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Could you run a marathon in under 2 hours 30 minutes?

Read Colin Rigby's Marathon Journey

15 September 2021

I started running in 1988 after gaining weight following a motorbike accident.

I used to run about 25 miles per week (mpw), mostly on my own until I joined Swinton running club. I in creased my weekly mileage to around 45 mpw and introduced some speed work (running short bursts within my run that were faster than my normal running pace). This improved my 10K PB to 39 mins from 44 mins.

I then left Swinton and joined Horwich RMI running club, whilst there I met a coach called Norman Matthews (sadly passed now), he changed everything about my running, mostly my style, weight and structure. I was 5’5” and weighed 9st 2lb, my stride length was under a meter, my cadence was around 160spm and I trained whenever I could be bothered (still around 45mpw).

I started doing running drills (high knee, leg kicks, hamstring ficks, etc) then Norman would ride along side me when I was running and I had to do a stride every time he rang the bell on his bike, this exercise quickened my cadence to around 185spm.

Norman then wrote me a training schedule to run 6 times a week, introduced weekly track sessions, tempo sessions (running at pace but not flat out) and taught me the importance of easy recovery runs.
I was massaged every 2 weeks, which allowed me to carry on training and be consistent, I was running about 65mpw at this time.

We set a goal to break 2.30 for the marathon.
I finished my first marathon in Manchester in 2001 in 2.43 which gave me an automatic entry into the London marathon in 2002 where I finished in 2.40. I believed that the marathon was too far to race as I had to run/walk from 24 miles in both.

We increased the mileage on my midweek run and I did a 5 mile run after my track sessions and went back to London in 2003 where I finished in 2.36. The difference was that I managed to run to the line.
I didn’t do London in 2004 as Norman believed that I needed to increase my 10K PB in order to break 2.30. We introduced another track session on a Saturday morning (unless racing that week), this brought my 10K PB down to 32.10.

I returned to London in 2005 and ran 2.30.09, I was extremely happy until I phoned Norman with the news and he informed me that we need to BREAK 2.30 in order to achieve the goal.

We increased my mileage to around 90mpw in 2006, set a 15-week programme, I lost weight to 8st 4lb, set a new 10K PB 31.44, went to London and finished in 2.29.14.


There are many parts to achieving your goal, on top of running I had to do my stretching on a daily basis, have regular massages, see the Physio when things started to niggle, eat and drink well, get good quality sleep, listen to advice given and act on it, be consistent.

Colin works at our Bury Clinic and is a soft tissue specialist. If you would like some help for your running, including maintenance massage or strengthening exercises just call 0161 401 1000 to book in with him.

Contact us now for a consultation