Posted: 04 May 2016

The London Marathon and Me: 'quite overwhelming at the end'

Hannah Schejbal works in London as The Children’s Society’s Student Fundraising Coordinator. As someone who motivates students into performing amazing feats in fundraising, it’s only appropriate she donned her running shoes to take part in the one and only London Marathon…

On Sunday, I took on the challenge to run 26.2 miles for The Children’s Society and somehow I actually managed to complete it! For anyone who has known me, they will know that I am one of the least likely people to do something like this, namely because it involves running. But rewind a year and I will tell you how I got involved.

London Marathon

Taking a punt

In May 2015, while I was procrastinating writing my dissertation at university, several friends messaged me and posted on social media about how they had entered the London Marathon ballot. Slightly delirious, 10,000 words deep into writing, I decided to take a punt on putting my name in the pot. Fast forward to October, and I received my ‘You’re in! Marathon newsletter’ - I was appalled.

Initially my first reaction was to reject it. I had entered on a whim; I didn’t actually want to run the London Marathon. But after telling my friends and family I was told in no uncertain terms, getting into the London Marathon via the ballot is like gold dust and it would be such a waste to miss it. So reluctantly I paid my registration fee and began to think about training for the London Marathon 2016.

Commitment to the cause

One of the things that I think a lot of people underestimate about taking on something like a marathon is the time commitment. I know I certainly did. On top of that I was coming from a background of genuinely never having done any running before and I don’t think I really knew what I was getting myself in for.

When I went out on one of my first runs, I went for a lunch time jog with my friend Dave around the local area near work. As he will tell you, during that 5km run I had to ask him to stop and walk with me about three times, and I got so flustered on my way back from the run I even fell over and grazed my knee and arm!


However we soon formed a mini ‘Friday lunch time running club’ and it was really nice to have colleagues to go out running with. That is the thing about running, I get quite bored when I am on my own, but having friends or colleagues or even a running group to join made all the difference for me and I think it can really help motivate anyone interested in giving it a go.

From December onwards I then had to think about trying to get in two to four runs per week and trying to find a training plan to fit in around work. It wasn’t always easy and there were definitely days when I skipped off running when I probably shouldn’t have. But I can certainly say that running a marathon is no easy feat, and I 100% would not have been able to complete it without following a clear training program.

Butterflies on the day 

The London Marathon came around so quickly and I can’t tell you how nervous I was. I slept so badly the night before and my boyfriend and I (who also ran the Marathon for The Children’s Society) sat attempting to eat our breakfast with difficulty.

 Hannah and her boyfriend, Hannah with her London Marathon Medal

However once I got going on the course I can honestly say the experience was like nothing I have ever gone through before. The sun was shining, the crowds were out and for the most part everyone seemed to be happy to be there.

The atmosphere was electric and the cheers, yells and buzz from the spectators were absolutely amazing at keeping me going. It was so great to see so many friendly faces around the course. My family were out cheering, as were friends who worked at other charities and one of the biggest boosts was The Children's Society staff.

Both at the cheer point and afterwards at Church House for the post-race reception it was really nice to have the warm reception of my friends and colleagues. As those that were there will tell you, it only took me walking into Church House to burst into tears.

The experience was amazing, but it was also incredibly challenging and emotional and I actually found it quite overwhelming at the end. I am a bit stiff today and struggling with stairs still, but I will always remember running the London Marathon for The Children’s Society and would definitely recommend anyone interested to challenge themselves and take it on.

The ballot opened this week, so why not give it a go, and run for The Children’s Society? If you don’t get a spot you can also apply to join our team. I promise you won’t regret it in the end!


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Virgin Money London Marathon

Posted: 6 December 2010