Former England Rugby greats Charlie Hodgson and Chris Robshaw get ready for the 2023 TCS London Marathon
With this year’s Six Nations well underway, you’d think rugby players past and present would be fully focused on the tournament at hand. But for retired English rugby union players Charlie Hodgson and Chris Robshaw, another epic sporting endeavour is front of mind and on the horizon – the 2023 TCS London Marathon.
We caught up with both Charlie and Chris to find out how they’re preparing for the 26.2-mile challenge on Sunday 23 April.
How are you feeling about taking part in the 2023 TCS London Marathon?
Charlie: I am nervous but excited. It’s going to take a lot of work to get to the Start Line, given my history of rugby injuries, but I’m doing everything I can so I can enjoy the day.
Chris: I am pretty nervous about running the marathon, but I’ve always wanted to take part and hopefully complete one.
What made you decide to take on the challenge of a marathon?
Charlie: I have heard such amazing things from other people who have run the TCS London Marathon – and in the back of my mind, it’s always been something that I’d like complete.
Chris: I’ve always wanted to do one from a young age, so I think now would be my best chance while I’m still recently retired and a little fit.
Are you running for a charity?
Charlie: I am running for Muscular Dystrophy UK. I have been fortunate enough to have been invited to two of their Sports Quiz evenings at Lords Cricket Ground and each time I go, I am completely humbled by the personal stories that are shared by the families living with Muscular Dystrophy. So, when the opportunity came up to run the marathon for the charity, I jumped at the chance. I figured that any pain I’ll experience through the training and marathon itself will pale into insignificance!
Chris: Yes, I am running for my and my wife’s charity, the Kerslake Robshaw Foundation. Through the charity, we aim to empower young lives through music and sport – something very close to our hearts.
How have you found the training so far?
Charlie: I am enjoying it, but things are ramping up now – so I may change my mind! I like being able to tick off little milestones, and seeing my progress is great. The training also provides a little headspace away from the hustle and bustle of family and work life.
Chris: The training has been OK so far, although I feel that it’s going to suddenly jump up a lot as I hit the bigger mileage!
How different is it to the training you did as a rugby player?
Charlie: Very. Everything we did as rugby players was short and intense. Plus, we were in the gym doing strengthening work all the time. This is the first time I must learn to pace myself and not get carried away. I’ve been so used to getting my heart rate up to the max and being able to maintain that, but now I’m in a position where I’m learning something completely new. It’s a challenge but I like it.
Chris: It is completely different to rugby training. With rugby, we wanted a good cardiovascular base but it was still all about strength and anaerobic fitness – so short bursts of high intensity. I think I will need to lose a little more mass before I get to 23 April.
What are you most looking forward to on Marathon Day?
Charlie: Hearing the crowds and finishing!
Chris: I have been to the London Marathon once before and that was to give out Lucozade Sport – and the atmosphere was incredible. I look forward to being on the other side and witnessing that support and positive energy first-hand.
What will be the first thing you do post-marathon?
Charlie: Sit down and take a few minutes to reflect on my achievement. I’ll also enjoy watching the other runners cross the Finish Line.
Chris: Order a Chinese!