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Tale of the taper

With the hard yards behind them, our BMC men reflect on the marathon task at hand


Name: Stephen Ingledew

Age: 54

Job: Financial services executive

Location: Edinburgh

Marathon: London

Twitter: @IngledewStephen

In theory, the final weeks before marathon should be a blissful winding down of body and mind; with the preparation taken care of, you refresh your legs and hone a race-day strategy. In reality, as our Big Marathon Challenge hopefuls have found, a taper rarely runs smooth. Injury scares, life schedules and last-minute panics can leave even the most experienced runners feeling woefully underprepared. As the big day draws ever nearer, then, the real challenge for our four gents is not in the training, but in keeping their cool.

The Reading half was my first ever running race 10 years ago, so for sentimental reasons and as a test of my pace I had targeted this event as a key one to achieve a PB. This is a big race with 15,000 runners, but it’s really well organised and in my view one of the best in the country. Despite flying down from Edinburgh that morning I managed a PB of 1:28, which I was over the moon with – knocking over 30 seconds off a previous half marathon best from two years ago. If I can maintain this type of pace for London then the sub three-hour target is possible – that will still take some doing though!

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About Men's Running

By the time you read this, the spring race season will be well and truly underway and those of you who have trained for a specific event will hopefully have seen the fruits of your labours in PBs and long-held goals achieved. Once you’ve completed a big event it’s understandable to want to take a few days off before running again. But sometimes those days can become weeks, the weeks months, and before you know it you’re no longer on talking terms with your trainers. To stop that from happening, we take a look at the opportunities open to runners who find themselves with all the fitness but not the focus. One obvious path is to take your running abroad. As any seasoned traveller will tell you, the best way to explore a location is by foot and that certainly proved to be the case for our writer, Simon, who decided to combine his passion for running with a life-long ambition to visit Cuba (page 34). If you fancy something closer to home you can utilise the very powerful bit of tech on your wrist to create some new training goals (page 48), or follow our expert advice on how to make the move from tarmac to trail (page 23). Or, if you’re already au fait with off-road, why not take a leaf out of Kilian Jornet’s book and run up Mount Everest (page 54)? For more inspiration on what to do with your current peak condition head over to and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.