Audley Travel

We interviewed Senior Southeast Asia specialist Mat just before he ran the London Marathon last weekend to raise money for WE Charity.

Is this your first marathon?

I also took part in the Istanbul Marathon in 2015. This was an incredible experience but with just 7,000 or so runners and nearly no support, London will be quite different and I hope the crowd will give me that extra boost I’ll most definitely need.

Why do you want to run a marathon?

It’s on my Bucket List. London is seen as the world’s finest marathon and to run my home city’s marathon will be a dream come true. Just completing a marathon is a huge achievement, but I want to push myself mentally and physically. It’s something I want to be able to tell my grandchildren in the future. It’s something I want to complete to make my loved ones proud of me. I also really admire anyone who can show the dedication to train hard and complete a marathon in a quick time, I want to be that person too.

Why did you choose WE Charity?

I had tried to get in through the ballot and failed twice so decided to look for a charity, and after hearing various inspirational speeches from people connected to WE Charity, I got in touch and found that they could indeed provide Audley with two spaces.

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What have been your best and worst experiences so far?

The worst was most definitely a minor injury setback, which was bound to happen at some point, but things were going really well and exactly to plan, so it really took me by surprise and knocked my confidence. I had a minor Achilles injury and sought help from fellow runners online for advice. After a few weeks’ recovery, losing focus and drive, I was back tentatively running. The best experience had to be simply exploring more of this amazing city I’m lucky to live within.

Since starting my training in January, I have explored much of London, particularly heading west from Hammersmith along the Thames Path down to Richmond and beyond, what a lovely part of the world! I had many wonderful runs along here, joined by various other runners. I have to thank my girlfriend Harriet too, for literally pushing me out the door to train on many occasions when I was so tired, it was cold or snowing or I’d had a long day in the office. She also joined me for many of my recovery runs which was really enjoyable.

Running really is so much fun and no matter how far or fast you go, it seriously improves your mood… 99% of the time…! You simply cannot beat running into the setting sun along peaceful the semi-rural Thames Path for example. I also really enjoyed running through central London and in particular around Hyde and Green Park, and running up the Mall, visualising myself back there on 23rd of April with thousands of other runners and supporters. I’m also currently loving ‘carb loading’ this week!

What time do you expect to complete it in?

I am aiming for 3:15, which would be a personal best by 15 minutes. I’ll be wearing well-fitting athletic clothing, I want to give myself every chance of making this time. In Istanbul I was poorly prepared, suffering very badly with chaffing under the arms from an ill-fitting vest, which I would have never considered a potential problem!!

Have you done any fundraising events to raise money?

Plenty. I have been posting regular video blogs on social media, sharing my progress with the online community, as well as running a ‘Guess My Time’ fundraising challenge at work which has been well received and added an element of fun and competitiveness compared to the usual pleas for donations.

What did you think of WE Day?

I attended WE Day last month, and found it incredibly inspirational. I am proud to represent WE and really like how the money raised isn’t just for quick fixes, but is to essentially change the world, helping people who really need help, help themselves for the longer term.

How will you celebrate?

I have given up a lot during the training program and most definitely deserve a good pint of beer and a humongous burger!

Post-marathon update

Mat managed to run the London Marathon in 3 hours 11 minutes, and combined with James’s fundraising total, they’ve managed to raise over £10,000 for WE Charity, which will also be matched by Audley.

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