A blog by runners. For runners.

The road to my first marathon: Fergus Curtin’s story


WalkjogRun user, Fergus Curtin, 32, of Limerick City, Ireland, was always an athlete. But, like so many parents, he no longer had time for his team once his sons, aged 4 and 5, started playing their own sports.

Still, Curtin yearned to be active. The only time of day he could work out was 6 a.m. or 9 p.m. No teams practice at those hours, so he took up running on his own.

This wasn’t the only healthy habit Curtin adopted; in December of last year, he successfully quit smoking. Then he found the WalkJogRun app and decided to follow the WakJogRun beginner half marathon training plan to prep for his hometown’s marathon, the Limerick City half marathon, in May 2013. He loved the app and training plan.

“I found it really helpful and enjoyable,” Curtin said.

After the race, he was bit by the running bug, so he signed up for a marathon – the Dublin Marathon on October 28, 2013. Once again, he turned to WalkJogRun for his training needs. He chose the WalkJogRun beginner marathon training plan.

“By the end of the week, WalkJogRun knew exactly how I was feeling,” Curtin said. “For example, for the first three weeks of the program, I remember feeling so proud and strong and like I was turning into a marathon runner. On day 6 of that week, the training plan sent me a ‘congratulations you made it through a hard week! You’re running further and finding it easier!’ message.”

Training went really well for Curtin. He followed the plan to a T, only missed a handful of mid-week runs, and “never skipped a long run per the plan’s suggestion,” he says. Throughout training, Curtin felt like he was gradually improving which he found “so satisfying”.

So, how did the actual marathon go?

“The marathon was a great success for me,” Curtin said. “I loved every bit of it.”

Curtin never paid attention to his paces during training. His first marathon was about finishing, not hitting a certain time goal. But when he crossed the finish line, he was shocked by the time on the clock. He thought he’d finish in around 4:20, but came in at 4:04.

Curtin actually says he believes he ran too slowly from miles 13- 23. Since it was his first marathon, he was holding back to ensure he’d finish. He’ll know better for next time.

And, yes, there will be a next time. Curtin enjoyed training and loved the spectator support throughout the race so much that he’s decided to take the 26.2 mile journey again.

“The crowd in Dublin was amazing. They were really encouraging and drove me on to finish,” Curtin said.

Curtin plans to run the Great Limerick Run Marathon next May.

Great work, Fergus, and thank you for reaching out to us and sharing your story!

Do you have a successful training story using our app and programs (or any other programs out there)? Email us!