In April, Sussex Bed’s very own Matt Pickering will be running the London Marathon in aid of the National Autistic Society (NAS).
This will be the second time that Matt has run the marathon, after his debut in 2017. Strangely, considering what he’s lined up to do, after completing the route last time round, Matt vowed to never do it again!
‘Crossing the finish line, I just knew I was done with marathons and that I would stick to shorter distances. It takes so much out of you and takes so much preparation. Although once again when the ballot opened I duly entered. When I got the news that I had been accepted, a part of me was excited but another part of me thought, “what have I done!”
Why the National Autistic Society?
Autism is a cause close to Matt’s heart. ‘My youngest son was diagnosed with Autism when he was 3 years old (now 10) and therefore it is something I really care about. I decided that even though I had my own place it seemed silly to put in all that effort and sweat and for nobody to gain from it and so I signed on as a runner for NAS.’
Matt will be joined in his endeavor by his very good friend and fitness trainer, Chris Hawkes. The pair of them will be trying to raise as much as they possibly can, with hope of topping £2000.
This worthy cause is actually much more common than many people think. There are roughly 700,000 people on the autism spectrum in the UK – that's more than 1 in 100. And, if you include their families, autism is a reality of daily life for 2.8 million people. But although autism cannot be cured, the right support, which is helped by the money that people raise and donate, can make a huge difference to people’s lives.
The Best Thing About Running a Marathon?
Aside from raising much needed money for NAS, for Matt one of the best things about running the marathon is the atmosphere.
‘The support at London is phenomenal! Pretty much all the way round there are spectators cheering you on! And if you have your name on your running top then they will call to you personally! The enthusiasm of your fellow runners is also infectious, everyone is so nervous but excited and by the time you cross the start line everyone is eager to get round.’
And the Worst Part...
Although you might think it would be the pain of getting round, the blisters or the inability to walk properly for a week afterwards, for Matt, the worst part of running a marathon is actually what happens beforehand.
‘The amount of training you have to do is extensive. I run three times a week and do circuit training twice a week. I currently do two shorter runs in the week before work and then a longer run on a Sunday morning. Towards the end I will be doing 20 mile training runs which take about three hours to complete! It’s time consuming and exhausting.’
Hopes For The Marathon?
Last time around Matt finished in four hours eleven minutes, just a little bit over his four hour target.
‘My aim, as it was last time, is to get under that elusive four hours. Fingers crossed this time I manage it.’