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Third Time Lucky

If you're reading this and would like to support this amazing charity, whilst encouraging me to come in under the 4 hour mark, please DONATE!

27th April 2017

I feel like I’ve dreamt the marathon, the week leading up to the run seemed to go at 100mph and the weekend itself sped past in a blur. However, it happened, and I feel ecstatic to have finished my third London Marathon with a PB of 3 hours 49 minutes and 47 seconds! I went into the run wanting sub 4 hours and ideally as close to 3 hours 45 minutes as possible so I could not be happier. More importantly I beat my twin brother’s best marathon time so he has said that he will be entering for the marathon again next year.

On the Saturday before the marathon I went down to London to meet the Ataxia UK team and some fellow runners. It was great to put names to the faces of people I have been communicating with by email over the past 6 months and also hear the stories of the other runners running for Ataxia. They are a small charity trying to make a big impact for people with Ataxia and I feel honoured to have been able to run for them this year. My charity page will continue to be open for the next three months and the MRN has generously pledged to match anything I have raised, so please Donate.

The run itself wasn’t without it’s challenges, my hamstring started playing up at around mile 8 but by this point I had found the 3h45m pacers so felt comfortable and confident that I could run through it. Unfortunately, just before Tower Bridge I twisted my ankle on a stray water bottle in the middle of the road and had to stop running, the idea of running another 14 miles on a throbbing ankle was really daunting. I remember thinking about the people I would let down, Sasha, Ataxia UK and spectators if I pulled out and this propelled me forward and I began to hobble over Tower Bridge. It took another 2 miles until the pain in my ankle felt manageable but by this point I think it had blended in with the pain everywhere else. Mile 24 was incredible, so many friends and family were out to support and seeing their faces made it all worthwhile. Yet again I am in awe of the London Marathon organisers, it is a spectacular event and even with a record breaking number of runners it still ran faultlessly. The comradery and support amongst the runners is what makes the London Marathon so special and it was very much on display this year.

This will definitely not be my last marathon, I know I can run faster and want to explore some of the other famous marathon cities. However, I would love to be a spectator at next year’s London Marathon and hopefully look out for some MRN faces who will be entering the ballot this year.


19th April 2017 - Resting like a champ

With less than one week to go, it is now officially taper time. This means as little running, as much rest and as much food as possible. I am yoga-ing every day to keep my muscles awake and ready for race day.

I think the most important thing to remember when you are tapering is to keep it tailored to you. Typically when you are tapering you are reducing your weekly mileage by a significant percentage and therefore your taper training schedule is entirely dependent on how often you have been training. I have not been running as much due to my injury 4 weeks ago and therefore my taper week is not involving much running at all. I read in an article last week that I should be focusing my energies on resting like a champ, so that is what I plan to do.

I am recovering from a monster cold and my aim for this week is to ensure that I am as healthy and well rested as possible going into the run on Sunday. I have received lots of donations and letters over the past couple of weeks which I am sure will give me the extra boost I need on my way round the course on Sunday, fired up by running for such a wonderful cause and the work Ataxia does.

I hope I feel like this when I finish this time around. Please continue to DONATE, I'll be back next week to let you know how it went.


26th March 2017 - 4 weeks to go

So a runner’s nightmare, last Sunday during an 11 mile run the burning sensation in the back of my knee which had been simmering for a couple of weeks turned into more of a bonfire kind of feeling. Much to my disgruntlement my ham string has decided it needs a bit of a rest from training. I have been making the most of my physio friends, coercing them to come for dinner and then making them give me a sport massage. I have taken a week out of any kind of training which I’m sure has made me a complete nightmare to be around and have been religiously doing my weird physio exercises . I have moments of melodramatic panic as with any injury, will I lose my fitness from taking two weeks off running? Will the injury come back during the marathon? However I am choosing to look at it now as a blessing in disguise, that all this resting will mean that my muscles are fired up and ready to go for the big day… Or the other way to look at it is that it’s going to hurt no matter what, let’s not worry about a little extra pain. 

