Marathon talk: Edinburgh AC duo tell their London stories

Thursday 23rd May 2024

By John Lenehan

Taking on a marathon is always about much more than running the classic 26.2 miles distance on the day itself.

Stories abound and we are keen when we can to share those experiences to the wider athletics community in Scotland.

Edinburgh AC had a large cohort competing at the Scottish Marathon Champs at the London Marathon in April – and here club member John Lenehan traces the story of two of their athletes; mum Jocelyn Forster and M60 runner Stephen Ingledew.

Jocelyn Forster

Jocelyn has been running for around 15 years. She has three marathons to her name: she clocked 3:28 on her debut in Manchester in 2021. This was followed by a fast 3:12 in Paris in 2022, which qualified her for a Championship place in London 2023.

Then daughter Isla came along in early 2023 – becoming a mum for the first time meant she didn’t run London in 2023. Fortunately, London introduced a new deferral policy for expecting/new mothers, and Jocelyn was able to defer her London entry from 2023 to 2024.

After much hard work following Isla’s arrival, Jocelyn was rewarded with a fantastic PB of 3:07 in London.

What’s your marathon history?

I’m relatively new to the Marathon distance, having only run Manchester and Paris before London . . . but I love it!

I love the focus the training gives you. Each marathon medal you earn has a story behind it. You train so hard in the months leading up to the race, and there is so much anticipation when you finally make it to the start line. I think that the start line is harder to reach than the finish line!

Did you keep running through pregnancy?

I did! My last run was three days before Isla was born! It was all about getting out and enjoying being active throughout my pregnancy.

It was nice to be able to hold on to something of the ‘old me’ whilst going through all the unknowns of a first pregnancy.

What made you want to get back into high-level racing so soon after giving birth?

I missed it! Running is a huge part of my life and I get so much enjoyment from training and competing. I was determined to get back to fitness and successfully combine my ‘running life’ and  ‘mum life’ together.

Did you have any issues getting back?

I took almost 12 weeks off running after having Isla. It’s so important to give your body time to recover and I believe you need to build back gradually after childbirth in the same way as you would coming back from injury.

I saw a women’s health physiotherapist around six weeks after giving birth who gave me some strengthening exercises to work on for a few weeks before returning to running. I combined this with lots of walking with a buggy! I was very lucky that I kept well and was able to run throughout my pregnancy and I think this really helped the process of coming back.

I have a very supportive husband who despite running a very busy farm, and he also does an amazing job of working things around me to enable me to get out training each day.

Grandparents have also been a huge support, particularly in the run-up to London (which coincided with the busy lambing season on the farm!)

What made you want to go straight back into the marathon?

I ran the qualifying time for a place in the London Marathon Championship at the Paris Marathon in 2022, just before my pregnancy with Isla.

I was lucky that the London Marathon deferral policy changed that very year which meant I could defer my place and run 2024, so it was in my plan to run London since then. It was really good for me to have that goal in sight throughout pregnancy and the early baby days.

Was it your first race back?

I ran a few shorter distance races before London. This was helpful for my training and they were good stepping stones. My first race back was the Manchester Half Marathon in October 2023 and it felt amazing crossing the line in a new PB of 87:59 after having Isla. I took that PB down to 86:06 in York in January 2024 and then broke 40 minutes for the 10k in Carlisle in February.

How did London marathon go for you?

The race went well, and it has definitely helped to build my confidence racing the marathon distance. I

had hoped to squeeze a little more from my time on the day, but it was great to be fulfilling the goal I had set out before having Isla. I achieved a time five minutes faster than pre-pregnancy so I walked away satisfied with that.

My brother travelled to London with me; he was a fabulous support over the weekend and had to endure a mile-by-mile analysis after the race! He was very patient and tells me he really enjoyed the experience . . .

What next?

A bit of a break from the long weekend marathon training runs!. I will do a few shorter races over summer, but I would like to build on this block of training and have another crack over the marathon distance later in the year to try to get closer to the three hour mark.


Stephen Ingledew

Stephen competes in the M60 category. He has been running for nearly 20 years and to date has completed 27 marathons, most recently London 2024. Stephen broke three hours for the first time, taking over six minutes off his PB.

How did you get into running?

I started running after my wife entered me for a half marathon to raise money for a local charity.

What is your marathon history?

I’ve now done 27 marathons. I did my first marathon in London when I turned 50 years old in 2012, so it has been a 12-year marathon career so far!

How did your training go for London this year?

The 15-week training programme went very well. I really got my long run training right this time and also learned how to taper more effectively.

I had some confidence-boosting races in the build-up too: I ran 86:06 in a half marathon in Preston in January. Then, two weeks later, I did an 87:28 in Farnborough. I broke 40 minutes for a 10k in London. I also picked up an M60 silver medal at the Scottish 10 mile championships in March.

I’ve had great ongoing valuable advice from fellow Edinburgh Athletic Club members as well as support from my physio Kenny Watt (Project Physio), and some terrific tips from my daughter who has just recently done her first marathon.

How did your race go in London?

Everything went to plan! I kept to an even 6:50/mile pace and the splits I was running built my confidence that I could finish strongly and do a negative split. In the end I ran 2:58:36, and this was a PB by over six minutes.

I was hoping to be in the top three of the Scottish marathon championships for V60, so I was over the moon to come in first!

I’m absolutely delighted and very proud; it’s still sinking in.

What’s next?

My next marathon will be in Abingdon in October, but before then I will be running in various shorter races for Edinburgh Athletic Club including the national 5k and 10k.




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