Marathon Monday: Meet the Runners Part 2 CBE
On 04 March 2018 In Running News

Marathon Monday: Meet the Runners Part 2

Welcome back to Marathon Mondays! We hope that your training is going well, and that you’ve found good alternatives in the inclement weather to keep your training ticking over. Any gruelling stories of death by treadmill?

Today, you get to know Kevin Oakes, our second club runner at the London Marathon. The club has 2 slots at the London Marathon, which are allocated annually through an application process around October, after those who were successful in the ballot have received their places. So without further ado: Meet Kevin!

Kevin Oakes

I’m Kevin Oakes, Full time manufacturing team leader for a leading packaging company as well as a part time coach/personal trainer and nutritionist.

Kevin Oakes 2What is your sporting back ground?

I have always been involved in sports since I was a child. I used to compete for GB in kickboxing until I broke my ankle at the age of 15. I then began road running at the age of 19 after completing my first 10k race which was the Two Castles from Warwick to Kenilworth Castle. After completing the Birmingham Half Marathon in the same year, I then decided to join Bourneville Harriers where I took part in XC and relay races. Bourneville Harriers helped me achieve my UK Athletics qualifications which then encouraged me to study Sports Science and personal training alongside my full time commitments. I then became coaching co-ordinator for the Harriers which involved me organising session plans, club routes, coaching rota’s and beginner courses.

The experience of running and taking these sessions for the club also helped me develop a connection with Birmingham City Council. Following this I started coaching coach Couch to 5 k and Couch to 10k sessions for Active Parks, Great Run and parklives. I enjoy helping others achieve their goals but seem to neglect my own athletic development in the process.  

I then decided to join BRAT where I have now been a member for about 4 to 5 years. Since joining the club I have never looked back and I’m proud to be with a successful club. Previously the furthest I have run was 24 miles in preparation for the Paris marathon. I had to pull out due diabetic complications.

What is your goal for the Virgin London Marathon?

My goal for London is to complete the course in around 3 hours and 15 minutes. This is based on my training time for a half marathon. I’m also looking to enjoy the experience more as my previous marathon attempt had left a scar in my own thought pattern which left me scared to run long distance. I would like to break this fear and stay motivated which I then hope will benefit my half marathon and 10k times.

What does your weekly training look like?

My training is not really set as I only do as much as my body will allow. I learnt a valuable lesson from my previous failed attempt in which I set all my training in stone whether or not I was in pain or tired. I now listen to my body and alter my training depending on how I feel. Currently I feel very strong as my training consist of 2 days steady runs, 1 long run and 1 speed session along with a race. I also attend the gym 5 times per week with the aim to develop and maintain muscle endurance, strength and flexibility.

Have you got a preferred running time and why?

I prefer running first thing in the morning over the weekends. However, sometimes due to work I do not have a chance to do this, so the evening will need to do.



Any quirky habits when running?

I have an addiction to running shoes and very unusual running clothes. Over the past 3 months I have purchased 4 pairs of shoes, 2 of which I have not worn yet. This is handy as you are meant to switch your shoes around, but I can say this is becoming a bit of an addiction now.

Also due to many years of running to Linkin Park, I have developed a strange habit of touching my left and right ear while running. I think this really developed through rubbish ear phones that were constantly falling out, but it’s one habit which has stayed.

What’s the best and worst part of running?

The best part of running is when you feel that you have plenty of energy and the crowds are cheering you on. With regards to the worst part, in my experience it is being in hypo and trying to get to the finish. This is something I can imagine a lot of diabetic athletes have experienced and it can be very scary at the time.

What do you think about when you are running?

I constantly think about my technique and how my foot is hitting the pavement. I also like to enjoy the sights and sounds of the environment around me. For example, the best race so far in my experience was the Rocky Mountain Half Marathon just due to the sounds of nature and the snow all over the mountains. Probably my slowest half marathon but I just did not care about pace or the race entirely as the experience was amazing.

What are your favourite pre-race meal and postrace treat?

Usually for morning running it would be porridge and banana. For a mid-day race I would usually have toasted bagels. As for my post-race treat this is where I’m very boring. It’s got to be a Venti Skinny Latte with sugar free vanilla syrup and a protein bar.

Why are you doing this, what motivates you?

I have a few reasons as to why I’m doing the London Marathon. One of these reasons is for my own personal challenge as I would like to prove to myself that I can do the distance. The failure of my first attempt made me beat myself up and made me question my own ability as well as my coaching knowledge. One question kept going through my mind when I failed “How can you advise someone when you can’t do it yourself?”. I still ask myself this question when I do not achieve what I expect out of a race or from an assignment, but somehow pull myself together when someone I have coached smashes their own goals or expectations.

I’m also involved with diabetes research at the Queen Elizabeth hospital. My experience and journey towards the London Marathon will help other diabetics prepare for such endurance events. This will help the centre at the hospital better understand diabetic athletes and what treatment or regimes can be implemented to assist others to achieve their best .



Good luck, Kevin!

Come back in two weeks, when we hve one of our marathon training posts again.

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