Mark Hallas, our Chief Executive, is running his first ever London Marathon.

We asked him to tell us how his training is going and, like our other loyal fundraisers who will be running on the day, get a glimpse at some of the challenge he is facing during these final months of preparation. IMG_9032 updated

Why have you decided to run the London Marathon now?

Crimestoppers is proudly celebrating our 30th anniversary this year and the charity is going from strength to strength.  Last year we reached more than 400,000 people who trusted us with their anonymity and their vital crime information.

I must confess that running the Marathon is one of those bucket list things to do. I used to do a fair bit of running when I was younger – as in 30 years younger – and always thought I’d get round to running a Marathon but somehow it never happened. It struck me that running at aged 53 is better than 54 or 55.

The 30th anniversary has really helped concentrate the mind, having dodged it for the last year or two. So to be the Chief Executive running in Crimestoppers colours on the big day is a fantastic way to mark our 30 years of achievement.

How’s the training going?

After a pretty slow and steady start it’s not going too badly now. It’s quite a daunting prospect to run a distance that you’ve never run before in your life. I’ve approached it with a little bit of trepidation, but have been building up and am quietly confident that I can crawl round, come the day!.

In a previous life you were in the British Army. How will this compare to the military training you had?

I’m pretty good at setting up a schedule and sticking to it and am obviously used to putting my body in pains way on a regular basis. However, running the Marathon at 53 is somewhat different to doing it at 33. It’s taken me a lot longer than I thought getting used to just running, given that I used to run a lot in the past.

Will the mental challenges you faced during your time in the military help get you through this?

There is a psychological side and maybe that’s as big an issue. If you’re running as slowly as I do, you’re running for a long time. I did 16 miles yesterday and it took me 3 hours. It takes a bit of getting your head around. This is 2 movies that I could have watched or I could have flown to southern Spain in the time it’s taken to do this run. And on the day it’ll be another 10 miles on top. Yes, your body is reminding you that this is a serious physical challenge, but the psychological prep is almost as important.

Do you have a target time?

4 hours 59 minutes and 59 seconds. At least it starts with a 4 and not a 5. Our IT man Roy has significantly incentivised me to shorten that a bit on the grounds of donating an extra £1k. So a time of 4’ 45” is now the target. I can’t let Roy not part with his money!

What sacrifices have you had to make for your training?

I’ve been running since December, with a couple of months to go. The main sacrifice is time. It’s either early morning or late evenings when you’d rather be in bed, watching TV or eating a bag of chips. And I’ve occasionally been known to enjoy a drop of alcohol, that’s pretty much stopped since training, apart from Saturday after a long run; you have to have something to look forward to! You just don’t feel like running if you’ve got alcohol in your system. So it’s a good and bad thing in equal measure.

Will you listen to music while you’re running, if so what will be on your music play?

I actually enjoy running in quiet solitude. It helps to get your thoughts in order. I can enjoy the countryside and the views as I run and that does it for me. Metronomic trotting along, mind pretty vacant. It helps clear my head and towards the end of the run, you can enjoy the endorphin rush.

What’s the first thing that you eat or drink when you get to the finishing line?

I’m sure there will be a little bit of collapsing on the floor thinking I’ll never do that again!  A large glass of red wine and a couple of burgers will be a real after-run treat.

What would you say to our loyal Crimestoppers’ supporters who are also running for our charity?

A huge thank you. The sheer level of commitment and endurance to prepare and then run the London Marathon by our fundraisers is so encouraging. I never doubted that our work makes a difference in helping make our communities and workplaces safer, but knowing others are prepare to step up, run and fundraise for Crimestoppers is truly inspiring.

You can donate to support Mark, and Crimestoppers, on Mark’s JustGiving page.