Harriet Scott is a radio presenter with BBC London 94.9 and used to present the Heart Breakfast Show. She tells Women’s Running why she signed up for arguably the biggest race of the year when she hated her last one…
I’ve made a commitment to run the Virgin Money London Marathon next year. It will be my first marathon and I’m a little in awe of the prospect, to say the least.
I have done a half marathon around Greenwich. I didn’t enjoy that. In fact I hated every step of the way. People told me I’d feel amazing when I crossed the finish line. I didn’t. I just wanted to go home. Via the pub.
At the time I was on Heart Breakfast and was the ambassador for this particular run (whatever that means) and we were promised music throughout the route. Being one of those runners who always needs a good tune blasting in my ears, I tried to wean myself off relying on it as I didn’t think it would look very ambassadorial if I spent the entire time enveloped by headphones as big as dinner plates.
I was actually looking forward to the different bands and DJs that would be playing en route and I was eager to see whether it would be the crowds that got me through, as so many people tell you. Unfortunately on race day we had neither crowds nor music. It was a brand new race so perhaps the locals hadn’t been informed. As to why the bands didn’t turn up I’ll never know. It also rained non-stop during my run. Plus there were hills that no one had mentioned. The only way I made it to the finish line was by spotting, and then soldering myself on to, the two hour marker guys. I figured I couldn’t afford to let this run go on any longer than absolutely necessary. I crossed the finish line in 01:57 which I was pretty pleased with. I also remember saying ‘never again’.
Heckled into taking part
But here we are, five years and two children later, and I’ve signed up for the Big One. I guess given my job it’s not surprising that my involvement in this race also has a radio connection. Back in April I was covering the London Marathon for BBC London 94.9 from the comfort of a pub by the Cutty Sark when a colleague of mine was talking to Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and BBC presenter Sophie Raworth at the start line. Live on air Ed Balls decides to cajole and heckle me in to taking part in next year’s marathon and Sophie joins in. In the ensuing banter, a voice I later recognise as my own, says I’ll do it.
So this is where you find me. Part of me can’t wait to get proficient at those ‘long Sunday runs’ (are they day specific, I wonder?), to get match fit, and to feel the invincibility of a really good run (and I do get it, I really do!).
There’s also a large part of me that’s terrified and can barely contain the questions: How does running for four hours and then some even feel? What on earth is going to keep my little legs going? Will I train enough? How will I find the time? Do I have to give up wine? What does a gel pack taste like? What am I going to do with my hair? And are runner’s trots what I think they are?
Want to be featured on our Inspiration pages? Email us at [email protected] or talk to us in the comment thread below – we will do our best to get back to you soon. Follow us on twitter via @womensrunninguk