I recently learned about Dean Hearne participating in this years London Marathon. This piqued my interest, not because I am an avid runner (far from it), but I’m always interested in finding out what kind of stuff people are into outside of what they are known for. In Dean’s case, it’s mainly BMX (obviously).
Click below to check out a quick Q&A with Dean regarding the marathon, preparation and his fundraising.
So, tell us about the London Marathon. How and when did you decide to give this a go?
I have applied three years in a row to try and get a place, but never got accepted. Something like 150,000 people apply each year to run it, and the London Marathon is the biggest single day charity fundraising event in the UK. Each time you enter you can choose 5 charities that you would be interested in running for, This year I got a call from Oxfam saying I was accepted for one of their charity places, I had been running a decent amount and it seemed like as good a time as any to give it a shot. With the Olympics being in London this year also seemed like a cool year to do it.
Fill us in on the London Marathon, what does it entail?
26.2 miles of running that starts in Greenwich park and finishes on the Mall just past Buckingham Palace after doing a pretty circuit around the city.
What kind of things have you done to prepare yourself?
Well, I have pretty much gotten fully into it preparation wise. I always enjoyed running, but really started to love it over the past 6 months. I always try to put it into riding context, I get the same feeling from running as having a good session on my bike, plus you don’t have to rely on weather or spots, which is nice when it is raining or terrible out (which is 90% of our winter) I can go running no matter what.
I have followed a 16 week training plan for London pretty strictly, and I started to pay attention to what i was eating in general a while before that, once you get past 30 and sit at a desk a lot of the day you have to work that little bit harder to keep on top of things.
What is your training regimen like?
I run 4 times as week, sometimes I go out just before 6am if it is a shorter run, or I switch it up and go in the evenings, then save the longer runs for Sunday mornings. The plan I am following mixes up distance with speed work and I am really only covering around 30-40 miles on the most intense weeks.
I picked up an actual running injury around October last year, it seemed really strange and wasn’t something I considered from ‘just’ running. On your bike knocks, bumps and sprains etc are part and parcel, but until it happens you don’t realise how much of a nightmare seriously pulling a muscle from running can be. I always used to laugh about regular sports people when they said they couldn’t do things because of sprains and aches etc, but I can appreciate what a hindrance it really is.
In hindsight it was probably the best thing that could happen to me, as it made me look at what i was doing and approach running and this marathon in a way more relaxed and sensible manner, before that i was just going out and running pretty much as fast and as far as I could, it’s like doing your big comp run every session and not focusing on the basics, which is not a good idea.
In perspective, I have covered 270 miles in the past 11 weeks, which is basically the same distance I ran in the whole of 2011, it is not a huge amount by any means, but for me personally it is somewhat of an achievement.
My Wife’s sister is also a fully qualified personal trainer who comes over twice a week, I refer to it as ‘Commando training’ you know, to make it seem more manly.
Did you have to change your diet drastically to prepare? How and what are you eating?
You don’t really have to, I have wanted to and started to around the middle of last year, again it goes back to the age thing and I guess I have taken a conscious decision to look at what I am eating overall. You do get to eat a lot of food when you do this much running which is a bonus! I have been following a pretty high carbohydrate diet in general though, with high protein intake after running to help the body repair. I have read up a lot on different methods of sports nutrition, and found some really interesting books on diet, nutrition, exercise and people that have put themselves through physically demanding challenges, a lot of them pretty inspirational.
I guess the main thing is I want to enjoy the experience of running this marathon, and test myself with other things like this in the future, suffering the whole way around wouldn’t be much fun and for me personally I think your diet can help that. Some people are fortunate enough to be blessed with super human running skills and could fire round 26 miles without even thinking about it, I don’t really feel I fall into that category.
Has anything been particularly difficult so far while preparing?
The main thing is on the longer runs, nutrition and hydration. I cannot stand holding bottles or dealing with having all kinds of stuff with me, I also run alone a lot which I like as it becomes a bit of a test for yourself. Finding the right balance of what to take with you, drink etc seemed to take the longest, I ended up getting some kind of super hero esque utility belt which makes me look a bit weird, but works great. I have also been making my own energy drinks and food for during runs etc as the commercially bought stuff is not only expensive, but doesn’t agree with my stomach. This is something I found out when needing to make a hasty retreat to a bush when nature called during a 15 mile run last year. It wasn’t a pretty sight.
The Fundraising has probably been the hardest part if I am honest, it is something like 2% of the people you reach with any fundraising project will actually act upon it and donate. People are feeling the pinch these days and I can understand that money is tight for everyone, but even the smallest of amounts can go along way to help those that are in less fortunate positions. People tend to not be as affected by things unless it relates to them personally, so you really do have to hammer it down peoples throats in order to raise cash.
I am very lucky in that I have a Wife, family and lot of great friends that have helped out and I am almost half way to my total that I want to raise. I am also fortunate enough to be in the position to be able to take on a challenge like this, and because of that I hope it can raise awareness and some money to benefit and improve the quality of life to those who need it most.
How does your day-to-day gig at United factor in?
Not at all really. Even if you run every other day it’s probably 2 hours max per day when you run, a little longer on the weekends, which is time that is not that difficult to find if you are motivated to do so, you just work around it.
Your average person wastes a lot of time on menial things, watching TV, festering etc, nothing that is challenging or rewarding is easy. Sitting at home with the feet up engrossed in television, or having an extra 30 minutes lie in each day is simple, but a lot of people in this world do not have that luxury. Forcing yourself out of bed at 5:30 am when it is pissing down with rain and freezing cold is not easy, but the rewards from challenging yourself are huge in comparison.
They do say that those people who are the busiest always find the time, I definitely haven’t ridden my bike as much as I would have liked to recently that is for sure, but I know that is how i operate, if I sign up to do something i intend on putting as much focus and effort into it as possible.
If someone told you 10 years ago that you’d one day be running the London Marathon, what would you have said?
Well, my Dad did it probably close to 10 years ago, so I think it is always something subconsciously I have wanted to do. As I mentioned earlier, I feel fortunate to be in the position I am to be able to run or attempt something like this, and I hope to continue to do so into the future. There are people in their 70’s and 80’s still running marathons, and i find that really motivational and inspiring as something to look forward to doing when the body can’t quite function on the BMX!
How are you feeling leading up to it?
Erm, exited to be honest, after speaking to people who have run it before it definitely sounds like it will be a great experience, although I am sure those last 6 miles are going to be as physically and mentally challenging as anything i have ever experienced, but that is what makes it worthwhile.
Thanks Dean, all the best! Anything you would like to add?
I am running the London Marathon this year and raising money in the process for Oxfam. What I like about Oxfam is their approach to long term sustainability by helping the poor help themselves for the improvement of their lives in projects all over the world. If anyone feels like being generous and donating via my fundraising pages it would be greatly appreciated.
Donate through Virgin Money Giving here:
Or Just Giving here: