Meet Mark #MarathonChallenge

January 30 2020 5 min read


Thousands of people will be taking part in the Virgin Money London Marathon on 26th April 2020. The famous event is an extremely difficult challenge for anybody, which is why we couldn’t possibly ask you to Discover Your Perfect Fit without challenging ourselves to do the same.

Our first team member is 31-year-old Mark Cumberbatch, who has been at DW Fitness First for 8 years in numerous Marketing roles. Outside of work, Mark attends the gym focusing on weight training on a regular basis – which is why we decided to push him out of his comfort zone and get his running trainers on!

We spoke to Mark to find out a little bit more about him and discover why he decided to take on the #MarathonChallenge and what he hopes to achieve from doing so…

What made you want to run the London marathon?

I have always been an avid gym-goer, attending the gym 4-5 times a week but always with a focus on weight training. However, in the back of my mind I have always thought that I would like to run a marathon in my life.

My first powerlifting competition in 2019 enabled me to tick something off my bucket list! It is safe to say it is definitely something I will return to in the future. After my powerlifting competition, I caught the bug of wanted to challenge myself mentally and physically, which meant I needed a new goal…

When the opportunity of running a marathon came up from New Balance, it terrified me, but it was an opportunity I could not turn down. Additionally, with the added benefit of having the opportunity to raise money for a cause I feel great affinity for, it was game on!

When the opportunity of running a marathon came up from New Balance, it terrified me, but it was an opportunity I could not turn down.

What is your usual training? 

My style of training has changed over the years from bodybuilding style training to powerlifting but has always been weight training focused. My training over the past twelve months has been very focused on explosive power – setting myself ‘1 Rep Max’ goals to achieve my goals in the powerlifting competition.

Cardiovascular training has never been my strong point, and I can safely say I had never run further than 5km run in my local park at a Sunday event.

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How will your training differ? 

My training will attempt to combine four weight-training sessions a week going into more of a maintenance phase. This is where I will aim to maintain strength and as much muscle mass as possible, whilst also following a structured marathon-training plan at the same time.

I’m not going to lie to myself, this is essentially a ‘5km to marathon’ in terms of my current ability levels, but it’s a challenge I know I am capable of and I’d like to demonstrate that anybody can achieve a challenge like this.

Do you keep track of what you eat/follow a specific diet? 

I have always kept a relatively close eye on my diet ensuring I get the ideal level of protein and carbohydrates. However I competed in my first powerlifting competition whilst on a calorie deficit in order to get my weight down to ensure I am at my strongest and lightest possible condition to achieve the highest WILKS possible (a powerlifting calculation based upon weight and strength).

How will your diet change during training for the LM? 

In order to maintain strength, muscle mass and aid recovery I will have to increase my calorie intake, with significantly more carbohydrates whilst also keeping my protein intake high.

This is something that I know I am going to have to monitor and adapt over the training plan when my body starts to change and I burn more calories through longer distance runs.

What will you find most challenging? 

I would say the commitment and the mental strength side of things are going to be the hardest aspect for me, when things get difficult I have a habit of giving up. This is probably one of the main reasons I wanted to take part in the challenge to prove I can do this and really push myself both mentally and physically.

What do you hope to achieve from this challenge?

I think finishing the marathon is my main focus at the moment! I have a huge task in front of me to get to a level of cardiovascular fitness that I need, but I am fully committed to the challenge.

What kit will you be wearing on race day? 

My New Balance 1080v10’s have been brilliant so far with brilliant high cushioning, along with my New Balance shorts. I have decided to raise money for Mind so I will be proudly wearing my Mind vest during the marathon.




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