I first ran the Leicester Marathon back in 2016, taking 2nd place. Whilst I was over the moon with my performance, I loved the route and was determined to return and claim gold one day! In 2017, I was busy sunning myself on my honeymoon and unable to race, but quickly signed up to the 2018 race to focus my training after the London Marathon.
The Leicester Marathon’s October date means it’s always been my preferred marathon. The London Marathon can sometimes be too hot – reaching a record breaking 27 degrees last time I crossed the line – but Leicester, you start in the chilled fogged and end in the beautiful sunshine.
Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case in 2018. It poured, and poured, and poured, and the prospect of painful blisters before I’d even crossed the midway point started to dawn.
Nevertheless, me and my fantastic club, Poplar Running Club, gathered in our club tent, and made light of the madness that was to come! My club is the reason I run, with the social aspect always keeping me going. I’ve had some wonderful times with the Pops and made friends for life over the years.
Despite our closeness, there was one thing I was keeping from my friends that day: I was 6 weeks pregnant! I had been training so hard for the marathon, and didn’t want news of the baby to change anything.
Despite the rain and the baby, I came in at 3 hours 4 minutes, winning first place. As I crossed the finish line, I sobbed into my husband’s arms – we were both quite emotional. He couldn’t believe I had not only made it round but actually won!
I will never forget that race; I loved every single mile. The open countryside and local support make it a truly special event. It remains my absolute favourite race. And it’s always topped off nicely with a visit to Mc Donalds on the way home!
If you are feeling inspired by Nicola’s story, then why not Run Leicester yourself? Click here to register now.