Hatch Warren Runners – a tale of two Marathons, never give up…
Highdowns residents Mark and Danielle Butler are the co-founders of Hatch Warren Runners (HWR’s). HWR’s has now been going for over 18 months and due to the culture and spirit at the club has over 250 members. In 2014 alone, the club has put 100 people through the NHS Couch to 5k course.
In 2014 the Butlers decided to run their first ever Marathon, Manchester, with other members from the club. They built a 16 week training plan to include local races. After 9 weeks and 250 miles of training they completed the Bramley 20 mile race in February. Unfortunately Danielle was struck with a nasty case of Plantar Fasciitis following the event and had to make the tough decision to pull out of the Marathon. Plantar Fasciitis is damage to the connecting tissue running under the sole of your foot.
Mark continued the Marathon training plan with the other members of HWR’s and completed the Manchester Marathon in the month of his 40th birthday in 3:26.
After sustaining her injury, Danielle completed three months of physio, cross training and core strengthening exercises. She then entered Mark and herself into the October Amsterdam Marathon to help focus her post injury recovery. Having achieved his sub 3:30 goal in Manchester, Mark agreed to train, run and pace make for Danielle to help her towards a goal of a sub 4 hour Marathon.
Danielle returned to running in May and soon realised that she had come back fitter and stronger than ever. Her first big test came at the Endure 24 hour relay event in June. Danielle completed her 5 legs of a tough muddy course with absolutely no pain in her foot.
Amsterdam training plan started in July and Mark, Danielle and two others from HWR’s started their journey to the 1928 Olympic stadium. Training started well and the team were soon comfortably up to 15 miles. Then disaster struck after the first 20 mile training run; agony in Danielle’s left ankle. Danielle had to rest for 2 weeks and whatever the reason for the pain she maintained her stamina and ran her next 20 mile training run with no problems.
HWR’s final run before the Marathon was their home event of the year, the Basingstoke Half Marathon. HWR’s had 81 finishers that day and Danielle put her injury worries behind her banking a half Marathon PB of 1:50:54 on a beautiful but very tough course.
With flights and a hotel booked the Butlers flew to Amsterdam the day before the big race. After checking into their hotel they walked round to the Olympic Stadium to collect their race numbers, chips and T-shirts. Then it was time for lunch and the Marathon pasta special at a local restaurant. The rest of the HWR’s team arrived later in the afternoon and they and the HWR’s support team went out for the last supper, yes, Marathon pasta special and a glass or two of red wine to settle nerves.
Race day had arrived; time to put the disappointment of Manchester behind her Danielle headed off to the breakfast restaurant for her fill of pre-race porridge and a nice espresso.
Then it was down to the start and they were off. The two other HWR’s went about their own race plans and the Butlers settled nicely into theirs. Thankfully a warm day clouded over and a nice cool breeze helped calm things running along the Amstel River. Half way was reached in 1:58 bang on the pace plan having a 2 minute cushion at the half Marathon.
The Butlers dug in and 13 miles became 15, then became 16.2 “come on love only 10 miles to go” Mark taunted. 20 miles was finally reached and Danielle ventured into new territory, head down for a tough 5k and they were now into park run distance territory. Mark sticking to his pacing plan checked his watch and then a finish line magnet seemed to pull them home. The couple approached the Olympic Stadium with the realisation that they were going to do this, and then on to the Olympic track they went for the final 200m.
Mark held Danielle’s hand for the last few strides and then Manchester misery turned into Amsterdam ecstasy. The couple finished with a chipped time of 3:58:30.
The four HWR’s left Amsterdam with four shiny medals and memories that can’t be taken away. Danielle has always led from the front at the club and has been a great example to others on how to turn the bad days into fuel for the good ones.