From our own correspondent: Marathon runner competes clad in chemicals

Fashion dilemmas of a marathon runner

10 May 2010 00:00  [Source: ICB]

To wear and what not to wear is a fashion dilemma faced by most modern working women, but in my wildest dreams I did not imagine that I would spend so much time deliberating about what I would wear on Sunday April 25, the day of the London Marathon.

During my marathon training in the harsh winter months, I rose before dawn, listening to the gentle breathing of my three young children and the loud snoring of my not so young husband. While I left them sleeping, plenty would be going through my mind.

Would I be fit enough to run the full 26.2 miles (42km)? Would my recurring Achilles injury flare up early on in the run? Would it rain and my feet be covered in blisters as a result? Should I wear my old faithful Asics running shoes or my whiter-than-white yet-to-be-broken-in new pair? What if it was too hot and I collapsed with dehydration? How would I feel when I saw my family at the 19 mile point? Would I reach my fundraising target of £3,000 ($4,512, €3,542)? These were just some of the questions running through my mind - pardon the pun.

In answer to many of them - in particular, what to wear - the chemical industry came up trumps. I was covered in chemicals from head to toe: adipic acid in my shoe soles, Lycra running shorts, a breathable polyester running vest, not to mention the most expensive socks I have ever purchased, but boy did they do the job - not a single blister.

I deliberated on the sock purchase but the Hilly saleswoman assured me that the double breathable layer would see me through all terrains and weather. And indeed the "flat seamless toe construction" helped prevent blisters. The inner sock contained hydrophobic polypropylene (PP), the outer sock micro polyamide. I couldn't believe a simple sock could be so technically complex.

I passed the finishing line in just under five hours. I had originally been following a "four months to a four-hour marathon" but, owing to all the injuries I suffered from the intense training, come the big day I was a wreck. And it wasn't just the love and support of my wonderful family and friends that got me through the grueling five hours and the previous months of training in the wind, rain and snow - it was just as much the PP and micro polyamide in my socks.

Read and comment on the blog

By: Julia Meehan
+44 20 8652 3214

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