Dovetail Diary: Suzi’s Marathon

how running can help with your career recruitment agency dorset

The London Marathon should have been happening this past weekend, but due to current events, it has been postponed until Sunday 4th October 2020. But we thought, what better an occasion to share Suzi’s Dovetail Diary on her experience and journey running the marathon in 2012. Suzi is the only one in the Dovetail office (so far!) to have completed a marathon and we’re all a little in awe. She also thinks there’s a great crossover with what she experienced and how she trained, to business and your career. At the end we’ll look at how running can help your career. So without further ado…

Dovetail career break, quotation marks


This experience was one I will never want to forget for different reasons, with many emotions and memories.


Here’s Suzi’s story:

‘In April 2011, after being wowed by emotion, crowd support and charity spirit, I applied for the marathon through the public ballot. For those who have tried (my Husband Marc being one for many years) will appreciate it is difficult. I was surprised when I received that all important ‘red pack’ through the post in October 2011, confirming my application has been successful. So, then it was really happening! I decided I would be running for a charity close to my family’s hearts, Diabetes UK.


Apart from taking part in fun 5k or 10k’s, I hadn’t done any long distance running so this really was a huge challenge for me. Once I had been accepted, I decided to start training straight away and I would have 5 months to clock up those miles. My first long run was only 8 miles. I was trying not to worry too much about the distance I still needed to achieve, or push myself too quickly, as I didn’t want to end up getting injured before I’d even started. My training consisted of two shorter runs during the week, and a longer run at the weekend. Over time my fitness improved, I got stronger, and in the New Year was running 12-16 miles at a time. By March, I conquered the 20-mile run from where I lived in Merley, to Poole Park and back again.

One week to go!

how running can help with your career


The week before was a roller coaster of emotions. By this point it was too late to train anymore, and I was having to rest my feet to prevent my blisters getting any worse. The weather forecast was looking good for both runners and the spectators.

I had done some research on meal plans and carb-loading a few days before. I decided I would wear my running gear, what I had been training in, and I had stocked up on anti-blister plasters! I bought some support tape for my knee to prevent any further injury as it had been niggling me for some time.

The day before, I remember feeling very anxious at the Excel Centre collecting my number. But I was also really uplifted and encouraged by the vibe, surrounded by thousands of fellow runners all probably feeling the same things. There was a wall which had pace time bands, and this intrigued me.

When registering for the marathon I put down a 5 – 6 hours expected time, so I knew I needed to average around 11-minute miles to achieve a sub 5-hour finish.

On the day

The day us runners had all been waiting for had arrived, and not sleeping particularly well I woke with buckets of self – doubt. I was on edge and Marc could sense that; he gave me a huge reassuring smile with a thumbs up. I arrived at Greenwich in good time and it was busy, but the crowd didn’t panic me and instead gave me huge amounts of excitement and encouragement. I shuffled forward into my pen, and at that point the crowd was going wild as I reached the starting line.

The Marathon

During the race, emotions were high. Something I did that really helped was to tune out the runners around me, which kept me focused on my own performance. I kept an eye on some key metrics like my pace and distance covered, and during the first 10 miles I was running quicker than in my training. I had my name on my back and the crowd were amazing, calling out with encouragement. I realised I had to slow down to prevent being burnt out too quickly.

Dovetail career break, quotation marks


One of my absolute favourite moments was the halfway point across Tower Bridge.  It was so loud, and the atmosphere was electric. It was an unforgettable experience!



At mile 21 I had a walking break and I was struggling at this point, but I had the little boost I desperately needed seeing my Sister. She said she was proud of me and that I was doing great and with that I picked up my pace slightly. My pace quickened again at mile 25 and in the distance could see Buckingham Palace. I was on the home stretch and I will never forget that feeling when I could see the finishing line! My feet were so tired, and I was a bubbling wreck with emotion. With the crowd behind me every step of the way, I couldn’t believe I had done it in 4:50. It was an amazing day!’


Wow Suzi! What an incredible achievement. You’re inspiring me to start running a bit further and I’m sure the same goes for the rest of the Dovetail team! So what are Suzi’s thoughts on how running can help with your career and the cross over between the two?

How running can help with your career & mindset:

  • Training is building capability over time – much like your career or learning.
  • The competitive spirit you find while running races is great. Channelling this to work will help you achieve results through hard work, resilience and a positive mind set
  • Endorphins! The feel good chemicals in your brain are boosted when doing any sort of exercise. This makes running a great mood booster and enables you to perform better not just at work, but in general day to day.
  • The satisfaction of completing a challenging run, long or short, is similar to the satisfaction gained when taking on a project or task that challenges you at work. Keeping yourself motivated and driven throughout is the key in both of these things. That hard work will pay off and you’ll feel great when you see the results.
  • It’s a great stress buster. Going for a run can help clear your mind, reset your outlook and beat the stress you’ve brought home from work.

Related Dovetail Articles:

Francesca’s Dovetail Diary: Taking a career break
Laura’s Dovetail Diary: Optimism and hard work pays
Liz’s Dovetail Diary: You’re having twins!

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