With 4 months to go before the Virgin Money London Marathon, we are counting down the days until the return of one of the biggest fundraising events of the year. To do just that, we’re kicking off a new blog series, finding out why people choose to run on #TeamJessie.

We recently sat down with Chris Southgate, Senior Manager from Nine Feet Tall – current Jessie May Corporate supporter – to discuss the difference between trail running and training for a road race, and how you can follow his journey to the big day in October.

What motivated you to run the London Marathon in 2021? 

I started running in late 2017 and really wondered why I’d not picked it up sooner! I prefer the trails, big hills and amazing views, but London really is an exception – and an absolute bucket list event for me. The timing of the conversation with Jessie May was just right, as I was looking for a big event to build up to after so many events were cancelled in the last year. 

Why have you chosen to run for #TeamJessie? 

#TeamJessie do such amazing work, and though I don’t have a personal connection, as a (reasonably) new father, the impact Jessie May can make really resonates for me. I’m super pleased to have been able to support Jessie May for the last 18 months through work, and am keen to keep supporting into the future. 

How is the training going? 

I’m lucky I’m in good shape now (it’s been a journey!) and have had a good training block over Winter and into the Spring. It’s four months to the Marathon from the end of May, so that’s when the Marathon specific training starts. I know I can do the distance, but having never done a road marathon I’m looking for a good performance. 

Can you share a memorable training run? 

I often spend Saturday evenings in the OS Maps app, creating a new route for a long Sunday run, usually on new trails and public footpaths through the Cotswolds – the problem is they aren’t always accessible, or more often go through farms. I’ve been chased by cows a fair few times, once even leaping over a stile to escape, only to be immediately chased by some geese protecting a manor house!  

What do you listen to during your runs? 

Sometimes I need to tune out, so I listen to various football, F1, running, adventure podcasts. But for a fair amount of those I need to ‘tune in’, so I’ll often run to process the day and just appreciate nature. If I’m running intervals, I’ll often put on some fast paced hip hop or rock/metal music. 

Where can people follow your training journey? 

 I’ve started a training blog over on Instagram, you can find me @beards_trails_plants. I’m also on Strava, where you can see all the various routes I run, and follow my Fundraising efforts over on my Virgin Money Giving page. 

You can follow our countdown to the London Marathon over on our social media; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

If you’re interested in signing up to any of our upcoming running events, please head over to our events page. We still have spaces for the Virtual London Marathon 2021 and we have places left for the London Marathon 2022 – so be sure to book yours today to avoid disappointment!