After the success of the Spring Marathon Sponsored Athlete Programmes in 2018 and 2019, we couldn’t not go ahead in 2020…

Applications opened for a period of two weeks and we had over 50 runners apply for the two positions. The athletes have access to monthly sports massage, weekly core classes, a training plan, gait analysis, a pair of trainers and nutrition, plus the knowledge and support of all three to support them on their journeys.

The selection process was even harder than the last 2 years with the calibre and sheer volume of applications received and it took a while to finally pick the two successful athletes.

However, after much deliberation, we are very excited to announce our new athletes to you…

Anastasia Murphy – Manchester Marathon

I’m Anastasia, I am 25, from Milton Keynes! I am running Manchester Marathon in April 2020 and this will be my third marathon.

I ran my first marathon in 2018 (raising £4,500 for Alzheimer’s Society). I went from 5k to marathon within 6 months. Those 6 months changed my life. I went from having no self confidence or fitness, to appreciating what my body can do and achieve over what it looks like.

My current marathon PB is 4:22, so I am hoping to get to 4 hours (or sub 4!). I started running in 2017, as a way to improve my mental health and generally keep fit. Before then, I had never ran in my life. Over the last two years, my speed, endurance and general fitness has increase dramatically – but I am nowhere near my full potential.

I’m now ready to take my fitness up to the next level and really discover what I am capable of and I cannot wait to work with Clean Coach Katie and the team over the upcoming months. I can’t wait to share my progress and hopefully smash Manchester marathon out the park! Equally, I want to shout about the ‘runners’ high and be able to share with people how running has not only helped my fitness, but also my day to day life and self-confidence.

Mark Atkinson – London Marathon

A former introverted lethargic couch potato who started running a bit to get healthy for my two kids and got a little carried away.  Now a member of the 100 Marathon Club, MK Lakeside Runners and Redway Runners clubs.  

Learnt a lot along the way, made a lot of mistakes which ended in my writing the “Run Like Duck” book covering my misadventures, which even won an award, presented by Mike Bushell off the telly.

I’ll be running London Marathon in 2020. I’ve been lucky enough to run it before through a ballot and a charity place and it’s simply the best experience. The crowds and support are amazing and guaranteed to lift your spirits no matter how badly your legs hurt which I’ll need for a PB attempt.

Currently on 135 marathons and ultras, with numerous shorter races as well. I’ve tended to race any distance from a lung busting 5km race up a mountain in Spain to a 145 mile ultra from Birmingham to London along the canal. I’ve never followed a training programme and tend to bounce from one race to another, constantly in a confused state of training, recovery and tapering.

For once I want to target a marathon and follow a detailed training programme designed to peak on race day. After so many races I feel I owe it to myself to see what I can actually do on the 26.2 miles without self-sabotaging my performance with multiple races in the weeks before, running with a loaded back pack to simulate ultra training, or keeping a bit back for next week’s race. Throughout my running I’ve treated strength and conditioning, along with physiotherapy and stretching as something other people do. Consequently I have the flexibility of a gangplank and on a good day can just about touch my knees. With the opportunities of this programme I’m excited to undo years and miles of abuse and hopefully push for a Good For Age qualification time for London or a Boston Qualifier.

The team are so excited to begin and share their stories with you. We hope you enjoy following their progress over the upcoming months.