Cold mornings but no cold feet for EIA marathon man Mark

Today’s guest blog post is by EIA supporter Mark Fletcher, who’s currently out there braving freezing mornings and a tough training schedule in preparation to run the 2012 London Marathon to raise vital funds for us. You can encourage Mark and keep his enthusiasm burning hot by sponsoring him here.


In my salad days when I was a member of a local rowing club our coach would, akin to a broken record, repeat the mantra that winter training was what it was all about.

EIA 2012 London Marathon runner Mark Fletcher

Like any motivational speech, it works the first few times you hear it, but soon starts to sound more than a little hollow when there’s frost on the ground, it’s 7.30am and you’ve lost all feeling in your body.

That was a few years back when, as a young man, I could laugh such trivial matters off. However, fast-forward to the present day and those cold winter starts as I gear up my training for this year’s London Marathon trigger anything but joviality.

This is my second marathon. My first took place in Dublin at the end of October 2011 and involved a summer-long stretch of training which, when you removed the running element, was actually pretty nice. There’s something to be said for having the satisfaction of keeping fit while also topping up the tan at the same time.

Winter hadn’t properly kicked in when I was approached by the Environmental Investigation Agency to see if I would like to run the London Marathon on their behalf.

Despite having made a solemn vow never to run another 26.2 miles, I was flattered to have been asked. So flattered, in fact, that I did a complete U-turn and, blanking the cold winter starts from my mind, signed up!

This is the London Marathon after all, the golden chalice for relatively inexperienced distance runners such as myself. I remember being a part of the massive crowd when I watched a friend do it a few years back and thinking to myself “I want a slice of that”.

So here we are. It’s 2012 and the training has started in earnest. I did 13 miles last weekend, the longest distance I’ve run since the Dublin Marathon and, despite an unpleasant blister (I blame the new running shoes), I came through it okay.

However, that’s just the start of a long road. I’ve been here before, I know what I need to do over the next few months … I’m just blanking out the bit about it being winter.


Mark Fletcher

Mark Fletcher
EIA London Marathon runner