WHEN Kim Wall decided to retire from international sprinting this summer she had a void in her life that needed filling.
A few months later that space has been filled as she has laced up her running trainers once again and is in training for next year’s London Marathon.
Wall, a 400m specialist who has competed for Britain at World, European and Commonwealth championships, made the decision to retire from top-level competition after failing to make this year’s Olympics.
The 29-year-old said she was “exhausted” and her body aching so much because of her exertions to make the 2012 Games.
“After I failed to make the 2008 Games I decided to give it another go to get to London,” said Wall, a member of Basildon AC. “I gave it my best shot. I quit my job and got into a bit of financial difficulty to give myself the best chance.
“Maybe if I had run my personal best this season (52.20s) I would have got close to the relay squad, but I just didn’t run that well. I trained so hard and put so much expectation on myself but it didn’t work out.”
Wall, who lives in Maldon, took a break from running but watching the Olympics while on holiday in the USA made her realise she could not just stop doing the sport she loves.
“I was exhausted and my body needed a break,” she said.
“But watching the Olympics and then going to the Paralympics made me realise I love the sport and couldn’t just stop.
“And it’s very hard for anyone to just stop doing something you have been doing six times a week for 10 years.”
Fortunately for Wall, her next challenge soon presented itself: The London Marathon.
Wall has been chosen by the cancer charity Yes to Life to run the 26.2 miles around the capital and she hopes to raise £20,000 for the cause.
She was drawn to the charity, which provides alternative treatments to cancer sufferers, after the death of her schoolfriend Chris Talikowski’s girlfriend, Tami.
Tami was given six months to live when diagnosed with cancer in 2010 but lived for another 18 months, which she put down to alternative therapies.
“I have known Chris from school and he put me forward to run for the charity,” said Wall.
“Yes to Life is a small charity and they only get one place in the marathon and have been waiting for the right person to do it.”
The 400m runner is now having to tailor her training completely for the marathon and get used to putting in the miles.
“I’ve always wanted to do a mara-thon,” she said. “Every-one says I’m a bit mad, but I’m always up for a challenge. When I first started training I couldn’t run for more than 10 minutes. All my sessions as a 400m runner were short, lactic tolerant sessions and in the gym. This is completely different.”
Wall, who says she will be running Essex Cross-Country league meets for Basildon this winter to prepare for the marathon, has been fully training for two weeks now and is already clocking up runs of up to eight miles, although she says she feels “terrible the next morning”.
She wants to finish the marathon in sub-four hours and says she cannot wait to pound the streets of London, which she has worked out is 105.5 times longer than her usual distance.
“I’ve always wanted to do a marathon ever since I was little and can’t wait,” she said.
To sponsor Kim, visit www.justgiving.com/GB400KimMarathon2013