Aaron Maynard is one of the many taking on the London Marathon on Sunday. Here is his story leading up to the big day!
Firstly, have you always been a runner?
I always enjoyed cross country and athletic events as a youngster, however I was always obsessed with football, so I dedicated most of my free time to that. I did take part in a few organised runs outside of school and enjoyed the buzz of crossing the finish line. In 2011 I took part in the Jersey half marathon and absolutely loved the personal challenge it provided, I then started to run one half marathon each year, some here and a few in the UK. It was when I moved to Thailand in 2017 that I suppose I would start calling myself a ‘runner’. In such a tropical climate I thought I might be drawn to watersports but instead I ended up being colleagues with a very competitive runner who was obsessed with it. I then started to enter lots of events and devoting a lot of my time to running.
Is this your first marathon?
My first and only marathon was in Phuket (2019). The event began at 4am to avoid the extreme heat and on the morning of the event we were treated to a tropical storm. I was very lucky to have my wife and sister (and her then-partner) out there to support me along the way and to clap me in at the finish line. Completing it gave me an enormous sense of achievement and I am very proud to have done it.
London Marathon is a big event in the sporting calendar, how pleased are you that you are taking part?
I am so excited to be taking part in the London Marathon. It’s something I watch on TV every year and it just looks like an incredible event to be a part of. Speaking to others who have done it before, they always mention how good the atmosphere is, I’m very excited to get going.
How has the training gone – has it been difficult to train for such a big event?
I’ve been really happy with how the training has gone, I’ve done 90% of the training by myself and thankfully have been joined by friends on some of my longer runs on the weekends, which has been extremely helpful. The difficulty for me is fitting in life around the busy training schedule, for example after a long training run I’ve not been the most motivated to go and do the weekly shop or not had the most energy to run around after my toddler. A day watching Netflix or Live Sport is way more appealing. But it does just become a part of your routine and thankfully my recovery times have started to improve over the weeks, which has been something else that has given me confidence. It is sometimes difficult to assess how well you’re doing, however a few weeks back I took part in the Hospice to Hospice half marathon, which served as a good marker as it highlighted my progress and reassured me that the training is paying off.
What are the goals for race day?
I’ve been seeking a lot of advice about the day itself and almost everybody has said to just embrace the day, embrace the atmosphere and take it all in. I do have a target time of 3:30, however I am not obsessing about that. I feel very grateful to be a part of it so I will be taking the advice of all those that have run before me.
Talk to us about who you are raising money for?
I am running for a charity called MS UK. They are a small charity that receive no government funding, therefore they rely purely on donations. They do amazing work with people that are living with Multiple Sclerosis. In October I ran the Jersey Relay Marathon, I was in a team with my cousin’s wife, who has MS, and she suggested raising money for the charity. We managed to raise a good amount and off the back of that event MS UK offered me a place in the London Marathon. An opportunity I wasn’t going to turn down.
The fundraising side of it has been great as it really shows the best in people. I have been overwhelmed with the generosity of my family, friends, colleagues, teammates and complete strangers. We have done a few things to boost the fundraising including; jumping in the sea on christmas eve, a raffle and a treadmill relay in the middle of town, which we did on Saturday just gone.
How can people donate?
People can donate by visiting my Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/marathonaaronms
Finally, any message for all of the support you have had so far?
A huge thank you! I have been incredibly overwhelmed by all the donations, the messages of support, the words of advice and encouragement, the support with fundraising, it really is a huge motivator to keep going. I would like to thank my cousin Rob who has been instrumental on the fundraising side of things and I’d also like to thank my wife, Jess. I simply could not have done any of this without her ongoing support and understanding.
A huge good luck to all taking part on Sunday! Run your own race and enjoy!