I’m still soaking in the emotions of completing the London Marathon 2024 on behalf of Look.
It has been an incredible experience throughout. I signed up to run the marathon over a year before the 21st of April 2024, so I had plenty of time to get used to the idea.

How my journey began

I had always harboured a wish to run the London Marathon and during the February 2023 mentor training weekend a discussion with new mentor Dan led me to say yes to running the 2024 London Marathon. At the time I thought Dan would be training and running too…. sorry Dan, I’m calling you out here and I’m definitely holding you to account to run in a future year!

The Training Schedule

Training began pretty much as soon as I got home. I was running regularly but without a clear system. Fast forward to autumn 2023 and I committed to a specific training regime and things got more intense.

I was gearing up for longer runs each weekend and thanks to my amazing mum I got a great pair of trainers. Marathon sponsor requests were flying out to friends and family, again I need to pay tribute to my superhero mum. She would be an ideal professional fundraiser. She broadcast my news to everyone she spoke with over the coming months and has been instrumental in the fundraising target being achieved.

My family needs a special thank you as well. They have been so supportive of the long weekend training regime, even in the cold, dark and wet months of winter. They have encouraged me on mornings I would rather have hidden under the duvet and never questioned the hours I took out of our family time to be running.

I knew I wasn’t a speedy runner, I was anticipating at least 5 hours to get the marathon done and was spending 4 hours or more at weekends on long runs and stretching. My children and wonderful husband never resented this and also made lovely food for me. Thank you!

I need to thank my amazing team at Look, they knew I was finding it hard to fit in my shorter mid-week runs around work. I altered my schedule so I did admin early in the morning, a run after school drop off and then cracked on with my work day.

Thank you to my team for helping me find these solutions and encouraging me along the way. It makes it so much easier when it’s a team effort.

Video of Ruth running in her LOOK vest waving and cheering as she goes past.

Race Day

I was a jumble of excitement, exhilaration and nerves as the big day grew closer. I was fairly distracted the night before the race thanks to staying with my old school friend and having a lovely evening catching up together. I forced down a bowl of porridge at around 6 am and nervously stretched and bounced about until it was time to leave for the station.

The travel, the wait for the race – all were filled with huge crowds of people and I felt peculiar. I was excited but so very nervous. I knew I could run the time and distance required, but it was a really daunting prospect.

And finally, we were off….

The noise and the feeling of being out there running through London and getting underway was incredible. I read the backs of people’s vests who were running for lost loved ones, I saw the banners encouraging us all forward and could hear the noise of music and shouts of ‘go on Ruth, you’ve got this’. I was not prepared for how much I would want to cry. Crying when you’re running is difficult.

I tried to break the run down mentally into each mile, concentrating on how each one felt, being observant of what was around me and trying not to think of the miles ahead. Largely this tactic worked really well. The observations were really contrasting to Herefordshire ‘Look at the mistletoe in those trees and the birds flocking to it’, compared to ‘look at this street filled with people lining the pavement with music playing and signs of encouragement.’ Yet the process was the same and it helped.

Getting to Cutty Sark, yes – I was on track with my anticipated time. This is amazing, the atmosphere, the surroundings, the music.

Approaching Tower Bridge, still on track time-wise. There is the LOOK banner. I veer hard to my right and my body slams a metal barrier holding back a huge crowd. I find Elin and have the best hug imaginable. I scream ‘Where’s my mum?’. I keep running, thinking this crowd is nuts!

My family cheer point is on the left-hand side of this area, I look and see red hair and a loud shout of “Ruth”, there is my nephew, I run to the left and hug them all – I keep running.

I know I will see the runners who have completed the long loop around Docklands and Canary Wharf on their approach to Westminster as I begin my loop East. I still have a long way to go – I keep trying to focus on the mile I am currently running.

My pace time is starting to reduce and I’m slowing down, I keep telling myself I need to let this worry go and just keep running. My mantra was “You are not allowed to walk Ruth”. I have to block out the inner critic who is saying, you ran 20 miles in training faster than this Ruth. Enjoy this, this is the marathon!

I keep going, the crowd is great!

My fellow runners make me laugh and always give me something to look at. A man running only in South African flag speedos, a man wearing a giant Brain, a man running pushing a huge wheelchair, a man running in army fatigues and boots carrying a kit bag, a lady running in a sari, there is a deaf-blind runner using a tether to her guide runner. Wow, there is so much to take in.

The music really helps, from blasts of reggae to brass bands, samba bands to YMCA, it all energises me onwards.

I am through the ‘Canary Wharf – weird loop’ finally and back towards the river. I am at mile 24, there is my family again. This is amazing. I hug them all and apologise for my reduced pace. Eat a jelly baby, why did I go for the orange one? I keep going.

I don’t really appreciate the London scenes around me now. I am aware I can see Westminster, the London Eye, the Mall, and Buckingham Palace but it’s a blur, I am just thinking, keep going Ruth, you’re nearly there. And suddenly I am. I have done it. I have run the marathon. Mainly alone but never by myself.

What an experience. I am still drinking in this feeling and I urge anyone wondering about whether to do it to DO IT. It is incredible. The crowds, the noise, the camaraderie and the achievement. Do it!

We are currently recruiting London Marathon runners for the 2025 LOOK team! If Ruth’s story has inspired you then get in touch today and secure your place at the London Marathon 2025.