ASICS Target 26.2: The Selection Day

Find out more about our selection day and how to get involved with our spring marathon campaign



asics target 26.2

Last November we launched our annual search for five spring marathon hopefuls: ASICS Target 26.2 – the Runner’s World marathon challenge. After combing through an incredible 1,656 applications, we invited the cream of the crop to meet us for the next stage of the selection process – Boot Camp.

ASICS Target  26.2 Boot Camp

Friday December 2 saw 35 lucky members of runnersworld.co.uk taste the ASICS Target 26.2 experience, allowing the Runner’s World and ASICS team to assess the group and identify the strongest contenders. Only five would make it into the Target 26.2 team.

On hand to put the runners through their paces were ASICS Target 26.2 coaches Steve Smythe and Sam Murphy and ASICS PRO Team physiotherapist Sarah Connors. All 35 runners hit the track twice: in a 5K time trial led by Steve and a marathon pace session devised by Sam.

Inside, physio Sarah Connors led the runners through exercises to check for injury risks. Gait analysis appointments identified our contenders’ dream running shoes. Watch our video of the day, featuring tips and inspiration at runnersworld.co.uk/asicstarget262.

asics target 26.2

The Journey Begins

After Boot Camp, we whittled down the applicants to a shortlist of 19 hopefuls and held a public vote on runnersworld.co.uk. A week of furious campaigning later, our ASICS Target 26.2 team members were finally revealed. The winners were selected after we went to press, so go online now to meet the ASICS Target 26.2 team at runnersworld.co.uk/asicstarget262.

ASICS Target 26.2 is a 16-week masterclass in marathon running – whatever your personal target. We’ve got everything you need from the all-important schedule to expert advice and friendly training chat on the Runner’s World forums.

Even if you’re not planning a spring marathon you can be part of the Target 26.2 adventure over the next few months. The team will be training hard and racing all sorts of distances - meaning stacks of training, nutrition and injury prevention advice for you!

asics target 26.2

Our Day at Bootcamp

11am: A marathon pacing session on the track with coach Sam Murphy.

“Sam’s tips on the track session were great – you really notice how different track running is.” Gordon Passee

2pm: A physio assessment and injury prevention masterclass with ASICS PRO Team physio Sarah Connors.

“It was worth coming for the physio session alone.” Mark Street

3pm: A tough 5K time trial on the track, led by ASICS Target 26.2 coach Steve Smythe.

“I really enjoyed it – and even got a 5K PB which I wasn’t expecting at all! I haven’t done track running since school but it obviously paid off.” Rosie Allister

Meet the Experts

Be part of the ASICS Target 26.2 experience and you’ll have VIP support on tap. From day one of their ASICS Target 26.2 schedules, our final five (and their forum followers – that includes you!) will get training advice from top coaches Sam Murphy and Steve Smythe, the combined expertise of the ASICS PRO Team and the support of fellow runnersworld.co.uk forumites.

steve smythe

Steve Smythe

Long-time RW staffer Steve Smythe is the author of our runnersworld.co.uk marathon schedules – so he’s the perfect person to lead the team through the twists and turns of the 16-week plan.

Steve has run more than 60 marathons with a PB of 2:29, won a British age group marathon title and has run a sub-3 marathon in five different decades.

As a coach, Steve has helped marathon runners to British senior international level, British age group records and London Marathon age group wins.

sam murphy

Sam Murphy

Sam is one of the UK’s leading fitness experts, and a keen runner. She has completed 15 marathons (with a PB of 3:22) and the Himalayan 100 Mile Race among numerous others.

In addition to her first class degree in Sport and Exercise Science, Sam is a level 2 UKA running coach and a tutor for England Athletics.

Sam has written seven books which have been published internationally, including Run for Life: The Real Woman’s Guide to Running, and Running Well (with Sarah Connors).

asics pro team

The ASICS PRO Team

We’re proud to welcome back the ASICS PRO Team to this year’s challenge.

Providing our Asics Target 26.2 runners and the runnersworld.co.uk community with the kind of all-round support reserved for elite athletes, the ASICS PRO Team are a crack team of running experts.

Each PRO Team member has their own area of expertise, and between them the team has decades of experience at the highest level.

