On Sunday we sat glued to TV in support of our OTE Fuelled Team New Balance Manchester athletes taking on the world's best at a very different edition of the London Marathon. We caught up with Jonny Mellor to find out how he fuelled himself to a British Title & (another) Olympic Qualification time.

Preparing Despite Uncertainty

I was proud to be able to take part in the 40th London Marathon on Sunday, a very special event given the year we’ve had to date with a lot of uncertainty and number of race cancelations.  
Runners from around the world got to tackle the distance virtually for the first time with the elite athletes lining up on the Mall for a unique 19-lap event around St James’s Park in front of Buckingham Palace in a special Covid secure bubble! 
Training had gone well in the build up, with a successful 4-week training camp in St Moritz with Team New Balance Manchester teammates Ross Millington and Andy Davies finishing with a half marathon at marathon effort at the Cheshire Half Marathon two weeks out. 
Preparing for this years event was slightly different given the lapped nature of the course so we did slightly more on the track than normal, alongside our normal running in the Peak District with plenty of running on different terrains. 

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Stick To What You Know

In the lead up to race day I always try to stick to foods that I know and have used in training many times before. It’s not the time to be experimenting with anything new or worrying about what anyone else is doing;  you have to do what works for you. In terms of carbo loading we don’t do anything specific as this can potentially cause stomach upset, but instead in the final few days before race day just eat a little more along with the combination of not training as much it ensures our glycogen stores are nicely full! I tend to have bigger lunches than normal on the final two days and snack between meals. My go to is an Anytime bar with my current favourite flavour the Coconut Choc Chip!


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Race Day

On race day I had porridge and half an OTE Duo Bar 3 hours before the start. It’s something I’ve practiced during the build up and find it works really well for me and doesn’t cause any stomach issues during the run. I also sipped on Hydro Tabs from when I woke up to optimise my hydration levels. 
Given the weather conditions we decided to be cautious through half way, running with the 2:11 pace group. I was keen to run in the faster group, but I trusted Steve’s judgement and as always he was 100% right. It was the smart decision to run conservatively, especially given the rain and wind. We passed half way in 65:18 and I felt good before hitting a rough patch around the 30km mark. I could see that we were on schedule to run 2:10 but I was just focusing on sticking with the group for as long as possible to give myself the best possible chance of winning the British race. 
With the lapped nature of the course it meant that we couldn’t take drinks on every 5km as we would do in a normal major city marathon. Instead we took fuel on every other lap, approx every 4.4km. This didn’t change our planning going into the event and we continued to take on board OTE Super Carbs throughout the race. The florescent yellow OTE bottles were perfect for race day as they stood out so much, with each athlete having their own table due to social distancing and making my bottles really easy to spot. 
With the wet conditions I missed one of my drink bottles when it slipped out of my hands, but I always carry a spare Energy Gel in my shorts for this very reason ensuring I didn’t miss any essential fuel and enabled me to finish strongly in the closing stages to cross the line in 2:10:36 and the first British athlete home. The time was my second inside the Olympic Qualifying time of 2:11:30 having ran 2:10:03 earlier in the year at Seville. 

POST RACE

Post race I had a cookies and cream protein bar. I never feel like eating after a marathon but it’s so important to help kick start the recovery process. The cookies and cream protein bars taste so good it’s like eating a chocolate bar so makes getting something in you as soon as you’ve finished so much easier.


BRITISH CHAMPION

I was delighted to win the British title and run another qualifying time but also felt thankful to be part of such a special and unique event in what has been a challenging year. As a coach as well as an athlete, it’s been tough to see so many cancelations this year and opportunities for runners to achieve their goals taken away from them.

As always I am forever grateful to the support of OTE helping me fuel and recover during my marathon build ups but also ensuring I can get the most out of myself on race day with the various drink and gel options.



Meet the Marathon Man Jonny Mellor
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Marathon Fuelling Guide
Read Article

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