15th May 2017

Marathon Blog: Derek Rae - Part 2

On the eve of the London Marathon, Derek Rae speaks about the last few weeks of training before he competes for the British Athletics team at the World Para Athletics Marathon Cup. The Scot speaks Tenerife training, ‘Suits’ and how special this race is to him…..

Since writing my last blog, I ran the Alloa half marathon in March which is always a good one to do. Most of the people competing there are preparing for London to get an indication of where they are fitness and strength wise, and I was no different. In terms of my performance on the day, I was happy. There was a strong headwind which was useful because it showed me a lot about my fitness, running in those conditions.

I flew out to Tenerife after this for a spot of warm weather training and I got a really good block of training done out there. I kept up the high intensity work – focusing on the strength and speed endurance. We kept the mileage up but there were a few more track sessions included to fine tune. It was nice to be out training in vests and shorts rather than layer, hats and gloves in Scotland!

After returning from Tenerife, I ran the Tom Scott 10 mile and got a 22 second personal best. I knew I was in good shape going into the race and I managed to run exceptionally well. It is good to be competitive – it was also the Scottish championships so it was a strong field with everyone striving for a fast time which spurred me on. The result has given me a lot of confidence over the last few weeks so I cannot wait to get on that start line on Sunday now.

The last three to four months have been about getting ready for the marathon so the last few days are about keeping my head clear and keeping my trust in the plan as I taper down. I’ve been there before where I have had so many doubts in taper week – I start thinking I should have done more! But the more times I do the marathon, the more I begin to trust what I have done and take that confidence into race day.

I have everything packed and my race kit lined out ready for Sunday. Now it is about relaxing, catching up with some friends when I’m down in London and also watching a lot of Netflix to wind down in my room. ‘Suits’ is my programme of choice at the moment and I’ll probably fit a few films in as well – it keeps me occupied and distracted from the task ahead.

When it comes to race day, I will make sure I have my good luck charm with me, something I keep on me for every race. When I first met Susan (his wife), her mum and dad had a black Labrador called Ash, and he was a great friend to me. Sadly he passed away a few years ago but I have his name tag in my pocket. It is just something I have always done – I can tap my pocket and I just know he is there with me. It may seem silly but it means a lot to me.

The rest of my ritual before the 26.2 miles is always the same. I’ll do my warm-up like I do for every race, chill out by listening to music before heading to the start line. Before the starting gun sounds, I kiss my wedding ring and the good luck charm, and away I will go.

To run the London Marathon is a special achievement but to run it in a British vest and have the home crowd behind you….words cannot describe it. It is a phenomenal experience and a privilege to be able to be part of it. I owe a big thanks to the Virgin London Marathon, Paula Dunn and my team for their support throughout this journey; I hope I can pay them back with my performance this weekend.

Follow Derek’s journey along with the rest of the British team via this website and the @BritAthletics twitter page on Sunday.