My First Marathon: John Lunt

Anyone who has been around the triathlon scene will have heard of Human Race – the race event company founded by John Lunt in 1990. They created popular events such as Windsor Triathlon, Kingston Breakfast Run and the BallBuster. John was in charge of the 2002 Commonwealth Games Triathlon in Manchester and then delivered the highly successful, and memorable, Olympic Games Triathlon in London 2012.

John now runs Bspoke Events who organise the Brighton Triathlon and the very exciting Brighton Run2Music 5k, 10k and half marathon on Sunday 11th May.

What sort of running did you do before your first marathon and how long had you been running?

I did my first triathlon in 1984, so got into running to get ready for that. The running club had marathon runners so I latched onto them and London was always the aim but I couldn’t get in.

When was your first marathon?

Rotterdam 1985

How long in advance did you agree or commit to do it?

Probably 6 months before.

What was the impetus for doing it? Who or what inspired / encouraged you to do it?

As above, it was the initial marathon boom and lots of good runners were around which pushed me hard to run better and longer.

What was your first thought when you had said ‘yes’?

It was one of those life bucket list things to do. I just got carried away and did lots…

Did you plan to follow a structured training schedule? Did you follow it?

Yes, in the early days we did 3 week blocks of building up distances and long runs. It seemed to work for me.

Did someone coach you?

The other runners in the club…!

Were there others around you (friends / club mates / family) who were also training for a marathon? Did you train with friends? Were you a member of a club?

Yes, I was a member of Stragglers Running Club in Kingston.

Tell us about some of the highs and lows of the training

Winter training is always tough, especially in the rain and snow. Consistency is always the key and a good group of running friends around you to keep you motivated helps.

Did you use a mantra to help you get round?


Did you stretch / warm up before, after or both?

A little but probably not enough.

Were you injured during your training and how did you cope/recover?

Fortunately no injuries, and I think triathlon training helped massively in this.

Can you remember much about the week leading up to the race?

Always exciting and wondering what the weather would throw at you.

Did you have a target time? If so, what was it?

My first target was just to get round, after that was to run quicker and get close to that magic 3 hour mark.

Tell us about race day – any particular memories?

It was a long time ago! I remember it was cold and windy on a very flat course.

Did you have a lucky charm with you or superstition that you follow on the day?


Was it harder than you expected, about what you expected or not as bad as you thought it might have been?

Harder than I expected, especially the last 10km when the wheels started to fall off.

What time did you do in the end?

I think the first one was 3:45.

On crossing the line did you think “yes!” or “never again!”?

Never again every time…!

If “never again” how long did it take to change your mind?

Usually a couple of days after when the pain has gone.

What were your highs and lows of the marathon experience itself?

The high is always finishing. The low is before, thinking what you are going to go through to get to the finish line.

What lessons did you learn about pacing?

Set yourself a realistic goal and find other runners you can run with at that pace.

How did you recover / celebrate?

I can’t remember. I think went out for a few beers after to keep the legs moving.

In hindsight, what do you wish you’d known before the race that you know now?

How hard it is and how stiff you are on Monday morning, walking backwards down the stairs….!

Have you done marathons or other endurance events since? How many, which ones etc?

I ran 45 marathons, did 9 long distance triathlon including Ironman Kona and and IM Canada. Nice long distance triathlon 9 times.

Did you parkrun before your first marathon – or do you now?

Yes I run parkrun with the dog. It’s a great event to get you up and out at the weekend. I did the 4th one in Bushy Park 14 years ago.

What four pieces of advice would you give to some thinking about doing a marathon?

  • Join a running club and talk to people you have done them for advice.
  • Allow 9 months preparation by doing lots of events to get your body/legs ready for the battering they are going to get.
  • Have a number of pairs of running shoes on the go and alternate wearing them. If you just have one pair you will destroy them and you should not use new shoes before the event.
  • Don’t try anything new at the event. Food, kit , shoes etc. just treat it as a long training run. (And remember: 20 miles is half way….!)


The Brighton Run2Music event will take place on 11th May. There’s a choice of distances: 5k, 10k and half marathon and you can enter HERE

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