Emma came to me initially in 2006 as she had run a couple of marathons and ‘blown up’ and had finished well below her potential. I wrote her training programme and actually ran with her on the day. She was quicker than me but my job was to slow her down as her competitive nature got the better of her and she tended to go off a bit too quickly. Having previously never run quicker than 3.20, with sensible pacing she managed to run 3.06 that year and was strong throughout the race. Emma went on to be an elite duathlete for a while. She had run the marathon again and progressed to 3.01 but wanted to break the magic 3.00 hour barrier.
She contacted me again some years later having had a baby and another failed attempt at a ‘sub 3’ marathon. She then fell pregnant again and we put things on hold. Just 9 months after giving birth she was back and we worked together, aiming for the Boston UK marathon. In a last-minute change (which I wouldn’t generally encourage) she opted to run the inaugural Peterborough marathon in 2018.
With a clear strategy and some great training behind her, (although she had a knee niggle towards the end which was a worry for a while), she set off on her ‘sub 3’ attempt. She ran superbly and along with a very supportive pacemaker, managed to run consistently well on a slightly undulating course. She finished in a fabulous 2.57, winning the race into the bargain.
The end result was fantastic in itself but if you add the fact that she was 44 years old at the time and had only given birth the previous Summer, it makes the whole achievement exceptional and even more special.