Marathon Man – James Doyle

We interviewed James Doyle who is running the London Marathon in April this year to raise funds for our CRY Screening Day on the 18th April 2020.

Q1. What’s your connection with Raiders?

I have been a Raiders Parent for 7 seasons now with my two boys. My oldest son George plays for the U13 Blue Team, where he generally plays in the midfield. Henry is in the U10 White team where he plays in many positions. They both love their football and playing with their friends at Raiders. Sunday afternoons are normally easier in my house if they have won and/or scored!

Q2. Have you run a marathon(s) before?

Yes, I have ran two marathons previously, which were both in Paris. This was in 2015 and 2016. I did the Paris marathon due to the heavy French influence where I was working at the time and that it was much easier to get into. It was still a big marathon with c 60000 entrants. For those marathons we raised money for Macmillan and it was great to make it a weekend in Paris! In 2014, I completed it in 3hrs, 35 mins and the following year I “improved” to 3hrs, 32mins.. Paris was a really good experience, as there was a lot of support on the street of Paris and some of the running scenery was fantastic, especially finishing at the Arc De Triomphe, apart from the cobble stones for the last part! Nothing prepared me for the final 2 miles each year or for how hard walking downstairs would be the next day! Although i did Paris, London is the marathon that i have always wanted to do and i have applied many time in the ballot and never been successful. I was absolutely delighted to get the place in the ballot from Raiders!

Q3. What time are you hoping to achieve?

This year, my goal for London is to run under 3hrs, 30 mins. I am obviously 4 years older, so whether that is possible I am not sure, but that is the goal! I am confident on the distance, it’s just whether I have enough in the legs to run a bit quicker for the last 2 miles than I did last time. Maybe the reduced travel will help me and I can relax more on the Saturday before!

Q4. What’s your training programme involve?

So far, I have been focused in November and December to increase the amount of running I was doing. Although I keep generally fit by doing circuits based training (BMF in Hemel) and gym work, normally I only run once a week on a Sunday. So for the past 6 weeks, I have increased the running to around 3x a week and to about 15/20 miles. If I look at my training last time, I joined Tring Running Club and really just focussed on increasing the amount of miles per week in line with established marathon training plans. This time, I am trying to mix up the types of running to include for speed work, hills and tempo running. I have started now going to the track on a Monday night to help with the speed work. I will always end up with a long run on the Sunday around Raiders commitments. Last Sunday, I had done 10.5 miles in the morning, so I wasn’t too keen to ref afterwards! 😊 As I progress ahead with the training, I have a number of races pencilled in like the Berkhamsted Half and the Gade Valley marathon runs from Boxmoor, which are fantastic. I may also do a 21 mile race in Cranleigh 3 weeks before the big day. My biggest challenge apart from fitting in all the running, is trying to become more consistent with my stretching and using the dreaded foam roller! Avoiding injury is going to be really important!

Q5. Feeling confident?

As confident as you can feel at this stage! It’s good to know that the 10 mile distance is done but with previous marathons it was getting above 15 miles which is the key and that training can be really tedious, hard and time consuming.  But it just has to be done!

Q6. Any tips for anyone contemplating a marathon?

I think everyone knows it is not going to be easy, whether you are out there for 3, 4 5 or 6 hours.. The key for me is to have a plan and be consistent. You have to commit to it, because when it starts to hurt, it’s not at all pleasant.  If you can avoid doing all of your training on your own, that will definitely help. I would recommend the Gade Valley Marathon training runs, which get you 12 miles, 17 miles and 20 miles with a great group and you get fantastic cakes at Boxmoor cricket club afterwards! Probably good to get some regular sports massages in aswell!

Q7. And finally, why is raising money for CRY screening day important to you?

I was so happy when I got the Raiders place as obviously doing the London Marathon is a fantastic opportunity but also the chance to raise money to support local kids to get screened is fantastic. Its not often when you raise money for charity, that you can see exactly where the money goes, but with this we know that 100 kids from the local area will be screened which could save lives! I think it is fantastic that Raiders have taken the initiative and have been doing this for a number of years now. It’s something that I would want my 3 children to be part of in the next few years when they are old enough, so hopefully we can raise a lot of money via the marathon this year!


If you would like to support James and raise funds for our CRY Screening Day you can donate here:


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