Emily Marchant 'The Run of My Life'

Emily Marchant 'The Run of My Life'

April 28, 2024

On Sunday 21st April 2024 65,725 people toed the start line of one of the most iconic races in the world, the TCS London Marathon. Out of this runners 28,276 of those runners were women , which in itself is absolutely phenomenal. But for us, even more so, is that the 7th women overall to cross that finish line on the day was our very own Emily Marchant. If you dont know Emily, she is one of the most dedicated and ambitious athletes you will meet. And if shes not lecturing or writing research papers in her day job, she is probably out on the Gower trails and roads, training! She is pretty good triathlete , with a number of incredible accolades to her name (3rd overall Ironman Wales 2023 and winner of age group). And with big sights to do well within age placement at the Ironman World Championships in Nice in September of this year. But it is no secret that Emily is an assassin when it comes to the run and she is know for hunting down or widening the gap for any competition on the run leg of any race. 

Emily has a passion for running and this is instantly apparent in her continued growth within the sport. This year she has high focus on the Ironman World Championships in Nice but also has some other big goals and a PB in London Marathon was one of them which has exceeded all expectation! Take a look at her fantastic write up below and the rest of her plans for the season and beyond! ....

After a training block of two halves, I was feeling more confident in the taper, prioritising sleep, nutrition and no super hero sessions, the hard work was done. My body flushed the lingering virus, resting HR was lower than ever and the Garmin training status as “peaking”. I felt fresh and ready.

 

Race day flew around, expo done (walked 10,000 less steps than last year😅). The time of my cycle was perfect, this was against me in 2023 (day 30 🤢). Some calculations the night before to build confidence, I’d ran 132K more from 1st Jan to race day this year, all of this feeding into a positive mindset.

 

Smooth travel to the champs start, 40 minute queue for the toilet (classic), no time for a warm up and before I knew it, I was crossing that start line - the race was on!

 

My target pace was 3:53/km, factoring in running long and a final kick for my goal time of sub 2:45. I planned go slightly ahead of target pace for the first 10K as it’s a fast start and slower second half. I settled really comfortably, surprised as I ticked off every Km at how good it felt. Went through the first 5K in 18:57, then 10K in 37:11. I barely felt out of breath but was trying not to get too excited, it can do downhill very quickly in a marathon. I told myself, run to feel, if you can gain a few seconds per K then do, bank the time for the second half.

 

I kept that rhythm from 10-20K and couldn’t believe how good I felt, I was feeling better and better as the Ks passed. This was the flow state running I thrive off. I felt like I was gliding through the streets of London, soaking up the crowds, all of a sudden I was over Tower Bridge (AMAZING) and passing through half in 1:21:04.

 

From 21-30K I was in my groove thinking this is the best I have EVER felt running, go with it, this is your day. Still, I was running sensibly, focussing on 1K at a time. Get to 30K and then assess the plan.

 

 



 

 

Through 30K, this is where the marathon begins. Ahead of pace, averaging 3:50/K banking valuable seconds and feeling strong. I always run to feel in races and don’t let a target pace hold me back. At this point, I start thinking of the distance left to run along Swansea Bay, “12K to go, the marina and back”.

 

31k down and I decided to kick on, nothing crazy, but I knew I could comfortably hold this pace so thought fuck it, lets go. I was running last year’s HM PB pace, ~3:45/k, looking at my watch WTF. As I kicked I started picking off runners, and I mean hundreds, all of this feeding into how good I was feeling. I was one of the only women surrounded by men and dropping them meant I was getting SO much support from the crowds, I literally felt famous 😂

 

The crazy thing is, I never hit a wall, my legs never went, I felt totally invincible. The last 10K flew by, I was on cloud 9. I felt strong, smooth, so happy. The energy of the crowds fuelling me even more and I couldn’t stop smiling, this was my day. I made sure to soak up the feeling, saying thanks to the crowds, bottling up every second of the experience. Everything had aligned and I felt incredible, in fact of the 14 marathons to date, it felt the easiest marathon I’d ever ran. 

 

I knew I was going to negative split for the first time in London, running a 1:19:24 second half, 46 seconds off last years HM PB, wtf. I tried to stick to the blue line but some inevitable weaving meant my watch buzzed a marathon distance at 2:40:14 (WHAT!!). I turned the final corner by Buckingham Palace, 400m to go, LFG.

 

My watch: 2:41:07, the feeling finishing and reading that was crazy, I was in total disbelief,  The biggest rush of emotion swept through my body and I burst in tears, never happened before 😂 It was overwhelming because in that moment, my goal posts changed. Before, breaking 2:45 felt a lifetime goal. Now, I feel there’s more, I have more to give. Do I want to break 2:40? Fuck yes I do! 

 

We all train hard to reach our goals, goals we never considered a few years ago. It’s important to take a step back, reflect on and celebrate what we’ve achieved. For now, I’m enjoying this. My first marathon in 2018 was a 3:28 and I never dreamed of even thinking of a sub 2:40. There will be more races, and of course I can’t wait to get stuck back into training and focus on the rest of the year, but I’m soaking this one up extra special with fire in the belly for the future. 

 

 




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