Following on from his first ever marathon for Breast Cancer Care last year, QVC’s very own Rob Watkins is planning to run the London Marathon all over again this year. We managed to catch-up with him for a few minutes today and quiz him on his mission … before we ran out of breath and had to watch him dash off into the distance!
QG: How’s the training going?
RW: The training has been going pretty good so far, the odd niggle here and there but touch wood I’ve done enough. I’m doing shorter runs in the lead up; it’s all about staying fit and healthy now!
QG: Do you run every day?
RW: I run three or four times a week and play footy/squash as well to mix it up. Although I’ve stopped the footy for now as I kept getting kicked in the shins!!
QG: Tell us how you normally prepare for something like this.
RW: Cross my fingers…! I guess it’s about trying to get the miles in your legs so on the big day you’re physically and mentally prepared for what’s in front of you. I’m hoping doing it last year will help as I know what’s in store.
QG: Do you aim for a specific level of fitness?
Not as such, I’m a bit laid back for all that; I just do my own thing and hope it works out. I have a time in my head I want to achieve but we’ll see. Cramps are by far my biggest fear as it caused me all sorts of problems last year.
QG: Do you always train alone or do you have people/a person you tend to train most with?
RW: I tend to run a lot on my own, I love running along The Thames by Southbank as it takes your mind off the fact you’re running for hours!
This year I’ve also been running quite a lot with my friends Billy and Sam who work at QVC.
Billy joined in so he could train for a half marathon, which he ran recently and did amazingly. I was over the moon for him, as was he. He’d never done anything like it, so it was a massive achievement.
He’s kept the running going since, so hats off to him.
Sam (aka Mr. Motivator) doesn’t need much of a mention as he’s a seasoned pro, he generally does it with his eyes closed or moon walks it!
QG: How long have you been running marathons and how many have you run?
RW: This is my second marathon; I think I’ve caught the bug as I love the training and raising money for great causes. It’s nice to do something that will benefit others in the long-run, excuse the pun…
QG: Why do you love running so much?
RW: Believe it or not but I feel really good (not always) afterwards as it helps to clear your head. As I said before I love running around London with my music on and just taking in the sights. It gets you pretty fit as well and that can’t be a bad thing, it makes running for the bus or train easier.
QG: So you did the London Marathon last year, what’s so special about it?
RW: Everything really; the day itself is just an incredible experience; it’s hard to put it into words. Having thousands of complete strangers just cheering you on and turning out to be part of the day, is what makes it so special. It’s an emotional day and you really get a sense of why you’re doing it and that all the miles you’ve put in getting to this point are well worth it. People are running for so many great causes, it’s a privilege to be part of it to be honest.
I’m running again this year to raise even more money and help more people, we could all do more and this is my opportunity to do something positive. I’m also running the marathon again in memory of my Dad who sadly past away just before Christmas the year before last.
We decided as a family last year to raise money for another charity alongside Breast Cancer Care, so we chose Asthma UK, which I’ve suffered from for as long as I can remember. This year we’re raising money for FASD (Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders). My nephew Mason was adopted and has been diagnosed with FASD as a result of being exposed to prenatal alcohol. My Dad loved his three grandchildren so much, so it’s a fitting tribute. He was fondly known as Granddad Shrek!
QG: What’s your personal best?
RW: 4hrs 19mins. I was doing great until I literally ran into the dreaded ‘wall’ at around 20 miles last year.
QG: Will you beat that this year?
RW: That’s the plan and I best do, otherwise I’m going to be letting down a lot of people who’ve backed me to do just that on the sweepstake!
QG: You often help other people from QVC with their running challenges, what inspires you to help other people?
RW: It’s just a great thing to do, as I said before we could all help and do more, we’re all pretty lucky in the grand scheme of things. There are people who do a lot more than I do for charity. I wish I did more and something more regularly.
QG: Is it something you think everyone should try at least once?
RW: Why not? It’s an incredible experience but you’ve got to really want to do it, as it takes a lot of training and it’ll hurt at first (and at the end!!).
QG: Is crossing the finishing line always the best part or are there other elements along the run that you prefer?
RW: The other runners and the crowds throughout the course make it just an immense experience the whole time. Also passing so many iconic landmarks is pretty cool and running across Tower Bridge in the middle of the road is not something you get to do every day. Crossing the line was a great relief and very emotional last year.
QG: What’s the first thing you will do when you cross the finish line?
RW: Try not to collapse! Last year I couldn’t wait to find my mum and give her a big hug to celebrate the moment. She’d flown over from Spain and it meant a lot to both of us. My brother and his family are also coming this year, which I’m really excited about. A good few of my friends are also coming to watch to which will be fab. We’ll no doubt have a few sherbets afterwards!
QG: Although QVC supports Breast Cancer Care tell us what it means to you personally to run and raise money for them?
RW: Breast Cancer Care is a charity that is close to me through its connections at work and I’ve seen up close the incredible work the charity does in helping so many people. I have filmed at various events of theirs and had the privilege of dealing closely with people who are suffering with the effects of Breast Cancer. To hear how courageous these people are, you can’t help but get inspire to do something.
I also volunteer to man the phone on the QVC Breast Cancer Care evening. It is such great evening and I still can’t get over the generosity of the QVC customers who phone in to donate, some of them even apologise for not donating enough!
To support Rob please visit out Breast Cancer Care page – or why not head along to the marathon on the day and give him a big cheer to help him on his way!