Activities and Events June 8, 2017 by St Giles

Principal, Niall Chafey, Runs Brighton Marathon

Niall Chafey, Principal at St Giles Brighton, ran the Brighton Marathon earlier this year and raised money to donate to the St Giles charities. We decided to ask him a few questions to learn more about his first marathon experience.

So, Niall, why did you decide to run the Brighton Marathon in April this year?
Well, my wife ran the Brighton Marathon in 2016 and really enjoyed it and she recommended it to me. Also, I’m 50 later this year so I thought that this was a good time to do it. I also wanted to raise some money for the St Giles charities by getting people to sponsor me.

What running race experience had you had before the Marathon?
None. I hadn’t run a competitive race since the Egg and Spoon Race at school when I was seven!

So did you have to do a lot of training to get ready for the Marathon?
Yes. I started training in the autumn of 2016 to get ready for the race in April. I’d never run longer than 5km before so I had to gradually increase my distances as the training went on. I was doing two short runs a week of around 8km incorporating some hills and one long run each weekend, mainly on the flat, eventually getting up to 32km about a month before the Marathon.

Was it difficult to motivate yourself?
There were times in the middle of winter when it was very difficult to get out of bed and go for a long run in the dark and cold, but I found that once I was up and running it wasn’t too bad. I like running to music so it was a good excuse to listen to my favourite songs really loud without disturbing anyone else.

Did you get any injuries?
No. I was very lucky in that respect as I’d heard from a lot of friends how they’d got injured training for the Marathon in the past. I got some nasty blisters and I’ve got a horrible black toenail, but nothing more serious than that.

So, tell us about race day.
Well, I was quite nervous before the start as it was my first proper race. When we got under way I found it difficult running with so many other people as I’d done all my training on my own. After a few kilometres, though, everyone spaced out and it was easier. It was great running in my home town and I got a lot of support as I went round. It was a particularly hot day for running, 22 Celsius, so one of the biggest challenges was keeping hydrated. Everything went well enough until about 35km, when my legs turned to concrete and it became really difficult to keep going. I don’t think I overtook a single person in the last 7km!

And how did you feel afterwards?
Elated that I’d finished the race and that I did the whole distance without stopping and under my personal target time of four hours. I couldn’t sleep for the next two days, though, and had to walk sideways downstairs for a while as my legs were aching so much.

You mentioned the St Giles charities before. How much did you raise?
Well, thanks to the generosity of friends, family, students and colleagues, I raised over £1,200, which St Giles will treble so that we’ll be donating over £3,500 to charity.

One final question. Are you planning to run another Marathon?
No.

Thank you Niall, what an amazing achievement!