Now’s plus size exercisephobe News Editor Jessica Boulton survives her first half marathon – just!

If anyone’s been following my blog, you’ll realise there’s been radio silence since the night before the dreaded Royal Parks Half Marathon last Sunday.

So what happened?

Did I do a moonlight flit to avoid the 13.1 miles? Did I give myself food poisoning to get out of it at the 11th hour? Or did I find a 16th Century apothecary to put me into a death-like coma, a la Romeo and Juliet?


I manned up, got myself to Hyde Park and – cue round of applause – actually did it.

So how best to describe the experience? Two words. NEVER AGAIN.

Things did not start well when I had to stop to tie a shoelace 10 metres past the start line.

They went further downhill when 500 metres in I told my running partner (and editor) that there was no way I could go any further.

But it was for a good cause, The National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, who have been a huge help to my mum Sue. And as she’d made her way there to wave at me (with her blue pom poms) I knew I had to put in a good effort and had a little word with myself.

I won’t lie – there was no way I would have done it without the encouragement of my editor Sally Eyden, who had forsaken her own race to run beside me and make sure I got round.

There were highs – getting past the first mile, and well, getting to the finish.

And there were lows – having a random man coming up to my face and shouting ‘run, damn it, run’ being the worst, being overtaken by two dragons, Mr Happy and a man with a limp definitely another.

I did a fair bit of power walking and had a real sprint thanks to an old favourite track [Eiffel 65’s Blue Da Ba Dee, which always reminds me of a good friend]. And not once did I stop so, for that, I’m proud.

The best thing of all was the feeling when I came round the corner to the final 800 metres.

The nightmare was nearly over.

We passed 400, 200, 100, and then – energy gelled up and Supernatural tune Carry on My Wayward Son on the iPod – I finally managed to sprint for that final 50 metres. My first words over the line? ‘Where’s my medal?’

Seeing as I weighed the equivalent of a normal person carrying a Nikki Grahame-sized person, I thought I’d done pretty damn well.

Then came the next morning where I felt I’d been run over by a bus, battered with baseball clubs, dragged by wild horses, hit round the head with an iron and emotionally drained until I was like a one of the not-so-walking dead …

Jessica and the Now team ran the Royal Parks Half Marathon in aid of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society. To support their cause visit

With thanks to