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A Marathon task for Will and Rachael

The finish of the London marathon


Away from their usual roles reading the news and sport on 5 live during the day, Will Perry and Rachael Hodges are preparing to run the London Marathon on Sunday April 22nd to raise money for charity. Here they explain why they're testing themselves to the limit, and in Will's case, twice in the space of a week.


By Will Perry: 

For some reason I thought it would be a good idea to run the London Marathon on April 22nd this year and then the first Greater Manchester Marathon just a week later.

Having not done one before, everyone I’ve met who has, says I’m as mad as a box of frogs. I don’t get out much as I’m sitting in the 5 live studio reading sports bulletins everyday, so it’s time to put my body to the ultimate test.  

There’s only so much watching Rocky and Chariots of Fire that you can do before you realise you have to get involved in the brutal training that goes with even thinking about completing 26.2 miles ahead of the mascots, people dressed as giant vegetables and nuns.

Obviously it’s essential to have the distance in your legs but like a lot of things, so much of it is in your head. I’ve mixed my training up with runs across the beach in Brazil, up mountains in Switzerland, by the lakes in the Lake District and back home in Manchester.

“Hitting the wall” is a pretty strange experience. It usually happens around 18-20 miles in. The best way I can describe it from my experience is like being inebriated inside a washing machine.

I tend to eat like a horse 365 days of the year anyway but after my 20 mile training runs I’ve put in the shift of a decent sized herd of buffalo.

There have been occasions when I’ve crawled through my door to demolish whatever is in the fridge in no particular order. Half way through polishing off a bunch of bananas I’m cooking pasta and poaching eggs while eyeing up the chocolate from Christmas.

Some people like to have music for the gruelling trip, but I prefer to listen to the world go by. However, I think for my second marathon in a week it will be four hours of Pete Tong in my ears.

I’m told pain is weakness leaving the body. I have never experienced pain like the agony that comes from stretching your iliotibial band by rubbing your thigh up and down on a rolling pin.

Yes it may look very strange to the neighbours but the experts say it’s the critical key to recovery. My life for five months has been carb-loading, electrolyte gels, blisters and protein shakes but all of these peculiar experiences make so much sense when you realise how important it is for the charity you’re running for.

I’m doing if for LOOK, a charity supporting children with visual impairment, and you can sponsor me via the usual routes.

You can find out how I get on by following me here.


Rachael Hodges competes in the marathon


By Rachael Hodges:

On 22nd April I will run the London Marathon for the third year in a row, and I have to ask myself why? My first year was awful, injury-plagued and I cried at the end. Not tears of joy, proper crying - because it was horrible.

So last year the marathon and I had some unfinished business. I ran what, for me, was my perfect race. Steady pace, smiling the whole way, euphoric as I crossed the finish line. Why on earth have I returned?

It is a question I have asked myself daily since I started training again in January. It’s a question I asked myself a hundred times on a 15 mile run that involved not one but two snow blizzards.

More importantly it is a question I’ve asked myself hourly since shin splints forced me to take four weeks out of my 16 week training plan.

The marathon is going to hurt. There’ll be no grinning over Tower Bridge this year, just grimacing. There is probably going to be a bit of walking and definitely some tears!

But it was whilst crossing Tower Bridge last year that I remembered why I do this. I felt a wave of pride for all these people who had spent months preparing, running on cold dark nights and were fighting their way around the 26.2 miles to do their bit for their chosen cause.

I’ve always run for the same charity, LOOK, which provides support to parents and carers of visually impaired children. It’s not one of the big, well-known, charities and relies on the funds raised through the marathon.

That is what I will think about at the start on Blackheath, then at every mile marker until I reach the wonderful sight of the finish gantry on the Mall.

That is why I’m doing it again. But to paraphrase the great and infinitely more athletic Sir Steve Redgrave - if anyone sees me go near a marathon entry form again, you have my permission to shoot me.

You can hear how Rachael and Will get on during 5 live's coverage of the London Marathon from 8.30am on Sunday 22nd April. John Inverdale leads the 5 Live team, alongside reporters Helen Skelton, George Riley, Sonja McLaughlin and our Athletics correspondent Mike Costello.

Will Perry and Rachael Hodges are broadcasters on 5 live.


  • Comment number 1.

    It is a shame that the London Marathon is in London for people based in the North West. Ahem. However, on a serious note, I wish Rachael and Will all the best, and hope that they manage to complete it without injury or tears. Is it a coincidence they are running for the same charity?

  • Comment number 2.

    This is about sport but a bit off topic.

    Could we have a view on the F1 BBC team going to Bahrein next week, from one dodgy human rights place to another, or is that why there hasn't been a post?

  • Comment number 3.

    Good to hear Sonja McLaughlan back on the Five Live London Marathon coverage after missing a couple of years.

    Good luck to both Rachael and Will.

  • Comment number 4.

    Every Tom, Dick and Harry gets the call to cover the marathon. Although I usually sponsor one friend or another when they do it, for me the best part is the elite run and after that all those costumes and so on leave me cold. I go to watch the elites, then go home.

  • Comment number 5.

    Will would it not have made sense to publish a plug post titled "your favourite 5live commentary" in light of recent events, could have been really intresting.

  • Comment number 6.

    I can appreciate the pain of those running the marathon having done a few myself, but spare a thought for John Reynolds of Radstock near Bath who on 1st may will start a run that would frieghten even the hardiest of distance runners. John is attempting to break the world record for running the furthest in a week. The current record is 408 miles but John is hoping to smash that and run 450 miles between the 1st and 7th May. John will be running a circuit of approx 72 miles a day for the first 6 days then finishing at Bath Abbey of the bank holiday monday. The circuit takes him from Radstock to bath then Bristol, then south to Wells, shepton mallet and back to Radstock.
    John is running in aid of Childrens Hospice South West and would welcome any support for his cuase. You can follow John's progress (and see schedule and route)on his website WWW.championrun.org.


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