Two days after writing my last blog, I received an email from the Virgin London Marathon. I knew it was bad news as soon as I saw the notification. Everyone who gets a spot receives a letter, the rest of the unlucky applicants either receive a “we’re sorry” letter or an email. So the email left me in no doubt that it was a rejection.

I didn’t even get a proper letter

The email read, “Commiserations, your application to run in the 2018 Virgin Money London Marathon has been unsuccessful. A record number of 386,050 hopefuls applied to take part in next years event…” It continued on to suggest other ways I could still get a place but I already had my sights set on another race. A race in another country.

Unfortunately, that other country isn’t France. It’s Scotland.

All applicants who didn’t get a place in the London Marathon are guaranteed a spot in Edinburgh. This is a fact I’m not too sure is entirely true. If my maths is right, there will be approximately 346,050 unsuccessful runners who (apparently) are all welcome at the Edinburgh Marathon. Either this wont be the case or I’m really going to struggle to find a hotel room.

At the time of writing this, it’s Friday 6th and I’m currently sat on a cramped train, drinking a cup of watery instant coffee, listening to the couple in front of me trying to decide whether the station is pronounced “Houston” or “Ooston”. To settle the argument, it’s neither. I’ve been finding it hard as of late to get out running and having got in a total of 5 kilometres this week, has left me in a pretty bad mood.

The reason I’m sat on this rammed train to London is because I’m visiting Rachel for the first time since she moved down there and I think it would be rude not to celebrate with a couple of beers. Now, this was a long and hard decision I had to make, I’ve abstained for 36 days but the news of the craft ale pub down the road was enough to convince myself that I deserve a treat. And, like most workout plans, my proper training starts on Monday, so why not?

As of Monday morning I have a strict 33 week training plan, featuring 5 runs a week building up to 65km (40 miles) per week before tapering in preparation for the big day. This is the first time I’ve set myself this strict of a schedule so I’ll be interested to see if it works.


It’s now Sunday evening and to update the blog, I have consumed a few beers this weekend but I’m sticking to the vegan diet very strictly. Yesterday, we ate lunch at Wild Foods Cafe in Covent Garden where we had an array of vegan tapas-like dishes. For tea, we headed into Shoreditch in our attempts to find more vegan food and possibly a few cocktails. We succeeded. We came across Dinerama, by Street Feast which, we can safely say, was a success. We drank a lot and ate even more – still, all vegan (except a huge burger consumed by Rachel). 

Dinerama, Shoreditch

Sadly I’m returning home tomorrow, but this weekend has been great. A minor lapse in the non-drinking policy but I’ve not budged an inch on the new diet.

Anyway, the real graft starts next week. Expect an update about how well (or not) it’s going.

Benjamin Hackett, 8th October 2017

Marathon Decisions

I apologise for not posting my blog yesterday as per usual, but I was out celebrating my mother’s birthday.

For me, the 1st October also marked a month without alcohol and two weeks of eating a plant-based diet, so my family and I went out for a meal and to treat myself after doing so well these past weeks… I had a lime and soda and ate from the Vegan menu.

I mentioned last week that the diet was going well, I was feeling good and enjoying the new foods I was eating. I also mentioned that I was considering extending the trial period; this second week has confirmed my plans. I’m still feeling good and I think I’ll be staying vegan for the foreseeable future. The plan to upload recipes is a work in progress; I’m getting there.

My running on the other hand, has unfortunately taken a back seat this week. Having just started at university, I’m finding it hard to work out my new routine. When I did manage to get out however, I was feeling fresh. I managed to run 5km (fairly comfortably) at my goal 10km pace, so I’m feeling confident for that race.

In other news, today was the day the London Marathon Ballot entry places were released. People all over the country have been receiving letters either congratulating or commiserating. Some of those who didn’t gain a place, have also received an email.

I have received nothing.

If I’m being honest, I had completely forgotten about all of this. I was reminded when one of the charities I had registered interest in emailed to wish me luck. Since then I’ve been waiting by the door for the post and refreshing my emails all day.

I have come to the (realistic, not pessimistic) conclusion that I’m probably not going to get in, hence why I have started searching for other marathons to run. After checking Twitter, it appears that I may still get a letter this week, but I’m not banking on it.

I’ve decided therefore, to comprise a list of alternative marathons. The Blackpool Marathon, on the same day as London, would be a reasonable option. A flat course, great for PB’s. But, it is in Blackpool. (No offence).

Whilst traveling this summer, I jokingly picked up a leaflet for the Saint Tropez Marathon. After looking into it, it sounds better than the London Marathon and I’m almost hoping for the rejection letter (that’s a joke, I think). The race starts in Sainte-Maxime, and throughout the 26.2 miles travels through Grimaud, Cogolin, Gassin, Saint-Tropez, Ramatuelle, La Croix-Valmer and finishes in Cavalaire-sur-Mer. If you google a few of those places, it’s clear that it would be quite a pleasant run.

A photo from last years Saint Tropez Marathon, I bet there’s no vineyards in London.

Although Saint Tropez sounds good, I don’t think it’s the most financially-sound choice. There are loads of marathons to choose from: Liverpool, Windermere, Edinburgh, the list goes on. I’ll update you next week on my decisions but for now, my fingers are still crossed for London.

Benjamin Hackett, 2nd October 2017