Yes it’s that time of the year again, the Marathon season begins with the London event this weekend, with Manchester and other city events taking place across the country as people of all shapes and sizes in various types of outdoors gear compete to complete distances they wouldn’t even drive, never mind run. So here are a few tips from the great and the good, so that’s everyone then, who have completed a long distance run whether for glory or to raise money for  great cause.

Paula Radcliffe, one of the greatest female long distance runners this country has produced, is a world record holder at the marathon and offers this advice, as everyone will have a difficult period in the race it is important not to panic and to keep focused. Think about the moment , so whether it’s counting the landmarks as you pass them, counting to yourself or singing to yourself do something to keep yourself occupied and focused rather than thinking about the distance you still have to travel. Disappear into your own little world and concentrate on yourself, but don’t forget to use the support of the crowd to keep you going, especially in the latter stages. Don’t look at a clock; simply concentrate on going forward and reaching the finish.

The oldest runner in the race is a sprightly 89 and has competed since 1991 and has finished every time. His only missing year was 2004 and that year he had the excuse of that he was recovering from a heart attack. His sound advice, to me at least, when asked what kept him going was ‘to get behind a nice bum and follow it as long as possible’. He was joking, but I notice he always has a smile on his face when you see him in the race. An amazing competitor who raises money for a local hospice.

Advice from a professor who has worked on 22 Comic and Sport Relief challenges must know a thing or two about this step forward Professor Whyte. What is important is remaining positive, be confident in your own ability but not arrogant. Hitting the wall is a well used expression but it usually happens when your energy is at its lowest  so make sure you run at the right pace, don’t get carried away by the occasion, and make sure you take on board fluid and fuel – little, often and early. Remember to keep putting one foot in front of the other; great journeys are made with small steps – sound advice indeed.

So whether you are racing to win, setting a personal best, or you are aiming to get round so you can collect that all important sponsor money, make sure your outdoors gear is right for you and take it steady and the finish will appear before you know it. Good Luck to all those who are taking part.