Peter Thompson is taking on the biggest challenge of his life – running a massive 44 marathons in 44 days. With only a few weeks to go, he told us what he loves about running and how to keep a good life balance.
Being a runner has opened up lots of new opportunities
‘I’ve always dreamed of doing something that’s different and a bit out of my comfort zone. I read about a man who moved to Kenya and trained for six months and decided I wanted to do that too.
‘About four years ago, I packed in my job and went to live in Kenya for three months, training with a group of Kenyan runners. Kenyan runners are pretty quick so I mostly trained behind them!
‘I volunteered in a couple of schools while I was there too, so I got to experience a completely different culture. This was something I never would have done if it hadn’t been for running. It was one of the best things I ever did!
I love that there’s a real community around running
‘I’ve made friends through my running club, and the parkrun events bring people together from all walks of life. Some people walk round, some run, some bring their dog and their babies. Plus I get to wear fluorescent trainers, which is a bonus!’
Very quickly, you start to see amazing results
‘Exercise is addictive and with running you see improvements very quickly – you think you can always be better.
‘I’ve became fixated on being faster. In August 2015, I ran a marathon in Amsterdam in two hours and 25 minutes and was the 25th person to cross the line. That time was in the top 50 fastest times in the country. It was something I never thought I’d be able to do.
‘Although it was an amazing achievement, it was a double-edged sword. I began focusing all my attention on training, eating at the right time and couldn’t really relax until I’d done my runs. At that point, even if I had gone out and broken a world record, I wouldn’t have been satisfied – I’d still have been striving to do more. In the end, I wasn’t running because I enjoyed it but because I had to do it.
Beating your time is great, but you have to keep a balance in your life
‘There came a point when I realised the sacrifice I was making, and how detrimental that had become to the other parts of my life. I had to stop and take stock of my life.
‘I now run with a lot more with friends, which I never did before because I was so focused on the sessions I needed to do. I’ve taken off my GPS watch and my heart rate monitor – I just go out and run without thinking about my pace or the distance I’m covering.’