Meet Marcus Brown, also known as Marathon Marcus. He has completed an impressive 16 marathons to date, and will be running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of Holiday Inn®.
- Hi Marcus, tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m a runner, taking part in anything from 5km to marathon distance. I’ve run 16 marathons, and my current goal is to earn the six World Marathon Majors medal this year. Away from running, I work in construction and am happily married with a beautiful daughter.
- Why did you start running? What was your motivation for it?
It started at university, a friend really got into running and had asked me a couple of times to run with him in different races. I was unfit, and had never ran properly outside of playing football but eventually I ran out of excuses and completed a 10km with him in 2006.
I wasn’t in good physical shape at the start and even though training was difficult, my motivation to start was not to lose face to my friend. This got me through.
- How did you find the first few training sessions? Did you run with your friend or on your own?
I found it really hard as I was unfit and a bit clueless about kit and training etc. I trained solo and followed a training guide provided by the race.
- Is it a benefit to run with other people?
Yes. It can be a source of encouragement and motivation. Similarly, I always learn something new when I run with more experienced runners. A nice chat as you run always helps.
- What was your first competitive distance race? How did you find it?
Ha Ha! Competitive is a bit strong. I took part in the 2006 London North Vs South Nike Run in Hyde Park. It was really tough and it was all new to me. I had to take a couple of walk breaks throughout, but I’m happy to say, I completed it. Crossing the line I felt a massive sense of achievement and that prompted me to sign up to another 10km afterwards.
- When did running become a passion?
For me, it was the moment I crossed the finish line of my first 10km. Despite all the hard training, the doubts in my mind and the race itself, the feeling of overcoming all the obstacles to earn the medal was a really special feeling thinking back to it.
- When did you run your first marathon? What made you sign up?
After 2006, I spent another couple of years running 10km and half marathons. Once I built up my confidence, I signed up to the 2008 Abingdon marathon. I wanted a new challenge that would stretch me and this was it. Afterwards, I was in a state of shock thinking about covering 26.2 miles double the distance I had ever done before.
- Do you remember the feeling when you finished? Did that inspire you to run more?
It was one of the hardest things I did at the time. There were a few walk breaks at the end as I didn’t truly understand nutrition and ‘hitting the wall’. I had serious doubts but I didn’t give up, and it wasn’t about running in the end, it was about not quitting. To go from massive lows in the race to the massive high of crossing the line and earning the marathon medal was an amazing feeling,
- In 2010 you decided to run four marathons in a year, how was that? What inspired you to do that?
In all honesty, it was a natural progression from the first few marathons. It was less about the completion time, but more about stretching my limits. The general recommendation is to do no more than 2 marathons a year, and I wanted to push that limit in my own mind to see what I could achieve.
- Why did you decide to stop running? What motivated you to start again?
Essentially, even though I had run a lot of races, I was still inexperienced. I didn’t work with a coach and followed generic programmes. I got injured and my times weren’t improving, so I lost my passion and drive. I needed some time away from running to come back stronger.
- What did you do differently when you returned to running?
To be honest, it was probably more my mindset. You can read a lot, but application is always harder to achieve. It’s probably not until recently where I started working with a coach that I’m beginning to see big gains. More specifically, he’s really helped me to understand training on a practical level.
- What motivates you to run now? Has this changed since you first started?
It’s an evolution for sure. First, it was about just competing, then once I knew I could do that, times became much more important.
Now, whilst times are important, it’s my secondary priority behind going out and doing my very best. By focusing solely on time you limit yourself to that level. Also, if you don’t achieve the time it can be difficult to accept. My priority now is to see how good I could be without limits, if I just give it my all.
Whilst you can be disappointed with a time, if you know you did your best you can have no regrets.
- Why are you running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon?
My first London marathon was in 2010, I ran it in 4:55:13. After a couple years out of running, I couldn’t believe my luck to get a ballot place in 2015. My primary goal was to better my time, which I did achieve with 4:11:56. Whilst I didn’t achieve my sub 4 goal, I went on to achieve this in my next marathon. As London is my home city, I want to achieve a sub 4-hour marathon for the 2018 race to show the progression from my first London marathon to now.