Ever wondered what drives a bunch of guys to run from Stanmore to Marble Arch? How do you even go about training for a 17 km run and what is left to accomplish when you have conquered a stretch of road built by the Romans? Here we speak to 9 runners about their experience of running from Zone 5 to Zone 1.
Q: Why did you decide to run from Stanmore to Marble Arch?
Ali Momin: As a runner I constantly need new challenges to keep myself motivated. Most naturally that comes in the form of distance or time but occasionally it is something completely left-field – in this case – between two iconic places. Stanmore, the home of our centre and Marble Arch, the gateway to central London.
Ariff Sidik: For me, these kinds of runs are all about the social aspect. When I heard this was less of a race and more of a day out, I was signed up. We had good numbers, a challenging but manageable distance, and more importantly, the opportunity to give our runners a taste of the longer distances.
Q: How did you train for this run?
Kayam Moosa: To prepare myself for the run my training included:
- Putting in enough weekly mileage to get my body accustomed to running for long periods of time and then gradually increasing the distance of my runs.
- Once I was comfortable running a specific distance, I tried to improve my pace and that allowed me to finish the runs at a better pace than my previous efforts.
- One thing that the new runners neglect are the rest days and that’s as important as your run days! After running a long distance, I made sure I had enough time for my body to recover before I did my next run.
Irfanali Shivji: Apart from all the logistics and organisation that was essential to the success of the event, training was an integral part of the run and I definitely needed expert advice. The SJ running committee provided this expertise and gave me a personalised training plan. I followed the plan to the tee and this gave me the confidence to complete the required distance. This was my longest run and to achieve this I was prescribed running twice a week; a long run on the weekends and a shorter run during the week, gradually building up the distance till 2 weeks before the event day. The training plan was followed up by a feedback session, where Ali Momin checked to see how we were getting along and if the personalised plan required tweaking. All in all, the training was vital and the bespoke approach was truly appreciated.
Q: What was your experience of the run?
Sajjad Kassamali: I really enjoyed the run, especially the social aspect of running in a group of four, with like-minded individuals. I also liked the distance; it was long enough to be challenging but yet still enjoyable. Overall, I would highly recommend joining future SJ runs. It was fun and well organised. I look forward to doing more in the future
Mustafa Muraj: I was a little reluctant when I signed up for this run. I wasn’t quite sure if I’d have enough time to train myself to do that distance. With some very good advice by Ali & Ariff, I was charged up. The second lockdown in November really helped me and gave me some free time to train gradually. For me, the experience of this run was one to remember for a very long time. The highlight of it was that it was not a solo run, but a group run. In fact, it was an SJ Run. I felt very relaxed and just made sure I enjoyed the day, made even better by the falafel & the shawarma at the end.
Q: What is your future running plan now you have completed this distance?
Irfan Moosa: Now that I have completed this distance successfully my plans are to keep up running at this distance whilst improving my pace and gradually increase the distance I can cover. I was slightly sceptical when signing up for this run however the entire experience during and after the run was phenomenal and I got to know people that I didn’t know very well before. The ecstatic feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day has without doubt tempted me to take to take part in future longer distance runs.
Mohammad Mahdi Karim: The Stanmore to Marble Arch run was incredibly enjoyable, motivating and relaxing too. One thing that it taught me was the value that running with others can have. It was incredible to see us reach Edgware Road in what felt like no time from Stanmore, courtesy of the great conversations I had. In the future I will look to vary up my weekly running schedule incorporating some group runs alongside the faster and personal best seeking runs. My aim over the next few months is to be running better than the government!
Ammar Farishta: To be honest, I would have never imagined that a year after completing my first 5k, I’d go on to complete a 10-mile run. My ambition would be to now complete a half marathon next year with the eventual aim of completing a marathon at some point in the future. These running ambitions were only made possible thanks to the support of everyone involved at SJ Running!