Nell McAndrew: People think I’m fast but I lost my confidence a bit

By Beverley Rouse, Press Association

Nell McAndrew may be one of the fastest female celebrities ever to run the Virgin Money London Marathon but this year she just wants to enjoy it.

The model and TV personality, who has not run a marathon since she set a personal best of two hours, 54 minutes and 39 seconds in 2012, told the Press Association: “I’m really excited.

“I have had a break from it. I lost my confidence a bit. I have still been running but only five or six miles.”

Nell McAndrew at the Virgin Money London Marathon launch in Westminster, central London (John Stillwell/PA)

McAndrew, who has a 12-year-old son, Devon, and a five-year-old daughter Anya, added: “People think I’m really fast. But I was fast. I have had another child. I thought, ‘If I can’t be that fast maybe I shouldn’t do it’.

“Then I thought, ‘Just go and enjoy it’.

“In the past I have been so worried about getting a time. I just want to be able to enjoy it.”

Nell McAndrew won the five-mile ladies National Lottery Olympic Park run in 2012 (John Stillwell/PA)

McAndrew is also feeling positive about turning 45 as it has boosted her age grading at Parkrun.

The grading gives runners a percentage score for their performance, where 100% is the approximate world record for someone of their age over the 5km distance.

“I’m 45 now. I have entered a new age bracket,” McAndrew said.

“For ages I have been trying to get 80% in my age group. Once I turned 45, it has gone over 80%.

“Just because you are older, it doesn’t mean you can’t be strong or fit or more successful, whatever you want to do.”

McAndrew will be raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK and Alzheimer’s Society’s Dementia Revolution campaign, Cancer Research UK and Caudwell Children, which supports children with disabilities, when she runs her seventh London Marathon on April 28.

“I feel really proud to be running for these three charities,” she said.

“Usually in the past I have been a bit shy about asking for sponsorship because I have done so many runs.

“I feel bad about asking people but I just have to do it.”

Nell McAndrew at the start line of the Great North Run in 2011 (Hugh Macknight/PA)

Training is going well for this year’s Virgin Money London Marathon, which she said is the best marathon in the world.

“I know what to expect. It’s hard and it doesn’t get any easier just because you have done it before.

“You don’t know how it’s going to go on the day. You are living on your nerves. You step outside your comfort zone.

“I feel really lucky to be able to experience it.

“It’s a life experience that I’m proud of.”

Nell McAndrew attends the Back on Track charity’s Dancing with Heroes fundraiser in November 2018 (Jonathan Brady/PA)

When training runs get tough, she said she thinks about “things I’d like to do when I get home, thinking about what I need to do that week, my kids, my cleaning.

“We are generally around people who want something from us. It’s the only time you can think about nothing or everything.”

Nell McAndrew completes the Leeds 10K Jane Tomlinson’s Run For All in 2008 (Anna Gowthorpe/PA)

Asked for her advice for first-time marathon runners, she said: “The last five miles are tough – it doesn’t matter how fit you are. That’s when your hard work and determination will get you through.

“Just go steady. Someone said to me when you set off, if you think you’re running a bit slow, run a bit slower.

“You need every ounce of energy for that last five miles.

“But you’ll just see walls of people, a sea of faces, cheering you. I cry at every marathon. It’s just so emotional.

“You are just completely shattered.”

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