Three officers from Merseyside Police’s Community Policing Team in Wirral have pledged to take on the 2020 London Marathon!
Sergeant Alan McKeon, Constable Diane Park and Constable Nathan Wilkes will all run the 26.2 mile challenge in April next year, as part of the marathon’s 40th anniversary.
Sgt. McKeon and Con Park are hoping to raise a minimum of £1750 each for Crimestoppers, whilst Con Wilkes is fundraising for Claire House Children’s Hospice, hoping to raise at least £3000.
We chatted with the officers to find out how training is going, their motivation for taking part, and to find out any advice they have for aspiring runners.
How many marathons have you run?
AM: I’ve only ever ran one marathon before, in London 2019.
DP: I have never run a Marathon before, in fact the furthest I’ve ever run is 7.2 miles, as part of my current training.
NW: I have previously ran the London marathon twice, in 2018 and 2019!
What inspired you to begin running marathons or other long-distance running events?
AM: My inspiration was to raise awareness and money for charity. I am also doing it for personal goals, to increase my fitness and inspire others to do the same.
DP: I watch the London Marathon every April and always feel inspired by the runners of all abilities, never imagining I would run one myself! After Al and Nathan completed the Marathon this April, I was truly inspired and also encouraged to fill in the application form. I have been assured that my fitness level will greatly improve, so this is also great encouragement for me!
NW: I wanted to keep fit during the winter months, and I enjoy long distance running. I believe it is very good for your mental health. I just listen to my music and switch off!
When does training for the 2020 event begin? If you have already begun, how is it going?
AM: I have started low level training; just 2 – 3 mile runs at a steady pace to improve conditioning alongside a longer run mixed in to work on the aerobic side.
DP: I have been maintaining 2-3 miles, on average 3 times per week, with a couple of longer runs every few weeks. My most recent run being 7.2 miles with Al on 2nd October. I am enjoying seeing my progress, which is slow but steady.
NW: I haven’t started training yet! I will start in the middle of October nice and easy to begin with and then increase distance in the New Year.
Alan and Nathan, you ran the London Marathon in 2019, what were your times and are you hoping to set new personal bests?
AM: My time for London 2019 was 4 hours 42 minutes. I would love to get under 4 hours 30 minutes but just finishing ahead of Nathan would be nice!
NW: I ran the 2018 marathon in 5 hours, and the 2019 marathon in 4 hours 34 minutes. I would love to knock another 20 minutes or so off in 2020!
Why did you choose to run for Crimestoppers / Claire House Children’s Hospice?
AM: As officers, we recognise that sometimes people do not want to report crimes to the police. Crimestoppers is an independent charity that gives people the power to speak up and stop crime – 100% anonymously. My team and I work with Crimestoppers daily and we see the value of information provided to them and how we can put it into practice by targeting offenders, executing search warrants and bringing justice to those who commit crimes. I am incredibly keen to promote that work and to make the community we serve a much safer place.
DP: As a community officer, I see the impact crime at all levels has on local residents and business premises. Crimestoppers provides a platform for them to report crime and disorder 100% anonymously, it is invaluable in assisting me in my role. Intelligence led policing is vital for policing in general and crime stoppers allows people to speak up & stay safe.
NW: My nephew Elliot Wild passed away in 2010. He had fought a long battle with leukaemia and spent his final hours in the children’s hospice ‘Claire House’. The support the hospice provided before and after he passed away was incredible. As a family we have raised money for Claire House and will continue to do so in Elliot’s name.
Any tips for beginners or aspiring marathon runners?
AM: For aspiring runners, you need to prepare well for a marathon. Training should start early but your build up in respect of distance and pace needs to be slow and steady. Try not to be breaking personal bests or increasing distance too soon or this could lead to injury and set you back. Be patient, train regularly and don’t find excuses not to train. You need to train in all-weather so invest in the right kit, but most importantly of all, enjoy it!
DP: “There is no way I could ever run a Marathon!” This is exactly what I told myself back in April & look at me now! Mentally and physically preparing myself for what is going to be the biggest challenge of my life, I’m excited, anxious and determined all at the same time. I will definitely take on board all of the advice from Al and Nathan, in regards to pace and distance, the right running shoes, cold and wet weather kit and most importantly ensuring I am boosting my immune system.
NW: Start with small runs and build your level of fitness before increasing your distances and aim to peak at the right time!
If you would like to offer support to the officers, you can donate to their Just Giving links below: