Alex Stewart smallAlex Stewart
Fundraising Events and Media Officer
TIME: 2 hours, 19 minutes, 2 seconds

“If I can do it in 40 days with very little background, so can anyone.”

How did you feel after the race?

“It was definitely a challenge. I had only given myself six weeks to get from couch to half marathon, but it was definitely easier than everyone makes it out to be! The adrenaline takes you through the first 10km easily, but the second half is a lot more taxing, both mentally and physically. Between the ninth and twelfth mile I found myself stopping and starting as I battled my own pessimism – but I made it! The elation you feel crossing the finish line evaporates any of the ill-feelings you have on the course.  For the last few hundred metres I had a huge grin on my face, as I ran faster than I had for the entire race. Having said that I’ve been walking around the office like a slow cowboy but I’m finding solace in wearing a medal over my work clothes for once.!”

Why did you decide to do the half marathon?

I decided to do the Vitality Half because I thought it would carry me forward into the decade. As part of my job, I’m trying to get more people to run marathons, so I thought why not? I can’t manage races for the Royal Hospital without doing it myself.

The reactions I’ve had range from incredulity through terror! When I told my girlfriend she said, “I want to be supportive but … oh Jesus!” I haven’t put it on Facebook yet. I will go for the shock factor nearer the time. Hopefully by the time it happens, people will accept it and donate in my name.

Have you done anything similar before?

Never. My sporting career started and ended 15 years ago. I remember running and people thinking there was an earthquake, so I stopped for the safety of the community. I started swimming competitively and got a medal for participating – I came 7th out of 10 – and decided that was the pinnacle. Then, when I was about 18, I decided to get fitter by taking up running. I was doing some stretches and managed to hit a brick wall and break my toe. Six weeks into my regime I was two months behind!

How have you been preparing?

In terms of diet, I’ve had the nutritional base of a marathon runner for 16 years and have perfected the art of carb loading. I just did my lunchtime training regime and celebrated with half a pizza! 

I started running about six weeks before the marathon – a biblical 40 days until my first actual run on concrete. My regime includes jumping jacks and when I get tired, I try to pull myself along with my arms.  I have an on-off relationship with the gym, there’s a basis there but I felt I needed a really unrealistic (for me) challenge to mark hitting 25 and the year 2020. I wanted to overcome my ignorance – my own overcoming adversity challenge! 

“My goal is to finish before the cleaning staff arrive”

What are your hopes and goals?

My goal is to finish before the cleaning staff come! I want to prove you can run a half marathon without changing anything. If I can do it in 40 days with very little background, so can anyone else.

I want to raise as much money as possible. Time is not on my side so I’m taking a targeted approach.

What are you looking forward to least – and most?

I haven’t really thought too much about the event in advance but am cautiously optimistic. Optimism is both my worst and my best quality.

There's still time to support Alex's efforts, visit his Sponsorship Page.

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