21st March 2018


From the warm dirt roads of Kenya to the sub-zero temperatures and tarmac roads of Scotland. That has been the story of my build-up to the London Marathon and World Para Athletics Marathon Cup this year and I cannot wait to pull on that British vest again next month.

This year’s altitude camp in Iten (in January and February) couldn’t have been any better. I trained well, learned lots and shared the whole experience with an amazing team.

Getting my body used to the thin air at 8,000ft, as always, took a few days. It is definitely a shock to the system when I am out for an easy recovery paced run, and my heart rate is up into the tempo zone.

Derek training in Iten, Kenya.

I had been in this position before though and I knew that by being calm, sensible and allowing my body to adapt to the altitude I would be feeling fine after a few days.

After 7 days fuelling on ugali (a tasteless Kenyan delicacy) and listening to my body by not overdoing it, I was almost fully acclimatised and ready to eat mouthfuls of dust and get into my longer and quicker sessions.

This was my second camp in Kenya.  I travelled and trained with a smaller group of athletes and it made the camp that bit more special this time around.

Running with Aly Dixon, Rosie Clarke, Sonia Samuels, Eilish McColgan and Melissa Courtney most days made the four weeks go by so much quicker and it felt like we weren’t just there to train together but also to support, encourage and motivate each other both and off the track.

I felt that by having a great team spirit within the group, it allowed everyone to approach each session in the right mindset. We trained together as much as possible and I think this brought us closer together as a team.

As the days passed, I felt with each run and session I was improving. My heart rate was more stable like it is when I am training back in the UK and I was moving well.  Dare I say I was even enjoying the hard runs at high altitude!

It was also apparent that the rest of the group were also in fine form. One of the things I get a real appreciation for during camp is the different types of training for the different track events. I enjoy going down to the track to watch and support the others doing their stuff.

We were, again, exceptionally well looked after by the British Athletics staff and the High Altitude Training Centre staff. There was never anything that was too much trouble.

I am very humbled to have been given the opportunity to train in this environment and would like to say thanks to British Athletics and the London Marathon for giving me that opportunity once again.

Competing at the Inverness Half Marathon

Since I’ve been back in the UK, I am back into full training, I’ve have had a few build up races and I’m happy with the hard work I’ve put into preparing for the World Para Athletics Marathon World Cup at the London Marathon in April. I had a good run at the Inverness Half Marathon and I am currently spending 2 weeks warm weather training in Tenerife. To finish off my marathon preparation I’m racing the Tom Scott 10 which is the Scottish Athletics National 10 Mile Road Championship. This will hopefully stand me in good stead for this year’s race. Last year was very special for me, to win a bronze medal and set a personal best was everything I could have asked for.

I’m now on a training block in Tenerife putting that last bit of work in before the taper down begins!

Final preparations underway in Tenerife.

The countdown continues so watch out for us competing at the London Marathon on Sunday 22 April 2018.