A marathon endeavour for Emma Crosby

The Channel Five news presenter is running the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, raising money for the charity Wellbeing of Women (www.wellbeingofwomen.org.uk). She told Zoe Strimpel how she feels to be taking part in one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

City A.M.: Why did you decide to run the marathon?
Emma Crosby: I decided to do a challenge a year – to put myself out of my comfort zone. I wanted to do it last year but I couldn’t even run for a bus.

So you really weren’t much of a runner before? How did you get started?
Honestly, I was breathless after ten minutes. I began running last spring and then started doing five and 10 ks – I did the Great North Run in September – and I thought: If I can do that, I can do the marathon.

What did you do for training?
I only started training for the marathon after Christmas – I did a 10-week intensive training plan. My first training run was in South Africa on a game reserve. I’d run past elephants with a ranger in a jeep behind me. I also did a lot in the hot and hilly terrain of Cape Town. So when I got back here, all that training in 35 degree heat gave me a good level of base fitness.

How do you feel now?
I feel great. To be able to run 10k and still feel normal is a wonderful feeling.

What have you enjoyed most about the training – apart from getting fit?
Being able to eat whatever I want – that’s been good. I’ve discovered a new love of pasta and porridge. Though I do have to make a conscious effort to drink more water.

With your busy schedule, how did you find time to train?
You just have to make the time. I am the biggest ditherer – but you just have to put your trainers on and go. I haven’t had a weekend in months where Sunday has been free from a long run. During the week, I do shorter interval training runs. Back when I was doing early shifts I was feeling rubbish – but just by putting my trainers on I felt better.

How do you ward off boredom?
Really hard – I hit a training wall recently. I got bored of music I was listening to and tired of running on my own. But music is a great help - Coldplay and the Killers seem to be my favourite. Also – go somewhere that’s really pretty. I’ve been running on the tow path on the Thames – on a sunny day it can be gorgeous.

What’s your biggest fear for Sunday?
The unknown – I’ve never done anything like this before – and how painful it’s going to be. I’ve never done the full 26 miles.

How will you celebrate after?
Bottle of champagne on ice!