Working at Arbuthnot Latham –
Colleague profile: My lockdown marathon
Dan Stevens is a Commercial Banker based in our Exeter office. He decided to push himself to the limit and take on a lockdown marathon.
Soon after the beginning of lockdown in 2020, the government announced that people were allowed out of their homes once a day for exercise.
Desperate to get out of the house for a bit, I was doing a lot of cycling and running, especially as the weather was so nice.
I have always preferred cycling because you can go a lot further and a lot faster. As the weather got worse in the autumn though, I switched to more running, but very sporadically and did not really know what I was doing.
I looked up a “marathon training plan online” and the first few weeks sounded easy, so I thought I would give it a go.
At the start, the longest runs were about an hour and in the week, it was a half an hour here and there, which was manageable at lunchtimes or after work; 15 weeks later I felt too committed to stop!
Why I enjoy running
I get a real sense of structure out of it, especially training for a marathon; I know what I have to do, and when.
Running can be an effective way of breaking up a day and making sure you get away from the desk as well.
For me is also benefited my physical and mental health - taking a break from work and from being a dad was great for mindfulness and reflection.
I even started blogging about it on LinkedIn, I wrote about how I found similarities between marathon training and working life.
I set out to run a marathon in under four hours and achieved 3 hours 25, which I was shocked and overjoyed with. I wrote my first blog thinking if I get one like I will be pleased, and ended up having a lot more than that and some lovely comments as well.
How difficult is it to train for a marathon?
There were days where it felt extremely hard, especially on Sundays, which were my long run day. You would wake up, it would be raining and I knew I really needed to dig deep to get out there.
The actual running was the easy bit, you increase gradually, mostly running longer each time at an easy pace.
Being lockdown, it was not an actual marathon I was running in so there were no drinks stops en-route. It was just me and the road.
I had my dad meet me three times with water at scheduled points passing water from the back of his car. We also do not have the luxury of any flat routes in Devon, so I spent the last 5k or so running up hill.
The benefits of running a marathon
Training fitted around work quite well, I would block the time out of my diary and colleagues and clients alike were not just accommodating but intrigued.
The most common response I got to saying I’m running a marathon was “I could never do that”.
Back before I started, I was firmly in that camp too. I hated running, the most I had run was a 10k, and not quickly. Just because you cannot do it now, it does not mean you cannot ever do it.
I still run, but not as quick as before, but I am also not hating it quite so much. I would like to do an organised marathon one day, although my wife is enjoying me helping with the kids on Sunday mornings for the minute!
Helping society’s most vulnerable
Emily Bird (previously Jenkins), Private Banker, shares her journey volunteering for mental health service Shout 85258.
Coaching female runners
Tracey Stronghill is a Senior Commercial Banker based in our Exeter office. As a running coach, she spent much of 2021 empowering women through sport and suppoting those at the frontline of the COVID-19 battle.