Whether you’re practicing stretches from a Sarah Connors video, planning your race nutrition with dietitian Ruth McKean’s podcast or developing mind-over-matter techniques with sports psychologist Dr Victor Thompson, the ASICS PRO Team will be online with expert advice throughout.

Fitness expert Nikki Waterman will examine runners’ cross-training, and distance running coach Bud Baldaro will be on hand with training tips.

Get Involved

And you can share the fun! For the next five months as they take on the challenge of marathon training, our ASICS Target 26.2 team will be recording all their training and highs and lows live in the forums – and their raw stats on My ASICS. And with a variety of time targets and challenges to their training, from busy jobs to trying new training techniques, there’s a Target 26.2 online community for you.

If you’re planning a spring marathon or half, look no further as we’ve got everything you need: schedules, expert advice and friendly Target 26.2 training threads on the forums.

You can also download the ASICS Target 26.2 schedules and join in. Getting on board is a surefire way to get race ready this spring.

Don’t forget to sign up to our free, weekly marathon newsletter, and have day-by-day training sessions, nutrition tips and motivational pep talks delivered straight to you every Friday.

For all of this and more, including coaching videos from Sam and Steve, go to runnersworld.co.uk/asicstarget262 now!

In next month’s magazine, it’s time meet the lucky five ASICS Target 26.2 contenders as their journey to the Paris Marathon begins.

asics kit

ASICS: Get Kitted Out

Marathon training in the cold, dark winter months is always hard. So, we’ve put together some of the best ASICS kit to keep you warm and visible as you pound the streets.

- GEL-Nimbus 13 £123 (SSP)
- PFM Headband £10 (SSP)
- Slim-fit Winter Top £40 (SSP)
- Leg Balance Tight £50 (SSP)
- Kinsei Sock £11 (SSP)

Buy ASICS now at sweatshop.co.uk/asics

My ASICS - Your Training Partner

Our ASICS Target 26.2 runners will be training with the unbeatable combination of Target 26.2 training schedules and online training centre My ASICS.

The Target 26.2 team will be loading the data from their training runs into the My ASICS website – and sharing stats on their runnersworld.co.uk thread.

Get My ASICS, your complete training partner tool and track your progression at my.asics.co.uk

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Discuss this article

I was disappointed not to be chosen but even more disappointed not to even get a reply to say I hadn't been chosen, especially after taking the time to write an application. Best of luck to those who did. 


Posted: 01/12/2014 at 23:53

Seriously...you expect a reply to every competition you enter
They have thousands of people applying... do you expect a little hand written card in the post....
Posted: 02/12/2014 at 03:50

Maybe all those people moaning about their latest failure in the London Marathon ballot would have been even more despondent if not suicidal if they didn't have their rejection magazine to keep them warm


Posted: 02/12/2014 at 08:25

hear hear, RW this just wasn't good enough, I spent a good 10 mins filling out your application, finding a photo that was just the right size... the least you could have done is sent someone around my house to apologise for my not getting through, maybe even some flowers or something... but no you just ignore me like I'm not good enough... 


Posted: 02/12/2014 at 08:44

Terrible news. If this is the most you've got to complain about then life can't be all that bad. A real first world problem.
Posted: 02/12/2014 at 08:47

I agree with Gretchen - it can't be that difficult to set up an automated 'sorry, you haven't got through' e-mail for all the rejected applicants.


Posted: 02/12/2014 at 09:08

why the need......it tells you the selection day was last Friday and you would hear if you were successful...

what more do you need,,,,,,,,

Even the national lottery doesn't email me each week to tell me I'm a loser.and I pay for that competition...


Posted: 02/12/2014 at 10:00

Excellent, Seren! 

I'd like to thank RW for sensibly grouping the applicants together on one thread so the competition doesn't take take over the entire forum. It also makes complete sense to compare the hopefuls side by side.

Big one of these


Posted: 03/12/2014 at 14:50

I was glad to hear that they adopted that suggestion...


Posted: 03/12/2014 at 16:36

I echo your sentiments Gretchen, particularly as its basically a marketing exercise anyway, you'd think they'd want to keep the unsuccessful applicants onside. If it was me running it I'd send an auto sorry email with a discount offer or something.


Posted: 05/12/2014 at 19:57

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