Tips and tricks from our 2021 London Marathon runners

Apply to run in the 2022 Marathon for Girlguiding

10 February 2022

Ever wondered what it’s like to run the London Marathon for Girlguiding?

Six runners from 2021 reveal their top tips for running the famous race in-person and virtually.

What is your involvement with Girlguiding?

Krystie Miles: I am a Rainbow leader and love doing events.

Jo Robertson: I am an assistant leader at 10th Durham Brownies. I have been involved in guiding since my seventh birthday when I joined Brownies and have been involved ever since. This year I turn 40 and my daughter Beth, who’s five, has just joined Rainbows to start her guiding adventure.

Fliss Davies: I have three girls in three different sections of Girlguiding (Rainbows, Brownies and Guides) and am a Brownie leader. I was also a Brownie!

Rebecca Lang: I am a leader with four different units in Exeter and east Devon ranging from Rainbows to Rangers. I am also the Devon Inspire coordinator.

Grace McCabe: I’m a Ranger and currently a spokesperson for Girlguiding Scotland.

Emma Bentley: I've been involved in guiding since I was 12. I’ve been a young leader at Rainbows as well as Guides and completed my leadership when I was 18. I got involved in Brownies four years ago and most recently took over a Ranger unit.

Why did you choose to run the London Marathon for Girlguiding?

Jo: The last couple of years have been so hard for guiding and for all our members who have missed out on so much. I was super keen to raise money to help members across the country be able to continue giving the most amazing adventures. I enjoy running and have never done a marathon before so, in the year I turned 40, this seemed like a brilliant way to combine a great challenge for me, raising money and showing our young members that even at 40 you can achieve new things!

Rebecca: Girlguiding means a lot to me, having joined when I was nine years old. I have been through the sections myself and been offered so many opportunities, the likes you wouldn’t get in the real world. I have travelled further with guiding then with my family and learnt so many skills that you don’t learn at school. I want to be able to give those opportunities forward to the next generation.

Grace: My mum and dad are both marathon runners and so it’s been something I’d wanted to do since I was little. When I saw that Girlguiding were offering places for the virtual Marathon, I entered straight away as I knew it would fit better with my schedule as I was starting university around the time of the Marathon. Girlguiding is a huge part of my life, having been a member since the age of five and being Speak Out champion for two years. I’ve had the most incredible opportunities and made my best friends with guiding, so I wanted to do something to give back and I knew I’d have so much support from my guiding family along the way.

Emma: Girlguiding has been a positive part of my life, shaping me as a strong independent individual. Being a leader is such a fantastic and fulfilling hobby where I'm rewarded by watching girls grow, develop and have fun. I have also been lucky enough to meet some amazing women along the way, some of who are my closest friends and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. They have supported me like cheerleaders getting me through life and given me memories that will stay with me forever. I am so grateful, which is why I chose to run the Marathon for Girlguiding.

How did your train and what was it like?

Jo: I trained really hard. I followed a plan and put the hours and the miles in, with some amazing friends keeping me company on my long runs. I absolutely loved the training!

Fliss: I trained for two years! It was hard - I won’t lie! I wrongly assumed training was just a matter of running, running and more running… But no! Strength training is so important, as is Pilates and yoga, and eating the right things. It has changed my life!

Grace: Training was hard! My 16-week plan started on my 18th birthday and it was hard to fit in so many miles in between working, getting ready to move out for university, not to mention striking the balance at weekends between long runs and partying. I usually ran three-mile loops so I didn’t have to carry things out running and could just go into the house to get fuel and hydration.

How did you fundraise and what tips would you share with others?

Jo: I got the local community involved with events everyone could participate in.

Fliss: I roped in anyone and everyone I could! I learned not to be afraid to ask; people can only say no and I was overwhelmed by people’s generosity.

Emma: My fundraising was purely from social media. I added progress on my personal account as well as my unit Facebook pages. My tip is to make sure you log your training runs and thank all your donators on social media as it keeps your fundraising page on people minds.

What memories stand out most from your experience?

Jo: The joy of doing something which brought the whole community together supporting me. It was so nice to have that support and to hear stories from people as to how much Girlguiding means to them.

Rebecca: Definitely crossing the finish line after running past Buckingham Palace. It was such a huge relief to be able to see the finish and look back at the last 26 miles I have just done.

Grace: Mile 16 of the race. I was literally skipping along and dancing to She’s Casual by The Hunna but I was just so happy to be out running, so happy that in 10 miles I’d have run a marathon and seeing my phone flash with good luck messages from my friends. In contrast, the other most significant memory was mile 25 when I had absolutely nothing left in the tank. I had no idea how I was still even moving but I was so impressed with my ability to keep going even when my leg muscles felt like they were going through a shredder. In that moment I knew that if I could do this race, I could do anything.

Do you want to run the London Marathon, in-person or virtully? Apply to run for Girlguiding or email [email protected] and help us to continue to offer girls incredible experiences across the country.