To most people running 26.2 miles seems like a huge challenge. But, Amy Hughes took on the incredible challenge of running 53 marathons, on 53 consecutive days. And, she completed the feat to gain a World Record! Below we ask Amy about her top tips for training, the challenges she’s faced along the way, and her best advice for those running marathons.
Meet Amy Hughes…
Marathon level: Master
Favourite marathon: Lake Windermere or London
Best marathon tim: 3 hours 38 minutes
Charity of choice: The 53 Foundations
Money raised so far: £70,000 in total
What made you decide to want to run 53 marathons?
I was late to running, I only started when I was 17 as I hated sport in school. I started running early in the morning and soon became hooked. There aren’t many younger female ultra runners, so I wanted to do something on a big scale to raise awareness for running and fitness and to inspire others to join me and become more active.
What is your top tip for marathon day?
Enjoy your journey, all the hard work will be worth it. I always say marathon running is more of a mental battle than a physical one, so you need to believe in yourself. Enjoy the atmosphere and take it one step at time. It will be so worth it when you get that medal!
How do you train for marathons? Do you have any insider tips?
Find yourself a good training programme, there are tonnes available online but you need to make sure it suits your ability and schedule. I normally run four or five times a week but some people can only do three and that’s fine. A big must for marathon training is strength work, a lot of people forget about it, but it’s so important to help build endurance, stamina, power and help prevent injury.
What is your favourite moment from your marathon challenge?
The people I met and the messages I received along the way from people saying I had inspired them. And, of course the amount of money I raised along the way.
How do you motivate yourself when you’re struggling with training, and also on race days?
I keep thinking of the end game, of how I’ll feel when I have finished the race and got the result I want.
What do you wish you had known before your first marathon?
The biggest one would be how good the feeling is at the end and how much of a mental battle it is getting there. You will be on a runners high for weeks, maybe even months. It’s the biggest sense of achievement ever!
What was the hardest part of training?
Getting out there when the weather is grim. It’s really hard to stay motivated through the cold and dark winter months.
What was the hardest part of your first marathon? People talk about hitting the wall… has this happened to you, and how do you get through it?
I didn’t actually ‘hit the wall’ during my first marathon but it’s happened in many others. It’s one of those things that you need to find your own way of talking yourself through. Find a mantra, and visualise the end. The hardest bit for me was how sore my legs after, so make sure you stretch and try and walk around after to keep your legs as loose as possible.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given about long distance running?
I actually gave myself a piece of advice during my World Record treadmill challenge. I was close to not completing it and I gave myself a reality check. I kept telling myself I had worked too hard to quit. So I told myself I needed to create a mantra and bring back my self belief. So I created a mantra of “You are strong. You are fearless. Don’t stop!” and I kept repeating it over and over in my head until I believed it when I was struggling.
If you’re raising money for charity, what fundraising events have you put on so far?
I have done lots of different things throughout my running years from cake sales, to auctions, spinathons, race nights, social media competitions and kids parties.
WELL DONE AMY ON AN AMAZING ACHIEVEMENT!