Our incredible Richard Gilbert is challenging himself to run a marathon, but before I tell you more. What does it mean to challenge yourself, and why should you do it?

In the most basic form, a challenge is… challenging yourself to do something outside of your comfort zone. Trying or learning something new. And this builds resilience and determination while opening up opportunities.

The good news is that challenging yourself doesn’t have to be something like running a marathon. It could be learning a language, eating more vegetables, attending a yoga class, or joining a choir.

It could be getting out of bed a little earlier to meditate or to give yourself time before your kids get up. Drinking more water, eating healthier, and I could go and on. The thing to remember or keep in mind is that it probably won’t be easy to start with – but it is supposed to be a challenge after all.

But back to Richard and his challenge.

Rich is a rugby lover and is running the London Marathon for the RFU Injured Players Foundation. And apart from rugby, he also plays squash and tennis and is a regular gym visitor. So, yes physically fit and healthy. But running will be challenging, especially since he hates running. ????

On his fundraising page, he mentions that he has been extremely fortunate to have not suffered any life-changing injuries. And as I’ve said, he is fit, healthy and a sportsman, so you would think his marathon training is going without a hitch.

Well, I checked in with him, and not so, unfortunately.

At the start of week four of sixteen, he strained his calf and developed bilateral tibialis tendinopathies!! Not easy to spell or say and can occur from over or repetitive use or high-impact sports, particularly those heavy on knees and ankles. And for Richard resulting in him being unable even to jog ten metres. ????

Meaning Richard had to take his own physio advice. Something he told me was hard to do. So, what did he do?

KT TapeInitially, he employed relative rest for two weeks, meaning he rested the affected part of the body, the calf. He then had to modify his running technique and introduce a graded strengthening loading programme. Plus, he started using KT-tape to offload his tibialis posteriors and medial gastrocnemius; and invest in calf compression socks.

Now if you think this sounds like a foreign language, don’t worry. Its physio speak for supporting the affected area and surrounding areas while building back up the strength and load-bearing ability of the affected area and, in this case, Richard’s calf.


Thankfully the challenge is still on.

Richard is now in the last quarter of his training. He has completed his first 12-mile jog and now moving on to the long training runs. And if you’d like to show your support for Richard and can spare a few pennies, you can do that here.

So, you see. Even the fittest, healthiest and most aware can be injured.

Thankfully with the right advice, you don’t need to give up on your dream of running a marathon. Or whatever your sporting, fitness, or health challenge is, and while we can’t help you get up earlier or take up knitting. At Sarum, we can help you with sports injuries, and you don’t need to be a professional sportsman or woman to visit us.