Running the London Marathon? Villagers from Harold give you their tips for completing the jog.


This year will again see villagers from Harold travelling to the capital city to take part in this year’s London Marathon. The course, which is 26 miles and 385 yards (or 36.232 Hectares in European), is a leisurely jog through the streets of the city going past many famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, the Bullring shopping centre and the SS Great Britain.

Here at the Evening Harold we admire those that take part in the jog, but as most of us were the last to be picked in any sport at school due to our impressively consistent lack of any fitness, we would rather stay in bed watching childrens’ cartoons.

But for those of you that are brave/stupid enough to be taking part, we have spoken to villagers that have taken part in previous years and asked for their words of advice and encouragement.

Elsie Duggan, 84

Elsie first ran the Marathon course in 1978, three years before the first official race in 1981. Despite competing with busses, cars, drug dealers and an occasional drink in pubs, she managed to get round the course in less that four days.

“If I had to give someone advice it would be; eat well before hand; take on lots of energy drinks, vodka and Red Bull should do the trick; and avoid the detour to Stringfellows. I am sure I lost 36 hours in there alone and found running the rest of the distance with £5 notes stuff in my bra a little on the uncomfortable side.”

Pippa and Dominic (call me Dom) Delaney

Being the only ‘townies’ in Harold, the Delaneys decided to do the run around London together to give their lungs the taste of city fumes they once loved and craved. They completed the course in 2009, crossing the line together in less than three hours. Pippa explains what motivated them to achieve such a great time.

“We found being familiar with London and more importantly Londoners gave us a great boost, particularly because the Londoners we were familiar with are the armed police that are hidden around the course. Some runners in warm weather complain of midges following them, but when your husband has been arrested trying to break into Buckingham Palace to give Prince Phillip a kiss during a nervous breakdown you don’t really notice the midges but are more aware of the lasers from the snipers’ sights on your forehead. That was great motivation. That and the promise of humous at the finish line”

Reverend Tansy Forster

In her black clothes, dog collar, and special power of forgiving sins, Rev Forster is the closest thing Harold has to a superhero. But even with her determination and having a certain omnipresent being on her side, she admits it was tough. Here she explains her coping mechanism for when things get tough.

“I spend every waking moment reminding people that God is always there, watching and supporting you and that is an important point to remember when running the Marathon, until mile 15, then you soon realise He decided to have a lie in. At this point I find swearing really helped me. Counting up to 100 f**ks (1 f**k, 2 f**ks, 3 f**ks etc) 3 times in a row covers about a mile and helps take your mind of the pain. Of course the louder the better and directing your swearing to anyone shoving a microphone in your face doubles the effect. The only thing that got me over the line in 2011 was calling Clare Balding a c**t at the Cutty Sark”

Eddie, landlord of the Squirrel Lickers Arms

Eddie is believed to be the most experienced Marathon runner in the village claiming to have completed every race since 1981 with no training and with nothing more than a pair of plimsolls, suspiciously tight shorts, and an Oyster Card. Having such a wealth of experience Eddie was full of insightful knowledge and had more advice than Clare Rayner, but after a late night and many hours consuming what we presume to be alcohol we picked what he calls his number one tip for anyone completing the Marathon

“Don’t dress up. You look like a cock.”

If you are running the Marathon we wish you the best of luck and will have a drink or two waiting for you at the bar.

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