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Five years ago, our cover star Gemma Hockett couldn’t run 5K. Here, her coach Colin Thomas reveals how she smashed her sub-three-hour marathon target at the ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon this year

Dreams are a powerful motivating force for marathon runners. And for most women, a sub-threehour marathon is the ultimate dream. Run that fast, and you can toe the line at London with the elite female runners; you’ll be in a select group of British women who can break that golden barrier.

But coach and physiologist Colin Thomas believes many more of us are capable of running this fast, with the right approach and – crucially – the right mindset. We asked him how he worked with our cover star Gemma Hockett (read her story from page 10) to help her on the final stages of her journey to a long-dreamed-of sub-threehour finish.


“When we first started talking, the thing that made me think Gemma could run a subthree marathon was that she really wanted it. It wasn’t just that she wanted to, but that she really really wanted to. And that’s the first thing you need. I believe that anybody can run sub three but they have to really really want to do it. I knew that she would do anything that I asked her to, as long as it would get her to that outcome. Most people just want to take the magic pill and be able to do anything but it doesn’t exist. Gemma was willing to work hard and do anything for her sub-three.”

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About Women’s Running

Get fit quick with the September issue of Women’s Running, on sale now! We’ll help you find focus in your running with our four-week plans for mini running goals, from smashing out a parkrun PB to shifting a few pounds to trying your first triathlon. Bit pushed for time thanks to the kids? Our busy mums’ training guide will show you how to squeeze in a few runs - and we’ve got the lowdown on the best running buggies you can buy, too. Find out how to run well for life with our expert guide to running skills, and be inspired to try for a sub-three-hour marathon - our cover star Gemma Hockett believes anyone can do it! Find all this plus the usual advice, inspiration and kit reviews for trail and road.