last year I decided to do something about it and hauled myself round a two mile circuit in a time I daren’t print but have been working hard since then completing two half marathons raising £1700 for Medical Detection Dogs. Don’t take this to mean that I am not slightly afraid or scared of the task ahead because I really do need your support to get me to the finish line.

The Humiliating Videos

This started out as a bit of a gimmick but already has a bit of a cult following, so I will film a new video every week and post to my site www.mattsmallman.com/. If you donate, you will get a special thank you video and some special updates before, during and after the big day. Here’s this weeks video from the Isle of Dogs:

The Good Cause

Help the Hospices represents the many hospices around the UK on the national stage; lobbying for funding and recognition, as well as providing training, support and education. If you don’t already know hospices provide truly holistic care to patients who are nearing the end of their life, often after continued treatment for terminal illness has been judged futile or counter productive. They provide an environment that recognises the emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and their loved ones, as well as the purely functional. At both of the two most difficult times of my life, two different hospices have helped me and the ones I love to come to terms with the reality of the situation, to let them really live the last few days of their lives and to say goodbye in a dignified manner. They are certainly not most the glamorous part of the health service or the sexiest of charities but unfortunately death is inevitable and if those you love go before their time then they provide a dignified and respectful setting in which to do so. It takes 400 million pounds per year, more than 1 million pounds a day, to keep the UK’s hospices going, so every pound you can give is needed.

Please give whatever you can, whether to see me humiliate myself on the internet, to support the hospice movement, to encourage me to get round the course, or a combination of all three. Don’t forget that Barclays will match your donation and that you can increase it even further by opting to use gift aid.

You can keep track of my fundraising, training and race progress at www.mattsmallman.com/marathon.

Marathon Challenge – Week 2

Marathon Challenge – Week 1

With only 12 weeks to prepare and less than 10 training miles banked in 2013 I was asked if I wanted to take up a reserve place for London Marathon in aid of Help the Hospices after another of their runners had to drop out. To be successful I need to log almost 250 miles of training, raise £2500 pounds in sponsorship and obviously complete my first ever marathon in a target time of 3h45m.
Fortunately Barclays will match every pound you donate up to £750 and justgiving.com will automatically claim gift aid back if you are a taxpayer so hitting my fundraising target should be a lot easier than my training target which unfortunately I have to do all myself.

Help the Hospices

Hospices are fantastic organisations, usually locally run, that look after the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of terminally ill patients as well as their friends and families from the point where further treatment would be meaningless.

Both my father and father-in-law spent were able to really live the last few days of their lives in two different but both fantastic institutions. The contrast and effect of moving from a purely functional hospital ward to a loving and caring environment at this very difficult time can never be underestimated. UK Hospices collectively need to raise more than a million pounds a day almost £400 million pounds a year to maintain the services they offer to patients and their families.

About Me

I’ve always loved running and used ran a lot but over the last decade the pressures or work, family, commuting and general lethaegy prevented me from doing very much at all. That was until last January when I decided it was time to make a change. Over the course of 2012 I worked from a standing (should probably read crawling start) where I could barely go 2 miles without walking to completing 2 half marathons (both in under 2 hours) and raising over £1700 for charity.

Completing the London Marathon was always a dream of mine and even though I was successful in winning places in the ballot many years ago I wasn’t able to participate as a result of work commitments (‘Global War on Terror’). I was only ever going to run for this charity as a result of the significant impact hospices had on my family and I at a very difficult time and this will probably be the only marathon I run (Half Marathon’s are far less demanding on training time).

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