I think the thing that has annoyed me most about this injury, is that my training for this marathon has taken place mostly in the wind, the rain and the darkness. However, this weekend was positively glorious and the only weekend that I have not been able to run this year. I have started cycling again this week and will be building in the running gradually next week.

I am hoping to raise over £1750 for Ataxia UK, they are an incredible charity who are supporting ground-breaking research into potential treatments and cures for this rare disease. They also provide huge amounts of support for the sufferers and their families, please be generous in showing your support for this charity.


15th March 2017

I am lucky enough to have secured a place with Ataxia UK for the London Marathon 2017 this April.

I have been inspired to run for this charity by my friend and colleague Sasha. Sasha was diagnosed with Friedrich's Ataxia when she was 11 and now relies on a wheelchair to cause trouble in. She never lets the challenges of her condition faze her and I feel incredibly honoured to be fundraising for a charity that provides support for Sasha and her family.

Ataxia comes in many different forms, they are a group of neurological conditions that affect walking, speech, and movement. Ataxia UK relies on the support from donors and fundraisers and having worked at the MRN for the past 18 months I am keenly aware of how important the research into treatments and cures for rare diseases like Ataxia are.

Sasha's tag line, "If you can't walk, fly" has inspired me to take on the London Marathon for the third time.

This will be my third attempt at breaking 4 hours, with my second marathon in 2014 coming in at 4 hours and 40 seconds.

I hope that with Sasha as inspiration I'll be able to fly round the course for her (and that she’ll be waiting for me at the end with a glass of wine)!

All donations are welcome so please dig deep and DONATE!


6th March 2017

On Sunday the 5th of March, an MRN team took part in the Milton Keynes Festival of Running which had courses ranging from 5km to 20miles; I ran the 20miles. It was a very soggy day but overall a well organised and well supported event which made all the difference.

I have joined the Milton Keynes Lakeside Running club who have been an incredible support for my training, not only for company on the long runs but it’s also been great to pick up tips on training plans and nutrition. I have also decided to give up alcohol in the 8 weeks leading up to the marathon, I decided that if I’m going to break 4 hours it’s going to require pulling out all the stops and saying goodbye to wine for a while was a necessary sacrifice to make.

I would really love your support so if you can please donate HERE.


 27th February 2017

My New Year’s Resolution this year is to take the form of one physical challenge every month. On the 14th January 2017 I ran my first half marathon of the year around Victoria Park in East London, I was very happy to run a PB which was a massive confidence boost for the marathon mission. I am lucky enough to have colleagues who are willing to run on a weekly basis which has been essential to regular running sessions on cold and dark evenings.

My second half marathon took place on the 25th February 2017. It was very grey, very cold and I didn’t PB, not my favourite race to say the least. The next physical challenge will of course be the marathon, I am feeling confident and comfortable in my training with the odd painful niggle – nothing that a bubble bath and a stretch hasn’t managed to sort out just yet!

To help me with my New Year's resolution and to support Ataxia UK with funding, please DONATE!


25th January 2017

I have raised over £7000 for Asthma UK by running the London Marathon in 2011 and 2014.

This year, I will be hoping to raise awareness for Ataxia UK as well as raising the funds. Raising awareness for Ataxia UK is one of their biggest priorities; in 2009 only 7% of the public had heard of Ataxia. This figure had increased to 9% by March 2014 and this a massive step forward for the charity. More awareness leads to more research and more funding and moving closer to finding a cure. Ataxia is one of MRN’s chosen charities, and the entire team supported this by attending the Ataxia London Walk on the 19th September 2016.

Please support me in my fundraising efforts by donating HERE!

If you're reading this and would like to support this amazing charity, whilst encouraging me to come in under the 4 hour mark, please DONATE!

Posted by:
Zara Miles
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