I’m a runner: Chris Powell

As a kid I loved running. I used to run middle distance and competed for my school, county and running club. There were a few faster lads than me at sprinting, but I enjoyed the longer stuff and cross-country.

Since I stopped playing, I’ve just let my fitness tick over. I go to the gym and feel I haven’t really worked my body hard for a few years. But everyone thinks I’m still as fit as I used to be.

I always regarded the London Marathon as something to admire rather than do. But when my family were watching it on TV last year, I said I’d have liked to have done it. My daughter said I should and when I said I wasn’t fit enough, she said that was no excuse, as I had a year to train for it.

I’m a prostate cancer UK ambassador and I’m running the marathon for them. I’ve been keen to raise awareness about this disease for several years, especially as one in four black men will get prostate cancer at one point.

Because I’m a very methodical person, I’m determined to do the marathon properly. I take advice from others who run and I’m following a Runner’s World plan. A few years back, I might have aimed for under four hours, but now it’s to get round without stopping.

I live near Epsom racecourse, where it’s very hilly. It means wherever I run, I end up doing a hill session, as there’s no way of avoiding them. I also do a track speed session, which is hard but in a different way to clocking up the miles.

When I run, I listen to anything from The Specials to Prince. But I’ve tried not having any music and running without a watch so I’m more in touch with my body.

Playing for England and being in The Premier League, I’m used to being in front of big crowds. I’ve been told the crowds at the marathon are something special, so I’m really looking forward to that.

Training for a marathon fills up my thoughts as soon as I wake up. I ask myself first whether I’m running and how far, or if it’s a rest day. It’s a journey for my family to come on, too. But saying that, none of them ever want to go for a run with me.

When I was growing up, it was the era of Coe, Cram and Ovett. I loved it and as someone who did middle distance running, they were my heroes back then. But I’ve now got so much respect for anyone who does a marathon, however fast or slow, because the training is relentless.

I think I will always run to stay fit. There are loads of other races of difference distance that look great. I might run Berlin, or London again, but I need to get this one done first!

You can still sponsor Chris on his Just Giving page.