Doing the Double

We caught up with “PB Queen” Katie Cartwright about her Double Marathon challenge.

Katie ran an awesome PB (3h.24m.17s) in the Manchester Marathon on Sunday 14th April then went and beat it again with a shiny new PB (3h.23m.57s) a week later in the TCS London Marathon on Sunday 21st April.

Q: How did you end up doing two marathons on consecutive weekends?

A: I completed Manchester 2023 and really enjoyed it so signed up to the early bird special for 2024.

I am new to the marathon world and started to learn about the Abbott World Marathon Majors which is 6 marathons across the world (London, New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin, Tokyo) and I wanted to set myself the challenge of completing them all (mainly because you get a really big medal at the end of the 6!).

Due to my time in Manchester, I qualified to enter via Good For Age for London and Boston this year so entered the ballot for both and was lucky enough to get a place in London, narrowly missing out on Boston as they cut the qualifying times due to the volume of entries.

Putting myself forward for both I knew I was potentially signing up for 2 marathons 6 days apart and a transatlantic flight apart!

As I didn’t get into to Boston and had signed up for Manchester, I thought I would keep with the 2 marathons back to back to give myself a different type of challenge!Q: How did you approach your training?

A: For those that know me, know that I am accident and injury prone!! But I am learning and so training has been a careful balance of running, strength work and rest.
There has been a lot of training to build “the engine” which entails running at a low heart rate to build the aerobic fitness. This coupled with speed work and then strength and conditioning to keep the muscles strong has been key.

I have also had the help of Kit at True Food to help with my nutrition plans and fueling strategies for the races. It has been a big learning curve as previous I did not fuel proper before, during or after races and so now the whole experience is much more pleasant!

Q: Any top tips for recovery?

A: SLEEP!!! I am a massive believer in getting as much sleep as you can! I can sleep through anything and am a serial napper! As well as this it was also important to put the fuel back in my body and start to build it back up ahead of the second race! I also did some gentle strength work and runs during the week to help the legs recover and get things moving again.

Q: What was the hardest part?

A: 2 parts spring to mind…

The walk back to the hotel from the finish line in Manchester which I did in my socks.. it was slow and painful as my legs had completely seized.

And then the 3.30am wake up on the Monday morning post Manchester to get my flight home.

Q: Which marathon did you prefer?

A: Both were very different but I would say London was a better run for me.

I struggled through Manchester due to a tweak in my hamstring which made me slow down and then it was a painful second half of the race counting down the miles to the finish.

London, I felt good running and had no issues with the legs so it was much more enjoyable. Given the volume of runners and the crowds, the miles slipped by very quickly (apart from the dreaded Canary Wharf that felt like it went on forever!)

Q: Would you ever do back-to-back marathons again?

A: Yes, it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

I think mindset is a massive factor – Manchester I had negative thoughts about my leg going through my mind and was dragging myself through the distance. I only had positive thoughts in London. I kept thinking about all these people that have done far more impressive things (Hardest geezers run across Africa comes to mind!) and I thought, if they can do that, I can get through this and that I should be grateful that I have the ability to complete something like this!

Q: What’s your next goal?

A: I now have one star for the majors with 5 more to go.. next up is Chicago in October and the plan is to keep chipping away at my time to allow me to qualify for the other majors in the next few years.

If this has inspired you, why not check out our race calendar and sign up for a local race. Our races are fun, friendly events, for all abilities, with distances starting at 5km and going up to 1/2 marathon.

Also read