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Long-distance running can be painful emotionally as well as physically, as Britain’s fourth fastest female runner Charlotte Purdue recently found out when she was overlooked for selection for the Tokyo Olympic Games on controversial medical grounds. This was due to an injury which meant she was unable to participate in the British Athletics Olympic Marathon Trials in Kew Gardens in March. At the time, Purdue said to the BBC that she felt like she’d “been thrown under a bus” with not being selected. "Missing the Olympics was hard to take because it was such a big goal of mine," said Purdue.

This is why Charlotte’s more determined than ever to smash this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon Link opens in a new window. Charlotte said to our friends over at London Marathon: “I have to move on and focus on something else big and exciting which for me is this year’s London Marathon,” she says. “I always want to run 100% the best I can in any race and I would always want to run well at the London Marathon, but deep down there is a little bit of extra motivation to run really well this year.” We’re all rooting for you, Charlotte.

Charlotte has been competing for over 12 years and won the British Championships title at the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon, running an unbelievable personal best of 2:25:38. Here’s her best running advice.

What motivated you to start running long distance?

I’ve loved to run long distances since I was growing up. The longer the race, the better I seemed to per-form! So, it came naturally to me really.

What is the best piece of running advice you've ever received?

To enjoy it and have fun. I try to enjoy races as they are the fun part of running. I love the feeling after crossing the finish line of a marathon. All the hard work is worth it for that feeling.

What would be your top tips for preparing for a marathon, both mentally and physically?

Make sure you start training with enough time to realistically build up. That way you can start slowly and build up your mileage as the weeks progress. Mentally and physically, that’s the best way to prepare your body and mind. No rushing and no stress! Also, wait until you’ve completed the training when setting marathon goals. The training will give you an idea of what shape you are in. Set realistic goals but also don’t set limits upon yourself. If you do the work, you’ll be rewarded on race day.

Charlotte Purdue running

What is your top tip for someone making their Marathon debut this year?

Run your own race and stick to your own race plan. Try to not get too carried away in the first half. Stay relaxed and then push on in the last six miles if you have anything left. Oh, and enjoy!

How do you keep motivated to achieve your own running goals?

I am motivated by races mostly. I set myself a target for each race and work towards that in the training leading into the race. This keeps me motivated every day.

How did you manage to keep motivated during lockdown?

During lockdown life was pretty much the same for me. Run, sleep, eat! The lack of races was tough, but I set myself goals in training and did a few solo time trials. It’s also been great to see so many new runners during the pandemic.

Charlotte Purdue walking

Any advice for avoiding the dreaded running injuries that might halt training progress?

I have unfortunately had my fair share of injuries. It is part of the sport, but getting regular physio, sports massage and keeping an eye on your training volume is key. Also, listening to your body.

Your most memorable Virgin Money London Marathon moment?

London Marathon 2019 and winning the mini marathon. The thing I love about the London Marathon is the whole atmosphere starting with the build-up to the race. The crowds are insane, and the course is inspirational.

What's the thing you look forward to most after the Virgin Money London Marathon?

A few weeks of chill time! The training and race is so hard that I look forward to a few weeks of relaxing after. I usually plan a holiday.

Your dream post-Marathon dinner?

Biscoff spread straight from the jar or a bag of pick’n’mix - anything sweet!

Are you running this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon? Head over to the Virgin Money Facebook Link opens in a new window, Twitter Link opens in a new window and Instagram Link opens in a new window to keep up to date with all things Marathon related