MEDICAL HISTORY - If you have any medical problems which make it a risk for you to run a full marathon (26.2 miles) or a half-marathon (13.1 miles) discuss these with your general practitioner - particularly if your family has a history of heart disease or sudden death, or if you have had any symptoms of heart disease such as chest pain or discomfort on exertion, sudden shortage of breath or rapid palpitations.  This Advice supplements anything he or she says.


Any runner with an existing medical problem that might require special attention, such as epilepsy, diabetes or a history of heart problems, should have declared this on their entry form. If you have such a condition please mark a LARGE CROSS IN RED FELT-TIP PEN on the front of your race number




NOTE - If you cannot easily run 6 - 7 miles comfortably, with a month to go before the race, you are unlikely to manage the marathon or half-marathon in safety or to enjoy it.  Please do not run on this occasion.


FLUIDS - You must replace fluids lost in sweat, otherwise your body becomes dehydrated and less efficient.  Drink plenty of fluids after training and during the race, especially in the first half.  Alcohol is dehydrating.  A pint of beer produces more than a pint of urine.  Spirits have a worse effect.  So take plenty of non-alcoholic drinks, especially before the race and in hot weather.  Drink enough to keep your urine pale straw colour and abundant.


DIET - Eat what suits YOU.  Large doses of supplementary vitamins and minerals (such as iron) are not essential and produce no benefit if you are on a good mixed diet, but additional vitamin C in small doses is reasonable when fresh fruit and vegetables are in short supply.  Training helps you to sustain a high level of muscle glycogen if you eat a lot of carbohydrate.  If you can, eat within two hours of your long runs, this helps replace the glycogen.  Before you run the marathon or the half-marathon, decrease your intake of protein (meat) and increase your intake of carbohydrate (pasta, bread, potatoes, cereals, rice and sweet things), especially in the last three days when you should be reducing your mileage and resting.  Unless you reduce the protein you will not eat enough carbohydrates.  Carbohydrate (glycogen) depletion and then loading does not help all runners and can make your muscles feel very heavy.


ON THE DAY - Make sure that your friends or relatives know your race number and estimated finishing time. Do not run if you feel unwell or have just been unwell.  Most medical emergencies occur in people who have been unwell but do not wish to miss the start.  If you feel feverish, have been vomiting, have had severe diarrhoea or any chest pains, or otherwise feel unwell, it is unfair to you, your family and the race support staff to risk becoming a medical emergency and you are unlikely to do yourself justice.  There are many other marathons and half-marathons.


Wear appropriate clothes for the weather.  On a cold wet day you can become very cold if you have to slow down or walk.  A hat and gloves help prevent heat loss and are easily carried.  If it is hot, wear loose mesh clothing, START SLOWLY and run in the shade.  Start the race well hydrated (urine looks pale) and drink whenever you can, especially in the first half of the race when you may not feel thirsty as you loose a lot of fluid ‘insensibly’.  This will help you feel better late in the race and may prevent cramp.  Cramp is most common in runners who have not trained sufficiently or are dehydrated.  Do not gulp large volumes of liquid.


AT THE FINISH - Do not stand about getting cold.  Keep walking, especially if you feel dizzy, and drink as much fluid as you can to replace that which has been lost.  Do not trust your clothing to someone else, use the baggage store.  As soon as you can, change into dry warm clothes.  Keep on drinking and have something to eat.  Some runners feel faint more than half an hour after finishing the race - often because they have taken insufficient fluid at the finish.  A post-race massage service is available (for a small charge), this can help relax and stretch muscles and reduce post-race soreness.


MEDICAL AID - Train sensibly.  Follow this simple advice and you will probably not need medical aid.  St John Ambulance will be providing First Aid around the course and at the Start/Finish.  If you need to drop out and cannot easily make your way back to the finish on foot, stop at any First Aid point, drinking or sponging station or marshal point.  A vehicle containing blankets and drinking water will sweep up’ at the back of the field and will return you to the finish area.




Enjoy your running.  Keep this advice sheet and refer to it before the day and on the day before the race starts