Lee Cornwell is a regular face at Rushmere Community Runners.
Lee recently completed a marathon in Spain, here he shares his experience of both training for and running in the Valencia Marathon.
He has been running about three years and is a qualified Leader in Running Fitness.
Lee fell in love with Valencia when he visited there with his wife Allie for their tenth Wedding Anniversary, so when he heard that they were organising a marathon there he really wanted to run in this beautiful place. Not ready to run 26.2 miles in 2017, Lee set his target on 2018 and booked his place.
Lee knew that training would be tough, however friend, and running coach Lisa Bond help him with a training plan and gave me belief and self confidence that this was a challenge that he could not only complete, but to do well.
Training runs went very well. And, with the help of good friend of, Michael Sheldrake, the longer training runs were easier to deal with. “Don’t be fooled into thinking its not easy, because its not.” Says Lee, “I had one of my longest runs to do and only covered 15 miles. My legs and head just couldn’t do the distance, not that day. I needed a rest, simple.”
Lee also says that he owe a lot to Physio therapist John Reynolds who played a key part to helping with his mindset as well as sorting out an injury to his ankle/foot. And, of cause the continued support of Allie.
Race day arrived and Lee, was understandably nervous, but couldn’t wait to get to the start line. “I’ve been told being nervous before a race is good. Still can’t get my head round that but I’m trying!” continues Lee, “Once I was there I started to relax a little knowing a walk to the start line was next and then it was time for me to focus on what lay ahead.”
Lee’s plan and aim was to just finish, first and fall most and nothing short of that. “I had a target time of a four hours, ten minutes finish time. I knew this was a tough target but if all goes to plan it’s a target I was capable of doing.”
At the Start line Lee found himself about 150 yards behind the 4hr 15 min pacer and decided he was going to stick with this pacer runner throughout the marathon. “Yes, it was five minutes slower than my target but I was listening to the advice I was given when training and at this moment it made perfect sense why to me.”
“Miles one to 15 went perfect. I felt good and happy with how everything was going apart from one thing… The heat! It was now getting very warm and with a lot of long straight roads with not a lot of shade ahead I could feel something might need to change. Fluids and shade, and I would’ve been happy but it just started to feel as though I needed to take on more liquids. The water stations where great but taking on enough or too much is a very fine line.
“At this point I knew I was on for a PB, but how good a PB would depend on the heat and my determination”
Lee really enjoyed the experience of Valencia, from having the perfect training runs back home in Ipswich, to the atmosphere of race day and hearing strangers calling your name and cheering you all the way round the course. “ And, the pure adrenaline at the start line and crossing the finish. Seeing your loved ones at the finish line, that for me was a real highs!
“Crossing that finish line was a mass of emotions. Relief, euphoria, pure and exhaustion, and, thank god I’ve finished. Each race be it a 5k to a marathon or ultra, they all mean different things to each of us for whatever that maybe.”
Lee loved running in Valencia and says that it was worth all of the hard work and months of training. “Realising the mammoth task ahead, once it sinks in, that you have a marathon to train for. Wet, cold, windy runs when all you want to do is chill indoors. Injury… the beast of them all. The maker or breaker of your dreams. It doesn’t matter how hard you train and how careful you can be an injury can happen. We all know that.”
All runners have a favourite piece of kit and for Lee it’s his On trainers. “I’m now wearing my third pair and they are my choice of footwear.” Says Lee, “I’v tried others but when it comes down to training and the amount time spent on your feet you need to get it right. I know they will do the distance, they have proved that but it took for me to hit nearly 550 miles in my first pair before I knew it was time for new ones. Stick to what serves you best and for that’s my On cloudflow.”
Lee is an ON ambassador for RCR. “ Being chosen to represent the brand is a massive honour, and I’m truly humbled to be picked along side a very good running friend Sarah Hodge.
“Surprised as well to be chosen because RCR has so many brilliant runners anybody would be worthy of the opportunity.
“Well, I’m lucky enough to be wearing On cloudflow and I also have an On running vest with the RCR logo front and rear which I wore for the first time for Valencia marathon which I’m very proud of.
“Being asked to wear On products has a responsibility and we are there also to help others with information and guidance if they might choose to buy On.
Lee encourages everybody to follow their dreams and try running and events however her does have some words of wisdom. “Do not jump in.
“It’s easy to get carried away with the race entries. We have all done it and once you start to get a nice collection of medals, T-shirts and race numbers it can become addictive.
“Training is key along with good sound advise from a coach that has a good number of years experience and likewise other experienced runners.
“Get a plan that is tailored to you, you stand a better chance of success. Listen to your body, this is a must! Rest, if you need it then take it.”
And for me a good physio therapist is key. Sports massages do wonders for tired muscles and the brain. Injury rehab and recovery these guys know their stuff so take note.
But once you know your ready and on that start line ENJOY