Drew Holloway - achieving her marathon goals with the help of Avon Valley Runners!

It is no secret that completing a marathon is a huge achievement. With the months of training and dedication all rewarded on race day and the elation you feel when crossing that finish line after 26.2 miles!

It may seem daunting even to seasoned runners who think about taking on the mysterious marathon for the first time but luckily, the amazing network of affiliated clubs throughout England are there to help every step of the way.

We caught up with Avon Valley Runner, Drew Holloway, who recently completed the 2023 TCS London Marathon for the first time.

How have Avon Valley Runners supported your running journey?

Drew Holloway before London Marathon“Avon Valley Runners have been there every step of the way. I joined their Couch to 5k programme in 2021 and felt immediately welcomed into the community they have built.

“From finishing the 5k course, I stayed with the club and completed their own goal-based programme which helped me to achieve my personal bests. I was nominated for most-improved runner in the club and have since completed the Bath Half Marathon - something I had never dreamed of achieving.

“In 2022, I registered as an England Athletics member and was particularly interested in the London Marathon ballot places offered to clubs through affiliation.

“After entering the first London Marathon ballot and missing out, I put my name into the hat for an Avon Valley Runners place and found out I had secured this in December 2022 – I had so much support from the club and people wishing me well.”

How did the club help you to train for the marathon?

“I started my marathon journey with the primary goal to complete the training, be consistent with my pacing and stay injury free. I followed the official beginners London Marathon training plan and incorporated the Avon Valley Runners club sessions into this. The sessions had great variety including regular club runs, local races and interval sessions.

“The support from Avon Valley Runners has been phenomenal from help with form and cadence to social runs adapted to support me and enable me to run alongside other members. It not only helped me to get distance in my legs, but it helped me to grow my confidence.

“I loved marathon training. It felt intense at times, but I had so much support and people backing me.”

London Marathon race day!

Drew Holloway after London Marathon“I had such a wonderful experience on the day! It felt like a big community, and you start to notice other club runners - especially those with their names printed on their t-shirts.

“The atmosphere was amazing and running over Tower Bridge was a moment I will never forget. I made friends during the marathon and the bond you share is unique. You start off as strangers hesitant on the start line but end up counting on their support throughout.

“I followed official pacers and their support, words of encouragement, and pacing was incredible. I clearly thoroughly enjoyed the process and experience - as I've entered the general ballot for next year and am already keeping my eyes peeled for my next marathon!

Drew Holloway after London Marathon“The day holds a special place for me, as shortly after my partner proposed to me and I am now engaged - never going to forget that date!”

Got a special story you would like to share?

We love to share the stories and journeys of those within the England Athletics community. Whether you are a runner, athlete, coach or official – we want to hear from you! You can send us an email on