Interview: David Donkin of NSG – Virgin London Marathon Runner

David Donkin, a client of Studio Rossiter, works within the UK Safety, Health and Environment department of NSG – and he has just finished running the London Marathon.

He kindly agreed to take some time out to tell us about the marathon last week.

Q: Why did you run the Marathon?

A: I decided that I wanted to do it two years ago. But it’s very difficult to do it on your own – you need to be backed by an official charity. And at that time I wasn’t quite ready to do a full marathon.

So I began training for the Great North Run. I did that last year, enjoyed it and went ahead with my application for the Virgin London Marathon.

Q: What was your charity?

It’s called ‘Get Kids Going’ (click here to visit Get Kids Going). It helps children who are living with a disability engage in sports – and I’m a big believer in that kind of thing. I think that sports help build people.

I found out about them at the end of The Great North run. I got in touch with them afterwards and they agreed to let me support them in the Virgin London Marathon.

Q: How did you train?

A: One of the great things about the Virgin London Marathon is that its website provides a 6 month training plan. So I followed that.

For my first week of training I did 30 minute runs almost every day. As the weeks progressed, the training became longer and harder.

By the final month I was running more than 26 miles in a week. I did this by running between 8 to 10 miles on two weekdays, and then 10 miles on either the Saturday or Sunday.

Q: What was the marathon like?

It was amazing – the atmosphere of the event really sets the tone for your run.

You start by going to the ExCeL centre the day before the marathon to register – along with everybody else. The buzz at the ExCeL centre can’t be described in words.

Then the day itself comes and you go to Greenwich Park with the rest of the runners – it’s like a festival. There are so many people there that it takes 20 minutes just to get past the start line!

The route of the run is completely surrounded by supporters – I never saw one empty gap in the entire 26 miles! And there is a band every 5 miles – so it’s easy to stay encouraged.

At mile 13 I began to lose concentration and slow down a bit – I think I hit what they call “the wall”. I kept on going. By mile 17 I thought I may have to give up – but that’s when I saw my family.

Seeing them and having them cheer me on gave me the strength to continue for a few more miles. But, by mile 21, I once again felt like I was going to give up.

But my family had somehow got to mile 21 before me, and they were holding up a banner saying “Go Grandad, Love Chloe”. It had been written by my Grandaughter. She wasn’t there but – unbeknownst to me – she had written it for my family to take down to London.

Seeing that got me past the finish line.

Q: How much money did you raise for you charity?

I raised over £2500.00. There were a number of very generous donations from a number of different people – some of whom I never even knew.

The donations came from lots of random people – some were even international. The company I work for – NSG – has offices all over the world. People from as far away as Chile, Japan, Finland and the USA gave me money.

One donation came from a complete stranger that I met by chance.

I know it’s hard to believe with the weather we have at the moment – but earlier in the year there were a couple of pretty warm days! During this period I went out for a run. The hot weather made me dehydrated – so I asked a stranger for some water. We got talking and he agreed to sponsor me!

Q: What did you personally gain?

A: A sense of achievement. And a realisation of how nice people really are. When you see such a vast amount of runners and givers working together – it restores your faith in humanity.

You can click here to find out more about the Virgin London Marathon and here to find out more about NSG.

Click here to find out more about Studio Rossiter.

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