Friday February 23rd

Laptop case by one side, a pair of trainers on the other, Councillor Mark Pengelly sits sipping on a cappuccino in Wolsey Place and paints the picture of work/life balance. Those trainers are a huge part of Mark’s life at the minute, as like many of us in Woking, he is training for the Surrey Half Marathon.

So with an opportunity to have a sit down chat with a man normally up on his feet running along the streets and parks of Woking, we pulled up a pew and got some training tips!

You’re a seasoned half marathoner – what keeps bringing you back to the Surrey Half Marathon?

MP: As running events go, the Surrey Half is rated as one of the best in the UK. With a stunning course and top quality organisation right on the doorstep, how could I resist?

It’s also a great opportunity to raise money for some fantastic local causes.

Can you tell us a bit more about the charity you are supporting?

MP: I’m running for Friends of Woking Community Hospital. They fund additional equipment and amenities for our local community hospital, and I know first-hand how important this facility is to the people of Woking. If jogging a few miles can help them continue to serve our community, then it’s an easy decision for me to run the Surrey Half.

How’s the training going?

MP: I love Italian food, so I’m happy to eat as much pasta as possible to get the carbs in – probably more than is strictly necessary! With three runs during the week and one longer run at the weekend to build distance, it’s important to keep the energy levels up. Starting at 4-5 miles in the early weeks and now pushing towards 10-12, so I’m training hard but keeping my diet quite relaxed – everything in moderation!

Any other tips for Well-Being?

MP: Enjoy the outdoors. Woking has so many beautiful green spaces, so make the most of them. The Basingstoke Canal is one of my favourite running spots, and you couldn’t ask for a nicer route.

And what about the half marathon itself? Any pearls of wisdom from a seasoned pro?

MP: I’m not sure I’d say pro! But what I would say is, whatever level you’re competing at, set yourself a goal. Might be just to finish the race or an overall amount of training. My goal this year is to complete the race in under 1 hour 45 minutes. Having a goal keeps you focused and will only heighten your sense of achievement when you cross the finish line.

And don’t forget taper time! Train hard, up to the full distance if you can, but give yourself 4-5 days to rest before the race.

Lastly, it’s a (half) marathon, not a sprint – so, pace yourself!

Thanks, Mark – and good luck!

To sponsor Mark in the Surrey Half Marathon, click here.


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