8 little things you can do to show a London marathon runner you care

You may be wondering why a lady that creates wooden products is writing about marathon runners: I appreciate that there isn't an obvious link at first glance. The truth is that it's actually something really close to my heart. I was born in West London and have fond memories of watching the London Marathon as a child, and we once went to see my uncle finishing the race. I don’t remember too much about the day except that it was an amazing atmosphere: I always wondered if it was something I would ever achieve myself. I’ve put this post together as when I’m not in my workshop; running is usually where you’ll find me. It’s a subject that people come to me to ask about and I felt that I have a fair bit of insight on how you can show a marathon runner that you care!

Becoming a marathon runner

If you speak to any runner, there are usually a mix of practical and emotional reasons behind them taking up the sport, but once smitten it becomes something the love doing. Personally, I started running to lose weight after my first baby, and I soon found that it gave me a sense of freedom, of being in touch with my surroundings and of being aware of my own body and what it is capable of. But then I struggled to have another child: several miscarriages made me feel let down by my own body, and I found that running was my escape, but also a way of proving to myself that my body was strong and something that I could rely on. 

I'm lucky that I now have two happy and healthy children, but there were some dark times that I went through and running was my solace. When I ran the London marathon in 2017, I wanted to support Tommy's so that the money I raised could be used to help research into miscarriage and still birth: I didn't want any other families to suffer either. To date, I’ve raised over £10,000, and my fundraising is still ongoing.

How can you support a London marathon runner?

Deciding to enter the ballot for the London Marathon (or any marathon for that matter) is a huge deal and when you get the letter saying that you have a place you know that your life is going to change dramatically as you train. It's not just that you'll have to work incredibly hard and push yourself, your partner and family will also find that they need to support you in a lot of different ways. I reached out to my followers on social media and to the running groups that I am a member of and asked them about the support they had that helped them run the race. I thought it would be helpful to share them here:

1. Time to train

If you have children and are planning to run the marathon, then your partner will need to be around to look after the children while you train, run and recover. The distances involved mean that the training isn't just a quick hour at the weekends, it can progress into much more substantial chunks of time. Marathon runners really appreciate this support whether it's during the training, on the day, or even the day after the race when their joints don’t want to do the ‘normal’ things like going up the stairs or kneeling to change a baby’s nappy! 

2. A lie in and a hot bath

These may sound like simple luxuries, but marathon runners are working really hard during training, and these are really appreciated! Not only are you pushing your body to the limit but you might be getting up extra early on different days to fit in a long distance run. Letting a runner have a lie in is an amazing little thing you can do to show them that you care. Oh, and if you want to go the extra mile, you could have a hot bath ready for them when they come back from a run!

3. Motivation and belief

Your partner, friends and family can help by taking your run seriously and believing that you can do it. This might be in the form of supportive conversations when they are training, or by showing up at races during your training. Sometimes it isn’t just about motivational quotes though: your family and friends are the ones that know what to say to make you laugh and keep you going: in one race my friends turned up with this awesome banner to help spur me on: 

(I wish I had taken the time to print a copy of it as I only have the ones on social media now which arent great quality!) 

Motivating sign for London marathon runner

4. Be there on the day

The London Marathon is a huge event, and it's not the easiest thing being a spectator, especially if you have young kids that want to see you run, (or that you want to see cheering you on) but knowing that your loved ones are there is amazing. 

My parents, sister, brother in law and niece and my friend positioned themselves at different viewing points along the route. They let me know where they were via a WhatsApp group so I could look out for them and my sister had made a banner so I could easily spot them.  

My husband brought my 4-year-old son along which really meant the world to me. They positioned themselves just before the Tommy’s support stands on Tower Bridge, so I knew where to look out for them. 

Marathon runner seeing a friend in the crowd
This was the moment I spotted my 4 year old in the crowd!
This was me giving a quick kiss to my four year old!

5. Take lots of photos

There is usually an opportunity for an official photo when you run a marathon, but these can be expensive and aren’t always taken when you’re looking your best! If you’re a supporter and are going to cheer someone along then taking a good camera along is a huge help! Especially if you can take some early on in the race before we get tired, emotional and sweaty!

If you can’t make it there in person then keep an eye out for them on the televised coverage of the London marathon: record it or screen grab it, it all helps! 

Friends can watch the London marathon on TV and share it on facebook with you

6. A feast fit for a king or queen

Running a marathon is a surefire way to build up an appetite, and most marathon runners will find themselves thinking of all the lovely food they will be totally justified in eating once they have finished. In London, there are restaurants that will let you eat free on the day of the marathon if you show them your medal! How amazing is that! There is a handy list of where you can get free food and drink on the Runner’s World website 

7. Be a good listener

You might think that you’ve heard enough about the marathon in the weeks and months of training, but after finishing the race, your marathon runner will really want to talk about it. Give them free reign to talk about it as much as they want when they finish! 

8. Gifts to celebrate their success

After the London marathon, you're overcome by all sorts of emotions: you're thrilled to have finished the race, but it's also the end of all of the hard work and training. I didn't want to be a 'medal bore' and do a 'show and tell' to anyone that came to my house, but I also wanted to have a reminder of what I had achieved and to be able to talk about my experiences. 

If you’re trying to figure out what you could buy for someone that has completed the London marathon to say ‘well done’ then here are a few ideas:

My friend bought me this print of the London Marathon by the designer Georgina Westley which I have on the wall in the kitchen. Running across Tower Bridge is pretty much the half way point, and I can remember crying when I saw it! I get a little tinge of emotion when I look at the picture!  You can read the story behind the design of Georgina's London Marathon print here 

Print from Georgina Westley in a frame

Personalised gifts for London Marathon runners

When I was in my workshop, I realised that I wanted to create some special gifts for marathon runners which give the chance to show off their medals, but also gives partners and loved ones the chance to write a personal message too. A few heartfelt words can be so powerful and make a unique gift. (Be prepared for ‘leaky eyes’!)

If you're supporting someone running the London Marathon this year, then you might like to get them a personalised medal hanger (because I bet you that once they have done this race they will want to do more!). You can have their name, a message or a quote on the front and it can even be in your own handwriting or your children's handwriting. On the back, you can have a second 'secret' message that’s just between you and the person you gave it to. 

Personalised medal hangers
Personalised medal hangers
personalised medal hanger
Personalised medal hanger

If you want your marathon runner to showcase their medal somewhere at home, then you could get them one of my medal framing kits which has space for a medal and a photo too. You can completely customise the medal framing kits: perhaps with the date, or even their running time at the bottom and a message on the top. 

Personalised photo frame for London Marathon runners
A Photo frame for a London marathon runner with an engraved message
A frame for your London Marathon medal

I know from my own experience and from chatting to other runners that if you want to ‘go the extra mile’ as a marathon supporter, then it’s the little things you can do and thoughtful gifts like these really show that you care.

You can find out more about my engraved medal hangers here on my website, or click here to see info about the engraved personalised race photo and medal display framing kits.

Posted on April 24th 2019

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