Interviews with Marfan Heroes

Mike Horgan from Salisbury, UK ran the London Marathon in aid of his partner Glen Price who suffers from Marfan Syndrome. We interviewed Mike to find out his tips on how to run a marathon and how he coped with the build up. Overall Mike raised £5,000 plus for the Marfan Trust! Well Done Mike!

1.    What was your motivation for raising money for the Marfan Trust?

Having seen first-hand the incredible work, support and dedication of the staff who work at St George's Hospital in London for Marfan patients, I wanted to give something back.  Also I wanted to support my husband by putting my body through the pain that his body goes through every day, and if I can raise money to help research at the same time, then all the better.

2.    What marathon(s) did you run and why did you choose that/those particular marathons?

This was the first marathon I’ve ever done (and possibly the last!).  It had to be the London Marathon as it’s one of the most iconic marathons in the world, if not the most iconic. Also to be able to say I’ve run the London Marathon, just brings with it a sense of immense pride.  In addition, I used to live on the 10 mile mark of the marathon and every year I would go and watch the struggles of the runners and the support of complete strangers generating a buzz and positive atmosphere.  So, having experienced it from the sidelines made me want to see what it was like running it.

3.    Did you have to change your lifestyle to prepare for the marathon and if so how?

Absolutely!  While I have always run, this has largely been confined to putting on a pair of trainers at lunch time for a ‘quickie’!  I knew that if I was going to succeed at running 26.2 miles I needed a proper training programme and I needed to stick to it otherwise I wouldn’t be fit enough.  I started a 17 week training programme immediately after New Year and to be honest during the early stages of the programme there was little change to my lifestyle, but as the intensity increased that changed.  I had to ensure I stuck to my two mid week runs religiously as these were more aimed at pace and stamina, and I also had to run on Saturdays and Sundays.  However, I would say the biggest change was Saturday nights and Sundays – Sundays were my long run days.  In the latter half of the 17 week programme, I was doing 12 miles one week, 14 the next, 16 the next and increasing by 2 miles each week up to 22 miles.  To achieve this, Saturday nights were fairly quiet, alcohol free, hydrating myself and eating carbs.  It was an early start on Sundays to make sure I ate the right foods at the right time so I wasn’t running on a full or empty stomach.  To achieve this there was a lot of planning during the week.  The other impact on lifestyle was a change in the social aspects.  It was quite difficult to arrange weekends away or have family and friends round because when you’re running for 3 and half hours on a Sunday it not only impacts you, but those around you too.

4.    Do you have to have a special diet in the run up to a marathon? And if so what?

Ideally you should really focus on your dietary aspects to really enhance your performance.  I did a fair bit, but I suppose you can always do more.  The biggest change to my diet, and one that is recommended by professionals, is an increase in the right kind of carbohydrates to increase glycogen stores.  I therefore ate a lot of porridge, brown rice, whole wheat pasta and sweet potatoes.  I did also take advantage of the fact I was running about 30 -40 miles a week and had more pizza than I should!

5.    Do you have any particular special recipes you could share with us?

Unfortunately not, I just kept it fairly simple with carbohydrates and steamed veg, lean meats – to be honest it was a little plain and boring at times.

James Morris ran the Brighton Marathon for us this year in aid of his sister who suffers from Marfan syndrome. We interviewed him to ask how the day went. Overall he managed to raise £2,385.50! Go James!

1.    What was your motivation for raising money for the Marfan Trust?

My older sister Gayle Morris suffers from Marfan Syndrome. I have witnessed the effects this syndrome can cause to a young person and their family and wanted to raise money and generate awareness to help support the Marfan Trust.

2.    What marathon(s) did your run and why did you choose that/those particular marathons?

I ran the Brighton Marathon. I’m from the local area and so I know the route and it was easy for close family to come and cheer me on.

3.    Did you have to change your lifestyle to prepare for the marathon and if so how?  

Yes, I tried to watch my diet by not eating too much sugar and went totally alcohol free during all of January.

4.    Did you have to have a special diet in the run up to a marathon? And if so what?

Not really, I would just try to eat more protein after long runs.

5.    Do you have any particular special recipes you could share with us?

After a long run the body needs to re-hydrate and so I used to drink a pint of cold milk with a splash of orange juice.

6.    How do you stay focused during the marathon and what was going through your mind while you were running?

It is easy to concentrate in the first half (15 miles) of the marathon. However, at about 18 miles the pain starts to kick in and my focus was on keeping re-hydrated and to maintain a good average speed. At mile 21 my dad and sister came into my head as the pain in my legs and feet was intense. However, this was nothing compared to what they had both been through in terms of operations.

7.    What time did you finish the marathon in?

3 hours and 59 minutes.

8.    What was the most challenging thing about the marathon and what was the best thing?

The challenge was finding the time between work, family and general life to train, especially for 20+ mile runs. I would say to my wife and kids, see you in 3 hours..!! The two best things are the morning of the marathon and the excitement leading up to the start and then obviously the relief when you cross the finish line.

9.    Would you do it again?

No!

10.  Would you encourage people to run marathons to raise money for good causes and if so what tips would you give them?

Definitely, it’s a life challenge and raising money for a charity and seeing what the funds can do to help is so rewarding.

 

 

 

Interviews with Marfan Heroes
Interviews with Marfan Heroes
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