3 January 2024

Couch to marathon runner in eight months

Alan Hardwick from the Isle of Wight has set himself the challenge of going from a couch to running the ABP Southampton Marathon in just eight months.

“Earlier this year, my partner’s daughter gave birth to twin boys, Tommy and Charlie, at 24 weeks, but sadly Tommy passed away in the neonatal intensive care unit in Princess Anne Hospital, Southampton.


We are very grateful for everything the unit did for Tommy and for the care that Charlie received during his five months in hospital. I am pleased to say that Charlie is now at home making great progress with his family.

Tommy filled his family hearts with so much love during the short time he was with us, which inspired me to raise money for Southampton Hospitals Charity.

I wanted to do something that would mentally and physically challenge me which is where I came up with the idea to not just do a couch to 5k, but to increase this to a full marathon distance. I hope to inspire others to do something outside their comfort zone!

My aim is to complete my training, culminating at the ABP Southampton Marathon on 7 April, and to continue raising money for the Charity by taking part in a new challenge on 18 August by completing an Ultra Marathon.

My training

I have never been a runner, but I have played Rugby for several years. Running was never something that I enjoyed during Rugby training sessions, which made it ever more surprising that I have now taken up running!

In early September, I started walking first to build up my stamina and then over time I started to add running into my walking schedule until I could run 5K without walking. I have also noticed the positive benefits to my physical and mental health which is great and make it worth all the hard work.

For anyone in the new year who is thinking of starting to run, I would just encourage you to take your time and build up your fitness first with walking, then later incorporate running and walking together. Finally, when ready, do join local events such as a 5K parkrun which you can run or walk.

I found that I needed targets to motivate myself and I booked several events starting from 5K up to the full Marathon distance which has helped me build up my running distance.

I also found by running for charities and telling friends and family has helped motivate me.

This Christmas I managed a 10-mile event and a half marathon which has helped build my confidence, and I use them to try out my hydration plan for the marathon. I have also incorporated cross training into my training program to help build my endurance and stamina levels to avoid running injuries through overuse.

I am so proud of what I have accomplished so far, and for raising money for my local hospital.”

Sign up to ABP Southampton Marathon today

ABP Southampton Marathon is the flagship sporting event on the South Coast, offering runners 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon distances. There is still time to get training, so sign up today for your discounted Charity space.

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