Oliver Johnston & Jo Fry on running the 2017 London Marathon

The London Marathon is one the world’s biggest running events, with c.38,000 runners of all abilities navigating a 26.1-mile course through London’s streets and parks. This year, two of the runners are familiar faces to Askonas Holt: tenor Oliver Johnston and Senior Artist Manager Jo Fry. We spoke to Jo and Oliver a week before the race, to see how they were getting on.

Firstly, what made you sign up?

Oliver Johnston: Being a Londoner I’ve always been inspired by the London marathon. My dad’s run it 12 times and I remember going up to watch him when I was little and thinking I would love to do this one day. Finally I got in and can’t wait to take part!

Jo Fry: It could be seen as the start of my mid life crisis(!), in fact it was a combination of things. My sisters and wife have all run a marathon or two, so I felt it was high time I did one! It also seemed a perfect opportunity to give something back and in this case to run for charity and raise as much money as possible. Be warned: if you watch too much of the marathon on TV, you might be tempted to do it next year, it is very inspiring!

Do you have much running experience?

OJ: No way! I’m definitely a plodder – Mo Farah has nothing to worry about! However, I’ve always enjoyed exercising and finds it helps with the singing and staying healthy.

JF: I used to run quite a lot in my youth – cross country mainly and then for many years didn’t really run at all. It has really been only in the last year that I started running again, albeit tentatively!

You’ve both got busy schedules with quite a bit of travelling; how’s training been going?

OJ: Not too bad. I’ve had to fit it in when I can. It’s actually been a great way to explore all of the places I’ve been working. I’ve never been bored doing the same run and have been lucky to run in some beautiful cities and places since September. Salzburg and Lyon have some killer hills!

JF: Well the commitment to training has been quite tricky, not only to fit it in around my work travel but also around bringing up two small kids where spare time is a rare commodity! That said, I have managed to cram quite a lot of runs in, including some very long runs culminating in a 20 miler which was particularly brutal…

Are you raising money for a charity?

JF: Yes! I am running for a fantastic small charity based up north called The Calvert Trust – their mantra is: “challenge disability through outdoor adventure”, giving disabled people the chance to experience activities they wouldn’t normally have the chance to do. [you can donate to Jo’s campaign here]

OJ: I am running for charity (specifically Macmillan) and have raised some money from close friends and family but haven’t set up an online page.

And finally, what are you most looking forward to at the end?

JF: Seeing my little kids at the finish line will be a high point, but then I will look forward to a beer with the other runners from the charity, and to celebrating with family and friends. Longer term, not having to worry about getting a cold or an injury will be a relief!

OJ: I have been really good over the past few months and eaten very healthily and barely drunk any alcohol. However, I am looking forward to a cheeky burger and chips with a nice cold pint the day after. I can taste it now!

Best of luck to Oli and Jo as they take to the streets on Sunday!

Jo taking part in the Thames Meander Half Marathon (11 March 2017)
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